Jamie Jones of The Social Company has been named Diageo Reserve GB’s World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 following a two-day finale held at The Mondrian, London.
An expert panel of judges, including Sandrae Lawrence of The Cocktail Lovers, Dan Dove, Head of Diageo Reserve World Class, David Beatty, Ketel One Brand Ambassador, Aidan Bowie, Head Bartender of Dandelyan and the current champion, Dennis Zoppi, Italy’s 2012 winner, Pritesh Mody of World of Zing, Ago Perrone of The Connaught, and Barrie Wilson of Scotch + Limon put the 11 final competitors through their paces in three key challenges.
The first challenge, Made in Mexico, was hosted at Dandelyan and formed a technical assessment which analysed the competitors’ palettes, ability to balance and enhance flavour and agility. With just 45 minutes to complete the task and a list of unknown and unfamiliar ingredients, competitors were challenged to create a twist on the classic Sangrita or Verdita using Don Julio tequila.
A bespoke workshop with Diageo’s team of flavour chemists followed, whereby bartenders were tasked with creating their own essential oils to be used in a martini which would be served in the final challenge. A key future trend, the workshop was led by Penny Wilson, Principle Scientist at Diageo to explore the use of oils, solubility and their ability to carry flavour and create texture in cocktails.
On day two, finalists entered the second challenge, the Signature Serve round, when they were tasked with bridging two cultures: home with Mexico City, to create something completely unique to each competitor. Inspired by fusion cooking, the challenge invited the final 11 to create harmony, balance and something that perfectly reflects themselves using flavour and tastes typically separated by geography.
The final challenge, A Table of Eight was designed to highlight and celebrate some of the fundamental skills of a World Class bartender and create three drinks to be served alongside a three course dining experience for a table of eight guests. Tasked to call on their creativity, knowledge of flavour and technique, bartenders curated their own sensory experience, telling their stories and creating a narrative throughout each course whilst invigorate their guest’s senses.
Jamie’s winning serves included a Tanqueray No. TEN martini made with hemp, lemon and lime oil-washed Ketel One Vodka. His Table of Eight guests were welcomed to a sensory experience designed to reflect immersive, personal hosting occasions with a Mexican twist. Jamie’s signature serve, The Rumours Brew won judges over, comprising Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Ancho Reyes Verde, Banane du Bresil, fresh lime juice, fresh pineapple juice and Hitachino Japanese rice beer.
Dan Dove, Head of Diageo Reserve World Class GB commented: “World Class is a competition designed to celebrate the very best in bartending, inspire excellence and innovation and lead modern cocktail culture. Jamie truly reflects what it means to be a World Class bartender; he blew the judges away with his exceptional appreciation of flavour, sensory harmony, technique and of course ability to create and host quality and memorable experiences. We’re very proud to call Jamie the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 – and can’t wait to support him in preparation for the global final in August in Mexico City.”
Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2017, Jamie Jones, added: “The last two days have been so intense but incredibly rewarding. I’ve had the chance to work with an unbelievable bunch of bartenders, ambassadors and even flavour chemists, which has been a huge privilege alone. I can’t wait to head to Mexico City for the next stage of the competition and the chance to represent Great Britain.”
Alongside the trip to Mexico City to represent Great Britain in the global final, Jamie has won:
The coveted title of Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2017
Access to the European World Class boot camp following the GB final
Trip to Don Julio in in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico
Trip to Schiedam to the Ketel One Vodka distillery
Bespoke whisky trip to Scotland
£500 voucher for a personalised Cocktail Kingdom kit
Caracalla World Class bespoke bartender hand luggage – worth over £1,000
Professional signature serve and profile photoshoot with a top industry photographer
The final 11 World Class GB bartenders included:
Liam Broom of Callooh Callay
Constanca Cordeiro of Peg and Patriot
Alf Del Portillo of The Natural Philosopher
Aiden Page of The Bar with No Name
Martin Hudak, The American Bar at The Savoy
Jerome Allaguillemette, Sexy Fish
Sean Fennelly, The Principal Hotel Company
Jamie Jones, The Social Company
James Bowker, The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel
Thomas Matthews, The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel
Jon Hughes, Bramble