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!
On Thursday the 28th of March, Ciroc Vodka and Uber Zulu in Morningside joined forces to create a White Mansion Ciroc Experience. Uber Zulu have recently joined the RESERVE team as a preferred vendor of the brands.
The night started at 6pm with VIP invited guests only. These guests were treated to complementary Ciroc Serves, decadent zulu sushi and VIP treatment. We had beautiful Ciroc Hostesses which were there to communicate the brands story and to capture guest details onto a database for the Ciroc VIP experience giveaway. This was announced at 11pm and congratulations to Sean Bentley and his girlfriend for winning the prize!
At 8:30pm the doors opened to the public making way for regional DJ’s and head liner Coco Loco. The event had roughly 300 people and as you can see from the images, the décor and setup was luxurious and sexy. A great night all round!
New Bar Manager Wanted at the American Bar, Savoy Hotel
Well, this opportunity doesn’t come around very often, and I would imagine that the person who gets this exclusive role would be in for a number of industry changing decades. This position includes managing 22 staff, Erik Lorincz (Head bartender and winner of World Class 2010), and a world known bar that’s heritage alone is something to respect. I have never been to the hotel, or even seen the bar (accept in photos) but I do know that this land mark in London has led the cocktail industry for decades, and any mixologist on the planet would tell you this.
Recently I organized for some of my customers in Durban to visit the hotel bar with Tim Judge (Africa Reserve Brand Ambassador) and from what I hear it was an overwhelming experience. Just the impact and presence alone is enough to send you home with passion and inspiration to jet set you along your journey as a professional bartender. I am extremely jealous!
Good luck to whoever is successful in being awarded this title, I do hope that one day I can meet you!
In the month of November the challenge was to create a TANQUERAY NO.TEN® gin recipe inspired by a classic from the past. Known as RETRO CHIC this concept puts focus on the bartenders understanding trends and styles from the RETRO era, and thus enabling them to understand classic ingredients and vintage styles. In total we received 17 recipes from 7 outlets, all of which were fantastic.
The top 5 contestants/outlets were;
- Fairmont Hotel – Hauroon Raffajee making a twist on the classic martini called, “The Three course Martini”
- Oyster Box Hotel – Kelly-John Bauwer making a twist on the Negroni called, “The betrayal of the Negroni”
- Oyster Box Hotel – Selvan Govender making a twist on the Cosmopolitan called, “The Retropolitan”
- Harveys Restaurant – Stephen Saunders making a twist on the Negroni called, “Time Capsule Revolution”
- 9th Avenue Bistro – Andy Ngcobo making a twist on the classic Gin Fizz called, “Citrus Gin Fizz”
The panel of judges consisted of;
- Ryan Duvenage – Barcode Mobile
- Joe De Wet – Livingstons Gastro Pub
- Severin Bang – Barcode Mobile
- Alex Farnell - Brandhouse
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 Month 2 is….
Making a “Three Course Martini” …winning himself R1000 cash and a R10,000 WORLD CLASS event budget for his outlet…
Well done to Hauroon Raffajee from the Fairmont Hotel in the Zimbali Resort, A truly WORLD CLASS luxury serve that really showed that you knew what the judges were looking for. This drink was a twist on a classic Martini consisting of TANQUERAY NO.TEN GIN, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and fresh orange zest served with a side pairing of Grapefruit foam and Juniper & Coriander Infused mini bread loaf. Fantastic flavours and really brought a WORLD CLASS gin to life. WELL DONE.
In second place and winning himself R700 cash, goes to Steven Saunders from Harveys Restaurant in Morningside. His recipe was a twist on the classic Negroni in which he served a homemade sorbet with Campari infused wooden spoons. Amazing!
And in third place, winning himself R300 cash, we have Andy Ngbobo, making a Cucumber and Grapefruit infused twist on the classic Gin Fizz. He also made some really interesting garnish by dehydrating slices of fresh grapefruit in some sugar syrup. Very unique and a great presentation. Well Done.
Watch this space for future developments with WORLD CLASS and see you all in the next few days for next months’ training with DON JULIO REPOSADO tequila. 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.
This is WORLD CLASS launch video from the Johannesburg region of South Africa. The event took place at the Rand Club in town. The Bar has definitely been raised!
Check out this video of the WORLD CLASS launch event in KZN that took place on Wednesday the 3rd of October at “The Upstairs” venue above Spiga Doro in Morningside. A special thanks to Olivers Twist Productions for making this clip, Fantastic Work!
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!
World Class Regional Finals
On Wednesday the 6th of June, it was finally time for the all the local finalists to battle it out for the title of World Class KZN Champion. The event took place in the lobby of the Fairmont Zimbali Resort which truly is a World Class Venue. There was a stage created with cameras looping all footage to HDTV’s positioned all around the Hotel. There were a total of 120 invited guests only and the dress code was strictly smart. The event started at 7pm offering welcome drinks on arrival. The welcome drinks were as follows;
Flower Power Punch
Method: Shake n Strained
- 50ml Tanqueray No.Ten
- 12.5ml Cucumber syrup
- 12.5ml Rosemary infused sugar syrup
- 25ml Grapefruit Juice
- Dash Angostura Bitters
- Top Tonic
Method: Shake n Fine Strain
Garnish: Orange Zest
- 25ml Ciroc Vodka
- 25ml Crème De Cassis
- 12.5ml Sweet Vermouth
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- 12.5ml Sugar Syrup
- 50ml Cranberry Juice
The competition consisted of 5 contestants:
- Calvin Foyle – Fairmont Hotel
- Selvan Govender – Oyster Box Hotel
- Siyanda Sokhela – Fairmont Hotel
- Christian Gaza – Luna Rossa
- Sydney Mkhize – Oyster Box Hotel
Each of these contestants had to complete 2 challenges, the Market Challenge & the Qualifier Challenge. They were judged on a variety of particular bartending aspects to identify which bartenders deserve the opportunity of competing in the National finals taking place in Cape Town on the 19th of June.
The 2 bartenders that have won flights to Cape Town are; Calvin Foyle and Sydney Mkhize. Well done guys and we shall see you at the Finals!
This is a short video teaser showing what the Diageo World Class Finals in Brazil is going to look like this year. Taking place in Rio over 7 days, this is sure to be the event of a life time. As far as the agenda goes; Cîroc, Kettle One & Ron Zacapa are already set to dazzle the crowds with live acts and perfect serves by some of the best mixologist’ in the world. This is year four of the World Class Program and they are expecting 50 countries to attend. The Competition starts on the 7th Of July 2012.
World Class Winner for February - Gin Category
On Monday the 5th of March, it was that time again to find out who is KZN’s most skilful mixologist. We had a total of 26 recipes submitted of which we narrowed down to the top 10. With the help again of Ryan Duvenage and Severyn Bang from Barcode Mobile as our credible judges, we filtered through some really impressive talent. One thing I am very proud of is the drastic increase of skill and thought process of our local bartenders, well done guys!
With the second round concentrating on Gin, our bartenders had to make use of Tanqueray No.Ten Gin in their recipes keeping in mind that the judges were looking for brand relevance, flavour, aroma and overall understanding of this World Class Gin.
I am now proud to announce the winner of the second month of World Class for the Gin Category in KZN…
Selvan Govender from the Oyster Box Hotel creating;
- Name: Fantasy Island
- Glass: Martini
- Method: shake n Strain
- Garnish: Orange zest bowl
- 40ml Tanqueray No.Ten
- 5ml Pernod
- 15ml Malibu Rum
- 30ml Fresh orange juice
- 10ml Sugar syrup
With a final score of 79% and going up against 26 other recipes, Selvan Govender showed some brave and well thought out combinations of ingredients. His amalgamation of Tanqueray No.Ten Gin, Pernod and Malibu Rum was tremendously different but achieved fantastic balance and overall aroma. He also managed finish the drink off with a zest of fresh orange which added to the overall presentation. Well done Selvan on this fantastic result.
Top 10 rankings are as follows;
- 2nd Sydney Mkhize - Oyster box - No.Ten’s Citrus Cherry
- 3rd Bazil Nsinganu - Havana Grill - Dutch Courage
- 4th Siyanda Sokhela - Fairmont Hotel - TinyTen Cucumber
- 5th Patrick Mavundla - Fairmont Hotel - TanqFruit Martini
- 6th Calvin Foyle - Fairmont Hotel - TanqKiwi
- 7th Philani Biyela - Oyster Box Hotel - Social Buzz
- 8th Bheki Magwaza - Fairmont Hotel - Tiny Tasty 10
- 9th Sydney Khati - Fairmont Hotel - TanQtical
- 10th Stephen Ndlovu - Havana Grill - The Big 10
The Launch of the Lamborghini Aventador with World Class and IBV South Africa
0 to 100km/h in 2.9s!
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be involved in the Launch of the new Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 which was hosted by the International Bank Vaults in Gateway. Roughly 1 year ago the IBV started a Super Car Club consisting of members who own Luxury cars valued at 1 million rand or more. The idea is for them to come together to discuss business, cars and basically show off their amazing toys. Last night was the showcase of the first of 6 Aventadors to come to South Africa. With sponsors such as Louis Vuitton, Vernon White and Chanel, it was definitely the playground for the Reserve brands of Diageo; Ciroc© Vodka, Tanqueray© No.Ten™ Gin, Don Julio© Tequila and Johnnie Walker© Gold Label™. I put together a “masterclass” concept to showcase these brands and how one could use them in their own homes. With loads of interest coming through, it was clearly a very successful evening!
The Cocktail menu consisted of 3 Recipes;
- The Lambo’Tini - Vodka Based with white wine and fresh grapes
- The Blush (@mixwithmike) - Gin Based with egg white and elderflower syrup
- El Diablo - Tequila Based with Frankies fiery ginger beer
From the best mixologists in the world, the Don Julio Luxury Drop™ combines the highest quality ingredients with a social ritual, served in a refined shot glass. This is my idea of World Class bartending and of course everyone has their own ideas but if I were to create a luxury drop, I would do it as follows;
- 45ml Don Julio Reposado
- 10ml Espresso Syrup (Home made)
- 1 tbsp of coffee creamer
- 5ml After Shock Liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a gold plated 3 piece shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into sexy shot glasses and serve with the ritual of a “high 5”!