One of the world’s most prestigious cocktail competitions is taking to the high seas to turn floating bartenders into mixologists extraordinaire. The Diageo Global Travel team announced the launch of the biggest ever Diageo Reserve World Class program, in partnership with four of the world’s leading cruise lines: Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
This year the program will see over 5,500 cruise line bartenders (almost 15 times the number of 2013 participants) trained in the art of mixology then whittled down to just four via a series of explosive heats. These four will go head-to-head at the glamorous Diageo Reserve World Class Global Travel semi-final event in Miami, Florida on 5th June. The winner will compete at the star-studded Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year global final, pitted against bartenders from the four corners of the globe.
Managing the training program this year will be World Class Global Winner for Latin America & Caribbean 2013, Mario Seijo, supported by leading mixologists Julio Cabrera, Joseph Brooke and Michael Parish. In sessions around the world from Shanghai to Sydney and Naples to Cozumel, they will coach on board bartenders in showmanship skills and the latest cocktail-making trends such as ‘Mediterranean Mastery’ and ‘Gin and the Secrets of Distillation’ to create delicious drinks for on board guests. Pushing the boundaries of high-end cocktails, the bartenders are encouraged to innovate and experiment using some of the world’s leading collection of fine spirits: the Diageo Reserve Brands portfolio.
Following a successful partnership with Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line last year, World Class is doubling in size and welcoming Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises in 2014. Diageo Reserve World Class will elevate the craft of the cruise line bartender, revolutionise on board fine-drinking experiences and ensure these cruise lines bartenders are ahead of the latest mixology trends.
Now in its fifth year, Diageo Reserve World Class has trained over 15,000 bartenders in 50 markets worldwide, using the finest, award-winning spirits from the Diageo Reserve collection. It has been transforming the face of cocktail culture by creating new experiences for the discerning drinker around the world.
Louise Higgins, Marketing Director, Diageo GTME Western, said:
“World Class has become synonymous with creativity, style and sophistication, constantly pushing the boundaries of contemporary and experiential cocktail culture. Through Diageo Reserve World Class, the drinks industry’s largest investment in luxury drinking experiences, we are delighted to be collaborating with the best cruise lines in the industry to transform fine-drinking for holiday makers. This is our biggest year ever by some way and we are excited to see these bartenders will take their cocktail making skills to new levels in the world’s most credible cocktail competition.”
Jonathan Wilson, Vice President, Food and Beverage Services and Product Development, Princess Cruises added: “As the pioneer cruise line that broke new ground with our participation in the program in 2012 and cemented our place as the Cruise Channel winners for Diageo Reserve World Class 2013, we are absolutely thrilled to be returning for another year of participation and excellence. The influence of on-trend mixology training from accomplished celebrities of the cocktail industry has ignited a new level of passion and enthusiasm for our crew.”
Michael Flesch, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Norwegian Cruise Line: “At Norwegian Cruise Line, we have seen incredible success with The Diageo Reserve World Class program and look forward to continuing our participation once again this year, on an even broader level. The program allows us to provide excellent training, elevate our mixology and, ultimately, further enhance our guests’ on board experience.”
“Royal Caribbean International is glad to be part of Diageo Reserve World Class mixology program,” said Brian Abel, Vice President of Food & Beverage for Royal Caribbean International. “The program will help enhance the on board beverage experience and deliver the WOW to our guests like never before. It will help showcase our talented bartenders and beverage staff, as well as their individual creativity and skill in serving delicious cocktails to guests on a Royal Caribbean vacation.”
“Celebrity Cruises’ collaboration with Diageo Reserve World Class is an incredible opportunity to showcase the progressive and award-winning beverage program guests can enjoy while sailing on board our modern, luxurious ships,” said Chanelle Duarte, manager of Beverage Development, Celebrity Cruises. “Working with World Class will also enhance our bar experience through specialized training emphasizing innovation and impeccable service – two hallmarks of a Celebrity Cruises vacation experience.”