The annual World Class Competition kicked off its first burst on March 30, 2016, with Lebanon’s leading mixologists creating aspiring and tasteful cocktails. Organized by Diageo, the World Class Competition brings together international and local mixology experts to support the industry’s most exciting event. This year’s edition took place at Amarilla Pub in Mar Mikhael, where bartenders and cocktail aficionados witnessed an exciting start to this year’s competition.
“This edition of World Class is particularly interesting because the contestants are asked to take into consideration Mindful Drinking,” said Tess, one of the judges. “They are being asked to think about drinks that are lighter in style and lighter in sugars, following a new trend in the cocktail world. This led to interesting experimentation.”
A selection of contestants from various bars around Lebanon were faced with the challenge of developing cocktails that accentuate the flavors of Diageo’s luxury portfolio of Reserve Brands. Judges included Tess, a hospitality professional, and Timo, owner of the ultra-cool Door 74 speakeasy in Amsterdam. The judges assessed the cocktails based on creativity, expression of World Class Spirit, taste and balance, presentation, technique, and name.
“I am very eager to see how these local talents will compete on the international level,” said Timo. “I was impressed by the creativity and the innovation that we saw here tonight, and I think Lebanon’s chances in Miami are quite good.”
By the end of the evening, Mike Kassabian from Sapa, Kevin Haddad from Central Management, and Fidaa Ayoub from Bistro Bar were qualified to move on to the next round, taking place later on this year, to determine who will be crowned Lebanon’s World Class Champion 2016. The winner of that title will then move on to represent Lebanon in Miami, Florida, competing against leading bartenders from around the globe in the 8th annual Diageo Reserve World Class Final 2016, the bartending industry’s most prestigious cocktail competition.