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French bartender scoops World Class title

Following a four-day final in Miami, Jennifer Le Nechet from Café Moderne in Paris has been named the World Class Bartender of the Year 2016.

Jennifer Le Nechet is named World’s Best Bartender 2016

Almost 10,000 bartenders entered the Diageo-run global competition, which marked its eighth anniversary in 2016.

After a series of regional heats, 56 made it through to the Miami-based final, where bartenders took part in a series of challenges to assess technique, personality, spirits knowledge and performance under pressure.

In addition to creating a pop-up bar, other tasks included creating original recipes from the Diageo Reserve portfolio, and competing against the clock to create eight drinks in 10 minutes.

In addition to naming the winner, judges also announced five runners up: Dries Botty from Belgium; Adrián Michalčík, Czech Republic; Jonas Andersen, Denmark; Ryu Fujii, Japan; and Nick Wu, Taiwan.

Le Nechet, the first female bartender to win the title, impressed the panel with her “spectacular” range of drinks at her Steampunk-themed pop-up.

“I’m completely blown away – it’s such an honour to take home the title of World’s Best Bartender – especially when competing against such talent from around the world,” said Le Nechet.

“This week has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of flavours and to explore how all the senses can be engaged through cocktails. I can’t wait for the experience ahead!”

Johanna Dalley, World Class director commented: “World Class is continuing on a stellar trajectory – since we launched in 2009 the number of countries participating has tripled from 18 to 56, and the programme has reached and inspired more than 250,000 bartenders around the globe.

“Jennifer is the deserved winner, and we are delighted to have a female winner for the first time, but the five runners up were all worthy contenders.”

Alex Kratena, judge and founder of P(our) added: “We judges have been blown away by the standard this year. These guys have knocked it out of the park – no matter whether it’s mixing a classic cocktail or creating a bespoke drink. The level of innovation has been jaw-dropping.”

Le Nechet will now represent Diageo as Diageo Reserve brand ambassador and will travel the world judging competitions and making bespoke drinks.

At the Awards evening, Diageo World Class also announced Mexico City as the location for the 2017 global final.

“This year, World Class will take cocktail culture to a new level in Mexico City, and there could be no better place for this, since for many years, this city been developing into one of the most vibrant capitals for food, drink and culture,” Dalley confirmed.

Earlier this week, Diageo World Class published a report detailing its top cocktail trends for 2017 and beyond.

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