Top Bartenders Set Sail to Battle It Out in the World's Largest Cocktail Competition

Jul 07, 2015, 09:04 ET from Diageo Global Travel Western

MIAMI, July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

World's best cruise line bartenders from Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises fight for a place in the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ Global Grand Final 

The battle to become the world's best bartender is on. This year, 5,500 cruise line bartenders from three of the world's leading cruise lines have been shaking it up in the Diageo Global Travel WORLD CLASS™ Programme in pursuit of their place in the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Final.

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Only one can go forward to represent Global Travel at the star-studded WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Grand Final in Cape Town later this year, competing against the best bartenders from around the globe. Last year's winner, Charles Joly, has experienced a life-changing journey filled with new and exciting opportunities such as mixing at Jenson Button's wedding and the Grammy Awards.  

All 5,500 bartenders who took part in the training were put through a series of competitive heats to find the top three. They will now face-off at the glitzy WORLD CLASS Global Travel Final in the deluxe Diageo 396 Bar in Miami, Florida on July 9th 2015. They are:

  • Wade Cleophas, 29, South Africa: Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Santos Mercedes Enriquez, 39, Peru: Celebrity Cruises
  • Shekhar Grover, 28, India: Royal Caribbean International

The expert judging panel who face the difficult task of selecting a Global Travel winner are; Enrique de Colsa, Master Distiller for Tequila Don Julio; Spike Marchant, World Class Global Brand Ambassador; Erik Lorincz, World Class Bartender of the Year 2010; and Julio Cabrera, Managing Partner of The Regent Cocktail Club in Miami.

WORLD CLASS trainer Sarah Lawrence said, "It was truly thrilling to see the trainees advance through the program and the heats. There was a real sense of excitement in the air as they rediscovered classic cocktails, finding interesting twists and interpretations of them, using the finest spirits from the Diageo Reserve luxury portfolio to create exciting drinks for cruise line guests. Now we have our final three! Each has proved themselves the best in the cruise line bartender business and I'm excited to see who will be crowned Diageo Global Travel champion."

Louise Higgins, Regional Marketing Director, Diageo Global Travel Western , said: "DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS is at the forefront of cutting-edge mixology, taking great strides in creating luxury drinking experiences. The global training initiative is widely recognized as a mark of distinction in international fine drinking culture. We are delighted to partner with three leading cruise lines in the Global Travel programme for 2015. Together we want to ensure that we are constantly challenging the boundaries of contemporary and experimental on board cocktail culture. The competition is fierce this year - I wish each of our finalists the best of luck!"

Renowned mixology expert Sarah Lawrence was one of the trainers who led an intensive WORLD CLASS bartending programme that our finalists took part in, which sought to inspire and educate cruise line bartenders in the mystic art of mixology. Trainees were coached in exceptional service, innovative ingredients, showmanship and the latest cocktail-making trends, whilst preparing them for the fierce competition ahead. This training ultimately enables them to provide guests with an exceptional in-bar experience on board their cruise ships.

Notes to editors 

Follow the competition on Facebook at the 'Global WORLD CLASS Finals' page:

The Diageo Bar Academy Trainers:

  • There were 5 trainers total; Sarah Lawrence, Julio Cabrera, Michael Parish, Carla Rivera and David Molina

The Cruise Line Finalists:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line Representative: Wade Cleophas, 29, from South Africa is head mixologist on the Norwegian Epic. Wade's dream is to become a worldwide mixology trainer, paying forward what he has learned from his peers in the industry. He will conjure up the 'Lifes Peachy,' featuring TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin, as his signature cocktail.
  • Royal Caribbean International Representative: Santos Mercedes Enriquez, 39, from Peru is senior bartender on the Royal Caribbean Equinox. His inspiration to become a mixologist stems from his mother who was a bartender, as well as celebrated master mixologist Gary Regan. His signature serve is the 'Violetta Falernum,' featuring TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin.
  • Celebrity Cruises Representative: Shekhar Grover, 28, from India is a mixologist on Anthem of the Seas. He is no stranger to the competition, having won the Global Travel WORLD CLASS Final last year and competed at the WORLD CLASS™ Grand Final in London. This year in the competition he aims to take all he has learned from the programme last year to create the most beautiful signature serve: 'Con Amor' also featuring TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin.

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SOURCE Diageo Global Travel Western