Jennifer Le Nechet has been crowned the world’s best bartender at the climax of the global cocktail competition WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2016 in Miami .
The French bartender, usually found crafting drinks and charming customers behind the bar at Café Moderne in Paris , wowed the judges by creating a spectacular range of vibrant drinks at her Steampunk themed pop-up bar.
Since its launch in 2009, Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS has been instrumental in transforming fine drinking and cocktail culture around the world. Now in over 60 countries, it has supported, educated and inspired over 250,000 bartenders through its training and advocacy programme. WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition brings together the best bartending talent from around to globe to decide who will be crowned the world’s best bartender.
Nearly 10,000 bartenders from all over the world entered the competition, with 56 selected to represent their country at the Miami finals. An elite group of six made it through the final round which saw them conceive and create a pop-up bar in just 24 hours. Each challenge showcased a different skill from the bartender’s armoury: technique, personality, spirits knowledge and how well they perform under pressure.
Selecting top brands from Diageo’s Reserve portfolio including Ketel One vodka, Cîroc, Don Julio , Tanqueray No TEN, Bulleit, Zacapa rum and Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky, the bartenders crafted classic cocktails and created their own recipes. They also went up against the clock to mix up to fourteen quintessential drinks in just 10 minutes.
Jennifer Le Nechet, the first female bartender to claim the title, said: “I’m completely blown away – it ‘ s such an honour to take home the title of World’s Best Bartender – especially when competing against such talent from around the world. This week has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of flavours and to explore how all the senses can be engaged through cocktails. I can’t wait for the experience ahead!”
Coming up tops against finalists representing Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Grand Cayman, Greece, Hong Kong & Macau, Iceland, India, Indian Ocean, Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, Uruguay, United Kingdom, US and Vietnam, Le Nechet is set for a whirlwind year of adventure – she will have the chance to travel the world as a Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador, judging competitions and making bespoke drinks in far-flung locations.
Alex Kratena, former Head Bartender of Artesian London said, “The standard this year has been absolutely phenomenal. It’s been just so difficult to choose between these bartenders. Jennifer just nailed it in the Superstar Pool Party showing all the skills you could want in a bartender, and her pop-up bar blew us all away with its cool Stempunk theme and twist on classic cocktails with homemade emulsions, cola and organic ingredients. These bartenders really are at the top of their game and the five runners up were worthy contenders. Not only can they pull off all the classics flawlessly, but they are developing new and exciting techniques every step of the way. ”
“This week has been a whirlwind of creativity, flair and amazing talent – truly raising the role of the bartender to be on a par with that of the world’s leading chefs. And that’s what WORLD CLASS is all about, inspiring people to drink better and appreciate great drinks in the same way they appreciate great food. The final six were exceptional and it was an extremely close final, however we’re delighted to name Jennifer as our winner and our first female WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year,” said Johanna Dalley , Global World Class Director.
At the Awards evening, Mexico City was also revealed as the location for the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final 2017.
Dalley continued, “This year, WORLD CLASS will take cocktail culture to a new level in Mexico City, and there could be no better place for this, since for many years, this city been developing into one of the most vibrant capitals for food, drink and culture.”