Nothing but the Best Bartender in Town

The whole country might be so down yesterday due to unprecedented event at the recently concluded Miss Universe 2014, but hey, let's not lose hope, for 2015 might be the year from us again! And while we are waiting for the next candidate to represent the country, last night at Blackbird at the Nielson Tower, as Diageo Reserve launches World Class Bartender of the Year 2015, 20 new country's pride were named - 20 world-class bartenders!

Twenty of the country’s most talented bartenders from sixteen of Manila’s finest establishments took part in the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2015 competition. In pursuit of finding the best of the best in mixology and bartending, Diageo Reserve World Class, the cocktail industry’s most prestigious and respected mixology competition worldwide took off to higher heights this 2015.

Drawing inspiration from the aviation history of the Nielsen Tower and Blackbird’s modern reinvention, this year’s World Class launch paid homage to vintage jet-set chic, creating a unique journey that evoked the golden age of air travel.

Tanqueray Global Ambassador Barrie Wilson also graced the night as he shares the wonders of Tanqueray No. TEN's, which celebrates the famous golden era of cocktails when the Martini was the connoisseurs’ drink of choice.

Barrie Wilson

"Diageo reserve World Class will put everything in the realm of bartending to the test. The competition requires creativity and precision. On top of that, it puts weight on the performance that each bartender puts forth behind the bar for his or her customer. It's about that connection that they form with who they present their drink to," shares Barrie Wilson. "It is without a doubt that the upcoming competition will bring each representative to push their own boundaries and to test out unfamiliar flavors and techniques, which they will be getting their hands on in some of the best bars from all over the globe."

During the launch, the 20 bartenders prepared cocktails inspired by the world’s greatest destinations using some of the finest spirits from the Diageo Reserve portfolio, including brands such as Ketel One vodka, Cîroc vodka, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Don Julio Tequila, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Tanqueray No. TEN, and Bulleit Bourbon.

The 20 outstanding and truly world class behind the bar are:
1. GavinoLazarra of 71 Gramercy
2. Kenneth Bandivas of ABV
3. Sean Carlo de Vera of Black Sheep
4. Poch Ancheta of The Curator
5. James Ortiz of Fairmont Lounge Bar
6. DondzBolante of Finders Keepers
7. Anthony White of Hooch
8. Michael Anthony Laude of M Café
9. Vanessa Correa of Nest Modern Table & Bar
10. Mark Herrera of NinerIchi Nana
11. Orman Bag-ao of Raffles-Long Bar
12. Michael Tubiera of Rambla
13. Dianne See of Saboten
14. Sam Alcantara of Sage Bar, Makati Shangri-la
15. Reymond de Jesus of Sage Bar, Makati Shangri-la
16. Em-Em Bautista of Sofitel Philippine Plaza
17. Efren Madrigal of Sofitel Philippine Plaza
18. FlomelRapues of Solaire Resorts 
19. Jesus Emmanuel Saludo of Solaire Resorts
20. Alyona Jeffery of Speakeasy

"World Class is back and is bigger than ever for the Philippines this year, and we are proud to send out a representative from one of the best bars for the upcoming global competition," shares Jon Good, General Manager for Diageo Philippines. "This stellar 20-bartender lineup represents the thriving cocktail culture that we have in the Philippines—a culture that is continuously and steadily growing—and tonight, we’re happy and excited to shine the spotlight on these talented men and women to show everyone what our country has to offer."

Jon Good

The launch of Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2015  marked the start of a flavorful journey for all bartending hopefuls. From January to May of this year, each market will host a series of qualifying heats and finals to find the most talented and inspirational of bartenders. The winner will go on to compete in the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year Finals, where fifty of the world’s best bartenders will pit their skills, impeccable technique, and knowledge against each other in front of the cognoscenti of the bartending industry.

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