The Diageo World Class 2014 winner has been named as Charles Joly, of Aviary in Chicago, USA.
Joly, who has worked at The Aviary since 2012, a bar owned by the same group that operates World’s 50 Best Restaurant Alinea, beat 47 other competitors from around the world to become the sixth bartender to win the title.
All contestants descended on Scotland and London for the grand final over the last week, to compete in up to six challenges for the chance to be named World Class Champion 2014.
The final six bartenders also included: Grant Sceney, Canada; Charlie Ainsbury, Australia; Ahmed Yahi “Mido”, France; Claudio Perinelli, Italy; and Peter Chua, Singapore.
Joly was chosen as overall winner following a Signature Cocktail Challenge, and announced as the victor at the historic Old Billingsgate last night (1 August).
While judges were impressed wby Joly’s performance throughout the competition, his signature cocktail Above the Clouds stole the show.
Matteo Fantacchiotti, global vice president commercial, Diageo Reserve, said: “Right from the beginning Charles’ passion, creativity and unrivalled mixology skills blew the judges away. His desire to create unique serves that combined sophisticated tastes with innovative modern twists never faltered at any stage of the competition.”
Industry luminaries were in attendance to congratulate all the bartenders taking part, including judges Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Julie Reiner, Steve Olsen and Gaz Regan..
“Wow, I just feel totally overawed by this. I know it sounds like a cliché but to be announced as the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2014 is like a dream – I half expect to wake up at any moment,” Joly said. “The other finalists really are the best bartenders in the world today so for the judges to pick me as the winner is incredible.”
Joly follows in the footsteps of following in the footsteps of bartenders such as David Rios, Tim Philips, Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristotelis Papadopoulos.
“This journey didn’t start today at the ceremony, this week at the finals, or even last year when I entered the heats – it started many years ago when I first started working in a local bar,” Joly added.
“The flavours, the smells, the sounds, the techniques, the history, the theatre – I realised I did not want to create just another drink. I make drinks with my heart and it makes me happy to see customers happy. The possibilities open to a bartender are limitless, not just in terms of your career but your creations – the only limit is your imagination.”
The Diageo Reserve World Class 2015 competition will take place in Cape Town, South Africa and so will Rumfest!