Now in its seventh edition, Diageo Reserve World Class brought together twenty mixologists from India’s leading hotels and bars to compete for the title at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Alfonso Del Portillo, from Drinks on MG, Bangalore was conferred the title of the India Bartender of the Year at Diageo Reserve World Class 2015. The winner will represent India and compete with the world’s best bartenders at Diageo Reserve World Class Global Finals to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in September, 2015. Portillo edged his competitors and swayed the judges with his speed, meticulous execution and balanced cocktails at the India final. Runner up Bensan Varghese from Arola, JW Marriott, Mumbai and Second Runner up Mayur Marne from Hakkasan Mumbai too impressed the judges and the attendees with their creativity and craftsmanship, thus earning them the second and third position respectively.
Over the last six months, the contenders from the most prominent bars in India competed in multiple regional levels before descending in Mumbai for the national finals. Top 20 bartenders were judged by an expert panel consisting of Bhavesh Somaya -Head of Luxury, United Spirits Ltd - a Diageo Group company; Will Thompson - Global Brand Ambassador, Don Julio; Alex Sanchez -Executive Chef, The Table; Zbigniew Zapert - Reserve Brand Ambassador India and Nicholas Ord - Reserve Brand Ambassador India. The selected 20 bartenders exhibited originality and all the right skills throughout the competition that judged them on various parameters to test their ingenuity. Of the 20 talented challengers, Alfonso emerged as the winner for mastering these pre-requites and displaying unparalleled skills with utmost passion.
Announcing the winner, Bhavesh Somaya, Head of Luxury, United Spirits Ltd - a Diageo Group company said, “Diageo Reserve World Class is a celebration of flair and creativity in the craft of bartending. It is a testament to Diageo Reserve’s longstanding commitment of transforming fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture around the world. After triumphing the multi-layered competition, the India Champion will now contend with some of the most talented bartenders from around the world at the Global Final. It will be the ultimate test of skill, craft and mettle. ”
Sharing his big win, Alfonso Del Portillo, added, “It’s a real honour to be the Diageo Reserve World Class India Bartender of the Year 2015. The platform gave me an opportunity to learn from the best in the industry and I can confidently say that I have grown enormously as a professional through this journey. It feels extremely rewarding to compete with the best bartenders in the world and represent India at the Global Finals in South Africa. I can’t wait to experiment and show some innovative ideas!”
(Excerpt from a Press Release)