Mumbai’s Varun Sudhakar from AER Lounge was crowned India’s Best Bartender at Diageo Reserve’s World Class 2013 finale, on 31st May 2013. Over the past 5 months, contenders from the most established and prestigious bars in India have been competing in regional heats, each aiming at a place in the coveted Global Finals that will take them to some of the most glamorous locations in the world including Nice, Ibiza, St. Tropez and Barcelona, aboard a luxury cruise liner. Six talented and competent bartenders were selected as finalists to go head to head in front of an esteemed panel of judges –Shivam Misra, Commercial Director, Diageo India, Colin Chia, Regional Head- World Class, Asia Pacific, Lam ChinMun, Director –Diageo Bar Academy, Asia Pacific and Sandeep Arora, Director, Spiritual Luxury Living (P) ltd. (External Judge).
Incorporating a wide array of luxury spirits from the DIAGEO RESERVE portfolio, consists of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Blended Scotch Whisky, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18Y.O, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Cîroc vodka and Ketel One vodka, Ron Zacapa rum, Don Julio tequila, Grand Marnier and Tanqueray No.Ten gin, the participants competed in top class challenges to test their ingenuity, knowledge and talent in the subject of spirits. The strength of the Diageo Reserve Brands product portfolio undoubtedly inspired the creation of liquid perfection.
The bartenders were also introduced to the latest mixology trends seen emerging in bars all over the world like:
Bar Chef: Cocktails inspired by the influence of chefs and cookery on modern mixology. Unconventional ingredients, quality control, service practices and forward thinking techniques are some of the traits seen in this trend
Retro-Chic: Inspired by the world of old school glamour, classic movies, elegant style and cocktails consumed by stars and created for films.
Congratulating the winning bartender, Mr. Shivam Misra, Commercial Director, Diageo India said, “World Class is a celebration of bartending excellence, a trait that is exemplified in the India winner. Varun Sudhakar demonstrates creativity, flair and skill in his cocktail creations and I look forward to working closely with him to prepare for the global finals in some of most glamorous locations in the world.”
This year Diageo Reserve Brands are taking the World Class to International waters. The brand has chartered a 30,000 tonne luxury cruise liner for the duration of the global final.
Bhavesh Somaya, Marketing Director, Diageo India commented, “Our World Class competition tests every aspect of the bartending profession. To win, one requires precision, knowledge, creativity, passion and an inherent ability to connect with the customer.Varun Sudhakar does this seamlessly. Our initiative aims to nurture the exquisite talent of local bartenders and enable them to translate their skill into the creation of fine drinking experiences, the world over”.
The winner, Varun Sudhakar from AER Lounge, added, “I am honored and humbled to have won the most prestigious and vied-for accolade in the Indian bartending industry and thank Diageo for presenting this excellent platform that has allowed me to showcase my skill. I look forward to meeting some of the world’s finest bartenders at the global finals and get the trophy back to India. I also hope that my story will motivate other bartenders to participate in World Class next year”.