Last week saw aspiring bartenders and mixologists from the industry compete to become the new Super Yacht World Class™ Bartender of the Year 2016.
The four-day event kicked off with two days of open masterclasses from industry experts and was then followed by a two-day competition, where 18 contestants battled it out for the winning place in front of an esteemed panel of judges, all of whom were Diageo Brand Ambassadors or champion bar tenders.
The event was organised and hosted by The Crew Academy at their training villa. During the first two days, attendees were guided through the world of luxury spirits by industry-leading experts, learning practical techniques to assist them in the later stages of the competition.
The whisky food pairing masterclass proved particularly popular, with attendees learning about the delicate combinations of Cardhu Gold Reserve with Parma Ham and figs, Talisker Skye with Smoked Salmon and dill blini and finally the delectable Singleton Spey Cascade with hand-made milk chocolate truffles.
Last year’s winner Jasmin Rutter, from SY Marie was also in attendance, helping to prepare competitors with an idea of what to expect as the winner.
The first day of the competition commenced with an open ‘jam session’ giving the competitors the opportunity to experiment, with the experts standing by to give advice and offer suggestions before the competition began.
The first heat was “The Travelling Bow Tie” Challenge. The judges were particularly impressed with the creative ideas and thought-provoking stories of travel around the world that were presented by the group. Amongst the entries were ‘The London Sneeze’ by Beth Marsden and ‘The Disappointed Father’ by Benjamin Long, for this the judges praised his inspired use of Ketel One Vodka in his take on a martini.
18 became nine going into round two, The Speed and Taste challenge. The judges were blown away by the competitors in this heat, Max la Rocca, World Class Brand Ambassador for Western Europe said, ‘The level of skill and enthusiasm displayed by the competitors was fantastic. I had to keep reminding myself that these are not professional barmen and most of them are first-time competitors’.
Just five competitors were selected to go through to the final round, Angela Baufelt, Benjamin Long, Inge Brenzel, Megan Horne and Alexandra Nesinova. The judges were delighted by the inventive and inspiring combinations achieved in the Mystery Bag Challenge, where each competitor was asked to create a cocktail from three of the four ingredients in their mystery bag, in just ten minutes. This included combinations such as coffee beans and blackberries, in one and pink pepper grains, almond syrup, apple juice and grapes in another, plus one of the range of World Class spirits, including Tanqueray No, Ten gin, Ketel One vodka and Jonnie Walker Gold Label Reserve.
The event culminated with the announcement of the winner, Inge Brenzel, Second Stewardess from Motor Yacht New Sunrise, who wowed the judges with her creation Georgie’s Fizz, for which she used a combination of agave nectar, rosemary, oranges and green chartreuse.
Inge won a host of prizes and will now go on to represent yachting alongside over 70 other countries, at the Global World Class Final in Miami, in September, after attending the Western Europe World Class boot camp to take place in the UK in July, where she will be able to further develop her mixology skills.
In addition, Inge won a free place on The Crew Academy’s Purser course, worth €5,000; “I'm so grateful for this opportunity to have presented itself when it did. I have had an amazing four days with everyone, and I have learnt so much! Thank you for the gift and spoils. Thank you to all the crazy cats for the wild support and laughs! I wish you were all coming with me on this next adventure. Now the real fun begins, lots of practice and then Miami for the World Class 2016 global competition, and to top the year off - a purser course with The Crew Academy. Can't wait!”
Inge had previously attended The Crew Academy’s World Class mixology training, held earlier in the season. Over one hundred individuals have been trained in the basics of mixology since January 2016, with further sessions planned to take place before the end of May.
The four other finalists also won courses at The Crew Academy, to the value of €1,000 each.
For more information and details of the training and competition, please get in touch at [email protected].