Meet the Best Bartender in the World: James Grant Diageo World Class 2021
Bartender James Grant has been crowned the best bartender in the world following the 12th Diageo World Class 2021 edition.
James Grant was elected best bartender in the world at the 12th edition of the renowned Diageo World Class bartending competition held this July.
After the 2020 competition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Diageo originally scheduled the 2021 final to take place in Madrid, Spain, but later moved the event online. Grant was up against 49 bartenders from around the world in the virtual event held at a London venue.
The bartenders from around the world were streamed live from their home countries and competed in a series of challenges to test their skills, creativity and showmanship.
James Grant spoke about his win, “All the bartenders were amazing, and to be chosen as this year’s winner after the year we all had is incredible. When I started my bartending career I never thought it would take me this far.”
“I was inspired by the community and the creativity of everyone around me, it was contagious and I soon fell in love with the art and the opportunities. It gave me the drive and determination to seek out the best in the business to learn from and that’s what brought me here today.”
Among the various challenges Grant and the top 49 bartenders from each country faced during the five-day event to become the best bartender in the world were the Johnnie Walker Highball, hosting a masterclass to make a Tanqueray No. Ten cocktail at home, and designing a Ketel One vodka-based cocktail that would have a positive impact on the environment.
The various rounds of challenges culminated in a special edition “Malts” speed challenge using The Singleton and Talisker whiskies. This challenge not only tested the efficiency of the finalists, but also the quality and design of the cocktails.
Diageo World Class global director Simon Earley said, “Our first World Class virtual world final was a great success and resulted in one of the most innovative and creative competitions we have ever seen.
“The judges were blown away by the creativity and originality of James, who created some incredible serves to experience visually, virtually and in person. He is a thoroughly deserving winner and I’m very excited to start working with them as a World Class ambassador in the year ahead.”
To conduct the virtual final, a production and broadcast center was set up in a London studio along with a panel of local judges. Competitors presented their drinks to the judges live from their own country, while an avatar bartender prepared the drinks for the judges to taste.
The Diageo World Class competition highlights bartenders from around the world. Since its launch in 2009, Diageo World Class has supported, trained and inspired more than 400,000 bartenders, in 60 countries, for more than twelve years, while partnering them with the world’s best spirits and remaining one of the world’s largest bartending competitions.
James Grant, World Class Canada 2021 and Best Bartender in the World
Melbourne, Australia, native bartender James Grant shakes his cocktails at the bar of the Little Hong Kong bar in Edmonton, Alberta. For the Canadian edition, whose finals took place March 28-30, 11 bartenders were shortlisted. Pitted against each other, the judges evaluated the bartenders on the criteria of technique, cocktail preparation and presentation.
James is now the 12th bartender to be inducted into the Diageo World Class Hall of Fame by being crowned the best bartender in the world.
“I want to thank all those who have been part of that journey and now I want to inspire up and coming bartenders to find a career and a creative outlet in the extraordinary world of bartending,” Grant said.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.
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