International Bartending Competition

Diageo Reserve World Class brought together 12 mixologists from India’s leading hotels and bars to compete for the title of India’s Bartender of the Year at Diageo Reserve World Class 2017. World Class is a platform that nurtures local bartending talent by enabling the participants with relevant knowledge and skill to create World Class cocktails. Now in its 9th year in India, the competition brought together nearly 300 bartenders to compete for the title.

Over the last six months, a number of mixologists from all over the nation competed with each other at various regional level competition to finally make it in the finals the completion was judged by  Donald Colville, Diageo Global Scotch Ambassador – Malts, Nicholas Ord, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador and Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier & CEO, All Things Nice.

The finalists had to come up with their versions of the classic cocktails using the luxury spirits from the Diageo Reserve portfolio namely Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18, Talisker 10YO, the Singleton of Glen Ord 12YO, Tanqueray 10, C√éROC and Ketel One. There were three rounds in total, they included - The Blind Tasting Round, The Speed Round and The Mystery Box Round.  Rohan Rege, Paasha, JW Marriott, Pune won the competition and will now head to Mexico to compete in the international finals.

The final was held at St. Regis in Mumbai. The competition started in the morning and went on till the evening.  With the first contestant itself I knew that I was in for a treat. The gusto and the enthusiasm of each contestant intrigued me and I didn’t leave the bar counter even for a second. The first round consisted of them stirring up two drinks in ten minutes. Each one of them had come up with a unique twist to the drink, and the homemade ingredients created by the contestants made the drinks even better. It is always a delight to see someone own a drink in such a special way. Out of the 12 finalists, six moved on the next round.

The second round was the most exciting one and my favorite. Check out the video below to experience what I am talking about.

The six finalists had to stir up eight drinks in six minutes. The rush, excitement, thrill was amazing! It was not just the contestants who were nervous and trying to get everything right and in time but also us, the viewers who were on the edge of our seats.

The third round was the mystery box round, where the top three had to come up with two drinks using the ingredients in the box and one of their signature drink. Again! They did a marvelous job! They even used Carrot and Jamun juice in the drinks; I would have never thought that ingredients like these could be used to mix such delicious cocktails.

Rohan Rege from Paasha – JW Marriott, Pune emerges as the winner. He impressed the judges with his knowledge, skill and creativity as he effortlessly created some amazing drinks.

The mixologists, I must say are very interactive and can chat you up in no time. The confidence that they have is charming and the way they show their skills in a bar is stunning.

I was there the whole day watching it from the start to end, and never once did I get bored. (I wish there were more chairs around the bar though, my heels were killing me)

The Global Finals for Diageo Reserve World Class will take place in Mexico City later this year, and I am excited for Rohan Rege, hope he wins!

You can visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource,, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.


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