In the humid summer of Mumbai who wouldn’t want to experience the one and only Diageo Reserve World Class bartending competition? So here, I am happy to announce that I was a part of India’s best bartending competition, Diageo Reserve World Class India Finals 2017. The event was held on 6th June at St. Regis Mumbai, and trust me the overall experience of watching these spirit mixing magicians was amazing. It was thrilling to see them juggling glasses while mixing spirits, interacting with their audience, explaining what they were making without losing the smile on their face. I always had an impression that cocktails were easy and fun however, my perception has changed after tasting some finely mixed drinks carefully curated by these 12 world class mixologists.
This was the 9th edition of Diageo Reserve World Class India Finals 2017, where 12 mixologists from India’s leading hotels and restaurants were competing to get to the Global Finals in Mexico. The idea behind this amazing competition is to cherish native bar tenders and bring out their real talent. Diageo Reserve World Class India believes in giving them the right guidance, training and platform. Over the last 6 months, contestants from the most prestigious bars in India competed in multiple regional levels and made it to the national finals in Mumbai. The top 12 bartenders were judged by an expert panel consisting of Donald Colville, Diageo Global Scotch Ambassador – Malts, Nicholas Ord, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador and Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier& CEO, All Things Nice.
The competition started in the morning where all mixologists did a blind tasting and later they prepared their best cocktail for the judges and crowd. My favourite was Devi Singh from Swing, Goa. His charming personality and excellent audience interaction made him my favourite and no doubt he was one of contestants who kept my eyes glued to the bar while he was mixing the drinks. His funny puns and an ethnic presentation of his state Rajasthan was unique and endearing. However, I saw that each bartender put in their best effort and made world class cocktails to make to global finals in Mexico. All of them looked dedicated, interactive and were quick in the competition.
The second round was the speed test where the top 6 contestants had to create 8 drinks in 6 minutes. Being a very tough challenge, only some of the competitors were able to complete this round, with the judges giving them a standing ovation for their determination and skill. The final round, the mystery box, tested the top 3 participant’s quick thinking. They were given 30 minutes to ideate cocktails once the mystery ingredients were revealed, and 12 minutes to execute their drinks.
The second and third runner ups were Jitender Singh Rana from Perch, Delhi and Kevin Dias from Hakkasan. These two guys displayed excellent craftsmanship, created tasty cocktails and beautifully presented their drinks. I was really excited to see the results of the last round which was The Mystery Box round. – Rohan Rege won the competition by showing excellent timing, quick execution and a great blend of cocktails
I am happy to announce that Rohan will now take on the world’s best bartenders at Diageo’s annual Global World Class Competition that will be held in Mexico in August, 2017.