It’s been exciting to see our top bartenders compete against the best of the world in the World Class Bartender of the Year Competition in the last four years. Now on its fifth year, Diageo Reserve World Class Philippines is set to join the World Class Bartender of the Year Competition for 2017 to be held in Mexico City.

The 23 bartenders for Diageo World Class Philippines 2017

Kicking off the competition was the first challenge held last March 27, 2017, at Hooch bar in Salcedo. This year, 23 bartenders competed against each other in the Love Scotch Flavor Pairing challenge where they were tasked to bring out the flavors of Scotch through their cocktails.

Diageo World Class Philippine champion 2016 Michael Keith Tubiera and first challenge winner Poch Ancheta

Judging the competition were Global World Class Final 2017 third-placer Nick Wu from East End Taipei, Diageo Philippines Inc. Finance Director Yann Cameli, and Founder of Pinoy Eats World JJ Yulo.

Samba at Shangri-La Fort’s Poch Ancheta won the first challenge with his taste-shifting drink called Alco Brunch. Enclosed in a thin egg-shaped chocolate. the drink’s taste and flavor of the drink change once you bite into the chocolate casing. The Curator’s Faye Fernando won second place with a drink called Tomi Fizz, inspired by her favorite childhood treats: Tomi corn chips, and street ice scramble. The British contender from Hooch Sam Webster bagged third place for his coconut-flavored drink Never Shake Our Freedom! that stood out from all the whisky sours in the selection.

Diageo Philippines Inc. Finance Director Yann Cameli, Global World Class Final 2017 third-placer Nick Wu from East End Taipei, Love Scotch Flavor Pairing winner Samba at Shangri-La Fort’s Poch Ancheta, second placer The Curator’s Faye Fernando, Hooch’s Sam Webster, and Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Rian Asiddao
Love Scotch Flavor Pairing winner Samba at Shangri-La Fort’s Poch Ancheta creating his drink, Alco Brunch
Alco Brunch
(Second placer) The Curator’s Faye Fernando with her drink called Tomi Fizz
Tomi Fizz
(Third placer) Sam Webster from Hooch
Never Shake Our Freedom!

This year’s competition showcased the best bartenders Manila has to offer. It also marks the Philippine leg with the most women bartenders who joined the competition: second-placer Faye Fernando, Raging Bull Shangri-La Fort’s Gladys Munar, The Lounge at Fairmont Makati’s Maricel Arojado, and Makati Shangri-La’s Hannah Stephanie Almadrigo.

Raging Bull Shangri-La Fort’s Gladys Munar creating her drink, Dappled Sky
Dappled Sky inspired by Love Scotch 2016 ambassador Coco Rocha
Hannah Stephanie Almadrigo from Sage at Shangri-La Makati
Maricel Arojado from The Loung at Fairmont Makati
Bitters’ Ian Sedrick Libang
Libang’s drink Words of Ramos made with Katmon, an alien-looking fruit that is endemic to the Philippines
Smith Butcher and Grill’s Cedric Cello with his drink Sanktwaryo
Uma Uma’s Shinichi Itoh
Dream Catcher
Rambla’s John Silva
Bonfire by John Silva
LIT’s Inno Cruz
ABV’s Lester Ligon
Ligon’s drink De Ja Vu Sour

The second challenge is scheduled to commence this Tuesday, April 25 at Bitters bar in The Fort. the second leg is a speed challenge that requires bartenders to make two Negronis (a classic recipe and their own concoction) using Tanqueray gin. The judges for this leg will be the first Global Finalist from Singapore (World Class 2009) and Aubrey Sim, Diageo Reserve Portfolio Brand Ambassador for South East Asia; Interaksyon’s food and beverage journalist Cyrene de la Rosa; and KatsuCuisine’s executive chef Juni Silva.

Photos by Star Sabroso 

A publishing industry veteran who is the former creative director of PeopleAsia magazine and former lifestyle editor of The Standard newspaper. She was introduced to the wonderful world of spirits during her stint as executive creative director of digital agency DigitalFCB, where she led a team that created campaigns for some of the biggest liquor brands in the country. A lover of scotch and a curious spirit who is obsessed with the colorful world of mixology, she directs DrinkManila’s overall editorial content.

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