Posts Tagged ‘bartender’


World Class Japan: The Search for Japan’s Top Bartender

June 21, 2011

[July 15 2011 Update: Manabu Otake has won the World Championship]

Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits, recently held the Japan round of their World Class 2011 bartending competition. Considered bartending’s equivalent of the Oscars, World Class recognizes bartenders who bring the art of cocktail-making to a higher level. Contestants are judged on their ability to craft new flavors, revitalize classics, and create food&drink pairings while still fulfilling their age-old role as “psychologist, sociologist, businessman and gracious host all rolled into one.” For this year, the competitions were centered around six of the premium brands Diageo has released in Japan: Ciroc vodka, Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Talisker and Singleton of Glen Ord single malt whiskies, Don Julio tequila, and Ron Zacapa rum.

The finalists at World Class 2011 Japan

via Foodrink News

Held at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Odaiba in Tokyo Harbor, the competition consisted of four stages. First was the Market Challenge, in which the competitors were sent one-by-one to the nearby Wholesalers Market, where they had a limited time to choose and purchase ingredients, which they then had to use to create original cocktails. For the Food Pairing Challenge, competitors were given a selection of fine hors-d’oeuvres from which to choose two, and then had to create a cocktail for each to complement them. In the Ritual Challenge, the competitors were graded on their overall style and knowledge of the finer points of the bartending art. Finally, the Speed and Taste Challenge tested the competitors’ ability to produce Diageo’s twists on six classic cocktails (Singleton and soda, Tanqueray Cosmopolitan, Ron Zacapa Old Fashioned, Tanqueray Negroni, Don Julio Margarita, and a Ciroc Caipiroska) in under 6 minutes, all the while doing so stylishly and, above all, with superb-tasting results.

At the end of it all, Manabu Otake, bartender at the Cerulean Hotel in Shibuya, was judged best of the best, receiving exceptionally high marks in the Speed and Taste Challenge, and for his pear and vodka “Blanche-Neige” original cocktail. This was Otake’s third time in the Japan finals, and his first ever win.

2010 winner Takumi Watanabe (left) congratulates this year's winner Manabu Otake (right)

via Foodrink News

Otake will advance to the Global Finals, which will be held next month in Delhi, India.