2013 South African World Class National Finals
On the 29th and 30th of May, Durban will host the South African World Class National finals. The competition is taking place in a 5 star boutique hotel on the sun swept shores of Umhlanga. The Competition will be split over two days putting each contestant through 6 different challenges, each of which will test their bartending skills, theatre, knowledge and creativity. Not only will they be pushed to the limit, but they will also be judged by some of South Africa’s most prestigious faces in the food and beverage industry.
The competition kick starts at 10am on Wednesday with the first challenge called “Cocktail Mastery”. In this challenge each contestant will have to write an 80 question exam paper, conduct a blind spirits tasting and overcome a botanicals identification quiz. The written exam will be multiple choice and will cover all the trainings that have been conducted by the regional ambassadors over the past 8 months. For the blind spirits tasting task, they will have to identify 3 spirits in each category. They will know what the possible brands are, but they will have to arrange them in the correct order. They will get maximum points for identifying the RESERVE brand (Portfolio above). Finally in the mastery challenge, they will have to identify and label all 20 botanicals which will be spread out on a large table. They will have a possible 40 answers which will be listed on a separate sheet.
The second challenge of day 1 will be “Tropical Journey” in which each contestant will need to create a “tiki” style cocktail making use of exotic flavours. In this challenge it is all about the tropics and island style execution. Bright colours and fruity liqueurs! They will also have to be very cautious in their delivery to ensure that the drink still comes through as unique and sophisticated. In this challenge they will have to use the amazing Don Julio Reposado Tequila.
The last challenge for day 1 is “Retro Chic” where the bartenders will have to choose a classic recipe from the past and then deliver a modern day twist on it. They have a list of 12 recipes to choose from, each of which have been the bases of classic style bartending. Like a chef should know how to make a loaf of bread or a crème brulee, these classic recipes are at the foundation of general mixology. After making the classic recipe with their personal touch they will then have to make the “Twisted Chic” which is their own creation but must follow the same style as the classic. In this challenge they will have to make use of the super-premium Tanqueray No.Ten gin.
The second day kicks off with the “Classic Gentlemen” challenge. This challenge is all about sophistication, class and style. As the recipe will be designed for a “Classic” man, who is usually very knowledgeable, we have decided that the bartenders must only use Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whisky. As this spirit on its own is already refined and complex, it will be a tough task to deliver a drink that It not really changing the flavours of the spirit, but rather just enhancing them! The bartenders will be judges on technique, brand knowledge, drink taste and overall presentation.
The next challenge of the day is called “Durban Market”. In this challenge the bartenders will all be taken to the local market with a shopping budget of R150. With this money they will have to buy ingredients to produce two identical drinks. They have freedom to use any of the RESERVE brands (As above) and there will be some basic local Liqueurs available too. They will have 20 minutes to shop, 30 minutes to create and finalize their recipes and then 10 minutes to deliver the 2 drinks. They will be rewarded for unique and risky recipes that really test their creativity.
The last challenge for the World Class South African National finals is called the “Celebrity Bottle Serve” and like the name suggests, it’s all about presenting either a bottle of CIROC Vodka or Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Scotch Whisky in the most theatrical and entertaining way possible. Usually with a bottle serve the drink should be simple and effective as to allow the consumer to be able to make the drink themselves thereafter. Bottle serves are also ALL about the “bottle” and the beauty of the brand. The bartenders will be judges heavily on how well they thought about the celebrity and why the brand/recipe would work as a personal favourite for him/her. They are also able to pull out all the bells and whistles for this challenge as theatre and presentation are what the judges are looking for!
The overall winner will represent South Africa at the Global Finals where they will go up against 50 other competing countries. The Global Final is taking place in the Mediterranean on board the Azamara Luxury Boutique Cruise liner from the 4 – 9th of July later this year. Not only will they get an all-expense paid ticket but they will also receive R8000 spending money and feature all future World Class material. In my opinion, there is no other mixology competition like this anywhere in the World, this is the pinnacle of Bartending…
Good Luck guys!
The Diageo Reserve World Class competition seems to be changing the world of bartending as we know it. For me, it has been truly inspiring to watch as global mixologists adapt to this new era of application and technique. Gone are the days of adding a couple ingredients to a shaker with ice and serve chilled in a glass. Now it’s all about theatre and presentation, and how well you adapt this to your knowledge of the base spirit. I am in a position where it is my responsibility to teach these modern day changes, but I find myself learning more and more every day.
The great thing about theatre with recipe creation is that it opens doors for fantastic themes during competitions and demonstrations. If we look at the competitions taking place around the world; Bacardi Legacy, Diageo Reserve World Class, G’Vine Gin Connoisseur, The Bombay Sapphire Comp, Angostura Bitters Comp, etc. they are all coming up with seriously challenging criteria which puts the bartender’s skills to the absolute max. I am managing the World Class program in KZN, South Africa and the challenges are immense. This month the contestants had to create a recipe that showed there culinary skills and techniques or how well they could pair a Johnnie Walker variant with a food dish. When one looks at all the techniques used in a molecular kitchen, your options become exciting and extremely entertaining to watch. Dry ice and liquid nitrogen are becoming as common in a bar as lemon juice used to be!
I personally think it is fantastic and very rewarding, especially because it is bringing back the passion to the industry. These individuals are no longer considering bartending as a part time filler to get them to the next level, but rather as a destination profession that they take very seriously.
The video attached is something I really enjoyed, and as you will see the bar has been raised!
Well today is the day that we announce the winner of the Don Julio leg of the WORLD CLASS competition. What an outstanding month of skill, enthusiasm, innovation and originality, a massive well done to our top 5 for putting up a very difficult judging session yesterday!
As you know all contestants had to participate in a Tequila category training in which they were introduced to the brand, DON JULIO REPOSADO TEQUILA. The training was finished off with an advanced mixology module in which the trainee’s were shown what was expected of them for the WORLD CLASS competition. Each contestant had to submit a “Signature Serve” recipe containing Don Julio Tequila. This challenge allowed our local mixologists to go completely out of the box. As you can see from the photos attached we had espresso, we had syringes, we had Himalayan Salt crusts, we had elderflower sorbets and we also had sangrita!
But as we all know, we can only have one winner. And as you can see from the points below, winning by 0.3% from the Oyster Box Hotel…
- In 1st place we have Kwanele Sydney Mkhize making a “Gonzalez Café” winning himself R1000 cash, a spot in the regional finals and an addition R10,000 event budget for his venue.
- In 2nd Place we have Mathew James Low from Harveys Restaurant making a “Mayahuels Jestor” winning himself R700.
- In 3rd Place we have Mo Therese from Unity bar making a “Classico” winning himself R300.
- In 4th Place we have Andy Ngbobo from 9th Avenue Bistro making a “DJ Mango Margarita”.
- In 5th place we have Warwick Flanagan from Harveys Restaurant making a “Don Julio Flower”.
Check out this awesome clip of the WORLD CLASS launch which took place in Cape Town earlier this month. The event took place at a venue called “The Reserve” which is located in the heart of Cape Town. Looks like the heat has been turned up, Durban VS Cape Town VS Johannesburg!
Watch this Space!
The first month’s challenge for WORLD CLASS was to create a CIROC® Vodka bottle serve for a celebrity of your choice. Each bartender had to supply reason, originality and class to be selected for the top 5. This was announced on Monday. We then went into the trade to have these bartenders make their recipes for a panel of Judges in their own bars. It was a really exciting exercise and the judges were blown away.
The top 5 contestants/outlets were;
- Bel Punto – Claudia Lovisa making the “Go Ghetta” for celebrity DJ David Ghetta
- Havana Grill – Stephen Ndlovu making the “CIROC Berry Bubbly” topless for the local celebrity Khanyi Mbawu!!
- Havana Grill – Nkayiso Masango making the “Green Summer” for the actor/singer/shareholder MR. Sean Combs
- Harveys Restaurant – Stephen Saunders making a deconstructed version of a bloody mary called “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” for celebrity chef Reuben Riffel
- Fairmont Zimbali Resort – Patrick Mavumbia making a “Nigiri CIROC” for actor/singer/shareholder MR. Sean Combs
The panel of judges consisted of;
- Ryan Duvenage – Barcode Mobile
- Joe De Wet – Livingstons Gastro Pub
- Severin Bang – Barcode Mobile
- Mark Beegt – Liquid Concepts
- Alex Farnell - Brandhouse
In total we received 23 bottle serve recipes from 7 of the 8 outlets. For the first month of the competition this was fantastic. But like in any competition there has to be one winner! None the less, second and third place will also walk away with monetary prizes. This is why we call it WORLD CLASS!
The Contestants were judged in the following areas;
- Expression of the spirit
- Theatrical Performance
- Brand Knowledge
- Interactivity with the consumer
- Overall etiquette and confidence
The winner of WORLD CLASS CIROC® Vodka Month is….
Making a celebrity bottle serve called, “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” for Rueben Riffel…winning himself R1000 cash and a R10,000 WORLD CLASS event budget for his outlet…
Well done to Stephen Saunders from Harvey’s Restaurant in Morningside. A truly amazing bottle serve that really showed you knew what the judges were looking for. The CIROC® vodka came through fantastically and all the elements that you provided were undoubtedly style and professional.
In second place and winning herself R700 cash, goes to Claudia Lovisa from Bel Punto. Her celebrity serve was aimed at international DJ David Ghetta where she really brought the music world to life. Well done.
And in third place, winning himself R300 cash, we have Patrick Mavumbi from the Fairmont Zimbali Resort, making a Celebrity bottle serve for P.Diddy (Sean Combs) whilst combining his theatre with a magic show and a food pairing of Sushi. Well done.
So now we go into month 2 of the competition which is focused all around the Gin category and more specifically the brand TANQUERAY® NO.TEN™. Everyone will go through a training session and learn some new ways to present recipes originating from the 50’s. This month’s theme is called “Retro Chic”. Please see in your trade presenters for more info.
May I also ask those who have not “Liked” the WORLD CLASS SOUTH AFRICA facebook page to please do so. This will keep you updated throughout the competition.
On Wednesday the 3rd of October was the 2nd year launch of WORLD CLASS in KZN, South Africa. Hosted at the venue called “The Upstairs” on Florida Road in Morningside, the event was nothing but WORLD CLASS!
Invited guests from 9 sophisticated outlets around KZN, gathered to take part in an evening filled with molecular drinks, quality food and great brands. The formalities started with a presentation around the program and how it is going to work this year. This was then followed by a very professional choreographed dance routine which lead to the unveiling of the new JOHNNIE WALKER PLATINUM LABEL. This was a very successful entrance for a very premium brand!
Shortly after most guests got to taste and experience the new scotch blend, the food was served. For the remainder of the evening the bar continued to serve retro recipes and delicious RESERVE liquids. A night to remember, and the bar has been raised!
Watch this space for program updates, outlet events and of course WORLD CLASS recipes!
Last night was the South African National final of the World Class Bartending competition which took place at 15 on Orange hotel in Cape Town. Congratulations to Brent Perremore from Asoka Bar in Cape Town for taking 1st Place and winning himself an all expenses paid trip to the International finals taking place in Rio in two weeks time.
World Class winner for May - Single Malts
Well, we have finally come to the end of May which means this is the last result for this year’s regional qualifiers. This month focused primarily on Single Malts which is definitely the hardest category of the program so far.
The contestants could choose between the following Scotch Single Malts:
- Lagavulin 16yr
- Talisker 10yr
- Singleton of Dufftown 12yr
- Glenkinchie 12yr
- Dalwhinnie 15yr
We received a total of 15 recipes this month with most of our entries coming in from the Oyster Box Hotel. This month we were also very lucky to have a well known mixologist in the judging panel, Michael Stephenson. Mike has many years of experience in the industry and his credibility is highly valued. Also in our judging panel was Severin Bang from Barcode, another extremely talented and well known mixologist. After much debate and loads of conversation, we finally have our last regional finalist!
I would just like to say thank you to all those that put in the effort, it was a very challenging judging session!!
From the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga, winning himself R2000 and a spot in next week’s regional final, I am very proud to announce the winner of World Class for the month of May…
Making a Lagavulin 16yr based recipe which he named, “Southern Rocky Shore”, the winner is…
1st place - SYDNEY MKHIZE (70%)
- Cocktail Name: Southern Rocky Shore
- Glass: Tumbler
- Method: Shake n Strain
- Garnish: Orange Peal
- 50ml Lagavulin 16yr
- 20ml Lemon Juice
- 20ml Honey
- 20ml Ginger Syrup
*This simple yet very well balanced recipe really worked well with the peaty and smoky characteristics of Lagavulin 16yr. Well done.
In 2nd place we have Gema Sosibo also from the Oyster Box hotel (69.5%)
- Cocktail Name: Dirty Dog
- Glass: Martini
- Method: Shake n Strain
- Garnish: Orange zest
- 40ml Talisker 10yr
- 12ml Cointreau
- 25ml Martini Rosso
- 3 Dash Bitters
And in 3rd Place, again from the Oyster Box Hotel, we have Douglas Shandu (63.5%)
- Cocktail Name: Glen Whisky Sour
- Glass: Tumbler
- Method: Shake n Strain over crushed ice
- Garnish: Raspberries
- 50ml Glenkinchie 12yr
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- 25ml Vanilla Syrup
- 12.5ml Black Raspberry Liqueur
- 2 Dash Bitters
The rest of the rankings were as follows:
- 4th place – Kelly John Bauwer (Oyster Box Hotel) making “Cold Toddy Martini”
- 5th Place – Siyanda Sokhela (Fairmont Hotel) making “Water of Life”
- 6th Place – Basil Nsinganu (Havana Grill) making “The Highlander”
- 7th Place – L Hactian (Oyster Box Hotel) making “LCH”
- 8th Place – Selvan Govender (Oyster Box Hotel) making “Whisky Tango Foxtrot”
Again, very well done to all of you during this program. You have all shown so much enthusiasm which has led to your progression. I have said this before but it is very inspiring to see how far you have all come since we started in January. I really look forward to next year’s World Class Program where we can raise the bar even higher.
Please support the regional finalists at the Fairmont Hotel in Zimbali resort next Wednesday the 6th of June. There is going to be some fantastic prizes to be won along with a great show.
The Regional final will consist of;
1. Calvin Folye – Fairmont Hotel
2. Selvan Govender – Oyster Box Hotel
3. Siyanda Sokhela – Fairmont Hotel
4. Christian Gaza – Luna Rossa
5. Sydney Mkhize – Oyster Box Hotel
Remember the winner and runner up is going to Cape Town (All expenses paid) to compete in the National Finals. Watch this Space!!
Good Luck and see you all there.
JOHN WALKER & SONS ODYSSEY commemorates the vision and enduring entrepreneurial spirit of Sir Alexander Walker through the ultra modern interpretation of his legendary 1932 “nautical” decanter bottle. Inspired by Sir Alexander Walker’s passion for epic journey’s; which saw his “SWING” whisky reach new heights of innovation in its blending and bottle design to become a firm favourite with the traveling elite.
JOHN WALKER & SONS ODYSSEY is crafted from three very rare, hand picked, single malts that are carefully blended and married in European Oak Casks. Also know as “The Rare Triple Malt” can be bought on OLX for the price of R38000 which includes the magnificent packaging.
John Walker & Sons celebrates 60th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne with the bottling of Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons, a blend of rare scotch whiskies distilled in 1952.
On Monday 6 February, sixty years to the day since The Queen’s accession, John Walker & Sons, Scotch Whisky Distillers By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, celebrated the occasion with the bottling of Diamond Jubilee By John Walker & Sons; a specially crafted blend of rare malt and grain Scotch Whiskies distilled in and maturing since 1952, the year she acceded to the throne.
At Royal Lochnagar Distillery, on the edge of Her Majesty The Queen’s Balmoral Estate, David Gates, Grantee of John Walker & Sons’ Royal Warrant, oversaw the filling of The Queen’s decanter, as well as 60 further editions for sale around the world. The profits from the sale of these editions are being donated to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) with a guaranteed amount of at least £1million and will support the excellence of craftsmanship as symbolized by the Royal Warrant of Appointment.
David Gates commented: “John Walker & Sons was first awarded a Royal Warrant in 1934 by King George V. We are extremely honored that the quality of our whiskies is recognised by this symbol and our commitment to this calibre of quality and service is unwavering. Today in 2012, we are privileged to be able to celebrate The Queen’s remarkable achievement with this fitting tribute, Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons, the sales of which will help to create an enduring legacy for the supreme craftsmanship that it represents.”
The creation of Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons has been a once-in-a-lifetime privilege for Master Blender Jim Beveridge and his apprentice Matthew Crow who have overseen the search, selection and expert blending of the whiskies from the beginning. The final, traditional step of marrying has been carried out in casks made by the John Walker & Sons coopers using oak provided by kind permission of The Queen from her private Sandringham Estate. John Walker & Sons has harnessed the skills of more than 60 fine artisans, including fellow Royal Warrant Holders and QEST Scholars who are creating bespoke pieces to present and accompany the whisky.
The diamond shaped Baccarat crystal decanters stand on a crystal base with six radial legs to reflect the decades of The Queen’s enduring reign, and are adorned with Britannia silver, selected for its purity. Leading Scottish silversmiths, Hamilton & Inches, has fashioned the collars set with a half-carat diamond, the Royal Arms, John Walker & Sons monogram and individually numbered seals.
Each edition also includes a pair of lead Cumbria Crystal glasses engraved by Philip Lawson Johnston and a commemorative artifact book, hand bound by Laura West at her Isle of Skye bindery and personalized for each owner by Sally Mangum, Calligrapher By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen. All the elements will be housed in a chest made by the cabinet makers at N.E.J. Stevenson, incorporating oak from Sandringham to echo the whisky marrying casks and Caledonian pine from The Queen’s Balmoral Estate.
Lagavulin™ is a slow-distilled sixteen-year-old single malt whisky. It is best known for its strong peaty aroma and taste, as it is from the Islay region in Scotland. Distilled in oak barrels, it’s an exceedingly rare single malt whisky that’s complex, full-bodied and in a class of its own. The barley used for Lagavulin™ is from nearby Port Ellen and has about twenty times as much exposure to peat smoke as a typical Speyside malt whisky. The lengthy distillation process of between 55 and 75 hours results in the full peat-rich flavour of the locally malted barley coming through, and contributes to the overall soft round finish.
The distillery was operating as early as 1742, and in 1816 a local farmer and distiller, John Johnston, founded the first legal distillery. It was later purchased by Alexander Graham for £1 103, nine shillings and eight pence. James Logan Mackie & Co. was Graham’s successors, and they successfully grew the business further. Lagavulin™ went from strength to strength, winning nine International Wine and Spirit Competitions to date including the 1993 Ian Mitchell Trophy as best “Special Edition’” Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
World Class winner for April - Blended Whisky
Yet another month has passed and it is that time again to announce who is the master mixologist for the blended whisky category in KZN. All the competitors were tasked to submit an original recipe containing at least 25ml of Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™ or Johnnie Walker® Blue Label™. This month a staggering 36 recipes were received all of which had some great potential. With the help of two very experienced mixologists, Ryan Duvenage and Joe De Wet, and after the tedious task of narrowing it down to the top 10, we now have an overall winner.
With an overall score of 77.5% representing Luna Rossa in the Gateway center of Umhlanga and winning himself R2000, the winner is……….
1st Place - CHRISTIAN GAZA
The cocktail he created was named, “The Walk of Life” and consisted of;
GARNISH: Lemon zest dipped in honey
METHOD: Shaken and strained over ice
- 50ml Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™
- 25ml Watermelon Syrup
- 3 dashes Angustura Bitters
- 12.5ml Apricot Brandy
- 12.5ml Singleton of Dufftown 12yr
- 12.5ml Frangelico
In 2nd place, with a score of 77% (00.5% difference from 1st place), we have a recipe submitted by Siyanda Sokhela of the Fairmont Hotel called, “Ice Golden Irish” which consists of;
GARNISH: Dark Chocolate Blocks served on a side plate
METHOD: Shake and Strain into glass with ice
- 50ml Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™
- 12.5ml Drambuie
- 12.5ml Tia Maria
- 12.5ml White Chocolate Syrup
- 25ml Espresso
In 3rd Place, will a result of 76%, we have a recipe created by Calvin Foyle of the Fairmont Hotel called, “Golden Ice Walker” and it consists of;
GARNISH: Vanilla Pod
METHOD: Shake and Strain
- 50ml Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™
- 12.5ml Drambuie
- 12.5ml Fresh Cream
- 25ml Cinnamon/Raisin and Vanilla infused sugar syrup (Unbelievable!)
The rest of the rankings were as follows;
- 4th Place – Kwanele Sydney Mkize (Oyster Box Hotel) “Golden Martini Citrus”
- 5th Place – Kelly John Bauwer (Oyster Box Hotel) “Its all peachy”
- 6th Place – Shane Moodley (Fairmont Hotel) “Golden Mile”
- 7th Place – Garth Fuller (Fairmont Hotel) “Distinguished Gentleman Mojito”
- 8th Place – Thobani Khoza (Oysterbox Hotel) “Johnnie’s Desire”
- 9th Place – Bheki Magwaza (Fairmont Hotel) “The White Walker”
- 10th Place – Douglas Shandu (Oyster Box Hotel) “Melon Whisky Sour”
- 11th Place – Basil Nsinganu (Havana Grill) “Millenium Gold”
Well done everyone, the bar is being raised in a big way!
Diageo World Class Recipes
Don Julio Tequila is the result of one man’s dream and passion, Don Julio González Estrada. Made from agave grown in the Los Altos region of Mexico, where particular climatic and soil conditions maximize sweetness and flavour. This has helped to define Don Julio’s distinctive soft and smooth ‘suave’ style and make it the best selling super-premium tequila in Mexico.
The month of March is dedicated to the Tequila Category, and this is my recipe using Don Julio Reposado;
Method: Shake and Fine Strain
Garnish: Salt/Sugar/grated Orange zest rim with a lime wheel
- 50ml Don Julio Reposado
- 25ml Mandarine Napoleon
- 25ml Lime Juice
- 12.5ml Habanera Lime Syrup
- 10ml Maraschino syrup
- 1 Dash Angustura Bitters