LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The luxury division of the world's biggest alcoholic drinks group Diageo Plc has launched a competition to find the best bartender in the world.
Contestants will be judged according to a strict set of criteria, with the winner chosen by a panel that includes British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White and well known cocktail expert Dale De Groff, Reserve Brands Group said in a statement on Friday.
"Today, worldwide, there is a rebirth of interest in cocktail culture and World Class through Reserve brands celebrates the art of the liquid chef," De Groff said.
Global heats will span 26 countries from Europe, Middle East, Africa, the United States, Latin America, Australia and the Pacific Rim.
Every entrant will receive extensive training in rum, vodka and gin, including a history and heritage overview. They will also undergo rounds of pouring accuracy, speed, originality, creativity, and taste tests - everything that goes into crafting the "perfect cocktail."
Winners from each country will compete in the grand final in London in July 2009, where all of the finalists will showcase their cocktail creations and skills under the close scrutiny of the judges.
The global winner of "Best Bartender in the World' will also have the chance to publish their own cocktail book in collaboration with Reserve.
A dedicated website, www.weareworldclass.com, will launch in late October for bartenders and bar managers wishing to participate.
"Bartenders are responsible for more than just pouring a drink, entertaining and understanding their clientele, White said in the statement. "They need to remember hundreds of recipes, be innovative and creative, know what flavors work together and keep one step ahead of consumers by anticipating their needs and recommending hot new trends."
Reporting by Paul Casciato; editing by Patricia Reaney