Posted on | June 5, 2013
Written by | BevNetwork
After bouts of regional competition, twenty finalists from around the country met in New York City for the finals of the USBG and Diageo World Class U.S. Bartender of the Year. The challengers demonstrated their expertise, knowledge and technique by creating cocktails featuring one of the Diageo Reserve brands including Bulleit® Bourbon, CIROC® Vodka, Johnnie Walker® Blended Scotch Whisky, Ketel One® Vodka, Tanqueray No. Ten®, Tequila Don Julio® and Zacapa® Rum. As a reprise to the United States’ inaugural competition, challengers once again competed in the program’s traditional “Retro Chic,” “Food Pairing” and “Ritual Theater” challenges. However, this year, competitors also showed their skills with two new tests including “Brand Mastery,” a written exam and blind taste test for competitors to prove their palates and spirits knowledge, and “Cocktails Against the Clock,” an intense timed challenge that tested the finalists’ poise, accuracy and craftsmanship under pressure. In an unprecedented turn of events,two finalists-Jeff Bell of New York, NY and Julio Cabrera of Miami, FL- tied for first place.
Since the U.S. can only send one mixologist to the global finale, Jeff and Julio competed in a live “Shake Off” at the winner’s ceremony on June 4th. The competitors had only seven minutes to prepare their “perfect serve” cocktail for the five esteemed judges. After intense deliberation, Jeff Bell was declared the winner.
Bell will represent the U.S. at the Diageo World Class Finals from July 4th – 9th aboard a boutique cruise ship in the Mediterranean.