David Rios of Spain won the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartenders final that was held aboard the Azamara Journey in July.
Following in the footsteps of mixology giants Tim Philips, Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristotelis Papadopoulos, Rios captivated the judges throughout the week with his winning cocktails. His Gold Basque Punch – using Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Amer Picon, pineapple juice, grenadine and soda, garnished with an orange slice, star anise and mint – along with his signature serve compromising Ketel One vodka, Aperol-flavored strawberries, sugar syrup, kumquat and grapefruit juice, egg white and orange bitters, showed innovation, creativity and the showmanship of a World Class bartender.
Contestants from 44 countries, including 10 from Latin America and the Caribbean, participated with finalists being selected to showcase their creations in front of some of the most revered names in the industry – Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, Hidestsugo Ueno, Arturo Savage, Steve Olson and Aristotelis Papadopoulos.
Following the award ceremony in Barcelona, Rios, said: “I am thrilled and humbled to be awarded Diageo Reserve Bartender of the Year amongst the incredibly talented group of bartenders at the Global Final. I look forward to the year ahead, traveling the world as an ambassador for the program, meeting my peers, educating new talent, and learning about new cocktail cultures and trends around the globe.”
Rios embarks on a year-long tour as an ambassador for Diageo Reserve World Class, widening his own knowledge, honing his skills and techniques along the way, and being the standard-bearer for fine-drinking experiences. He will also inspire new talent, as the next crop of aspirants join the race to be the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2014.
Congratulating the fifth title-holder of the Bartender of the Year, James Thompson, Managing Director, Diageo Reserve, said: “David Rios is a true Diageo Reserve World Class bartender: innovative, creative, charismatic and, most importantly, passionate about the industry.
From Latin America & the Caribbean, Mario Seijo, of Santaella in San Juan, Puerto Rico was announced as the 2013 Bartender of the Year for the region.
DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS 2013 Winners
Global Bartender of the Year: David Rios, Spain
Asia Pacific Bartender of the Year: Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Japan
Latin America & the Caribbean Bartender of the Year: Mario Seijo, Puerto Rico
Europe Bartender of the Year: David Rios, Spain
North America & Rest of the World Bartender of the Year: Jeff Bell, USA
Time to Play Challenge: Kirill Runkov, Russia
Red Carpet Challenge: Gareth Evans, UK
Mediterranean Mastery Challenge: Zachary de Git, Singapore
St. Tropez Street Market Challenge: Laura Schacht, Switzerland
Kings of Flavor Challenge: Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Japan
Tapas Table Challenge: Jason Clark, New Zealand and Luke Ashton, Australia
Against the Clock Challenge: Jeff Bell, USA
Punch & Glass Challenge: David Rios, Spain