World Class Cape Town – So as some of you may know Cape Town played host to Diageo’s World Class competition this year. The World class house, that was located in the Roodebloom studios in Woodstock, was transformed into a magical network of bars themed to showcase Diagio’s premium reserve products such as Johnny Walker Blue Label, Don Julio, Tanqueray and others.
World Class Bar
Walking through the front door of the World class house you are welcomed to a suave cocktail bar that James bond would be comfortable in, behind the bar there was a magnificent showcase of the Diagio reserve brands . It was a space that you felt was true to the cocktail culture in the modern world, the bartenders were informative, friendly and always keen to make you a fantastic drink; alcoholic or not. On the menu at the World class bar were the winning drinks from the past 6 world class competitions, my first drink the El Buli; made by Erik Lorincz in 2010 was recommended by our very own Owen O’Reilly who had been working at the house for the week. As Owen was creating this fantastic cocktail I noticed him putting a slice of avocado into the mixing glass and at first I was a bit on the fence, but I knew this drink had Don Julio Reposado and who doesn’t love tequila?! The drink was served in a coupe with a dusting of paprika on top. The drink had a whimsically sweet tartness to it, the pineapple was definitely the culprit for this although it played a key role in the taste of the drink the avocado complimented the sweetness but muting the bold flavor allowing for a great tangy after taste. Owen says “my highlight of the event was to see and meet industry legends and some of my personal idols like Dale De Groff, Gaz Regan and Salvatore Calabrese, also working behind a bar with the World Class winners of the past six years. What a pleasure!”
Bulleit Bourbon Bar
The second bar you entered as you walked through the world class house was the Bulleit Bourbon bar manned by Rudi who is extremely charismatic and energetic creating a vibrant feel around the bar. The setup for the Bulleit bar was extremely raw, showcasing their base ingredients; rye and corn, the seating area was a large couch that made you feel like you were in someone’s living room enjoying a finely crafted spirit either in cocktail form or on the rocks. Rudi was determined to get me to taste the old fashioned that he was so proud of, and rightly so. The Bulleit old fashioned had to be my favourite drink or the night, made with bulleit bourbon, simple syrup, orange bitters, served over ice and garnished with an orange zest. I must have nursed this drink for close to 40 minutes, and that doesn’t happen very often, but I just really didn’t want to let go of the ice-cold tumbler in my hand. Bulleit bourbon will be available in SA soon with its bold, spicy character and its smooth and clean finish. It is a Kentucky straight bourbon with a unique blend of corn, rye and barley malt… we will hopefully also see the likes of the Bulleit Rye in SA soon, this exceptional Straight rye is a blend of 95% rye and 5% barley malt and is russet in colour, with rich oaky aromas. It has a long lingering clean finish with a smooth pallet and hints of vanilla honey and spice.
As we meandered through the rest of the house we moved into the Tanqueray bar, and this was something special. Design to make you feel like you were walking into a bar with Jay Gatsby himself it felt only right to have a few hostess dressed up as flapper girl ready to sip on their martini and maybe do a little dance to the rhythm of the music. The bar was set up in a classic and sophisticated style, we wouldn’t expect anything less, with bartenders dressed to impress. The main feature in this venue had to be Tanqueray’s Imperial shaker; it is an elegant contraption that shakes your drink as the bartender spins the handle have a look at their promotional video bellow.
Don Julio Cantina
You then walked through to the Don Julio Cantina which was the only outdoor bar at the venue, you walk into an area that feels like it has come straight out of Mexico and into the heart of the mother city; you could feel the laid back lifestyle came with it. The DJ was playing deep house that got everyone in the mood for a bit of tequila (as if you need to be in the mood for tequila) with two bars ready to make you a tasty tipple there were more than enough options for you to try something new every time.
Across the road was both the Ron Zacapa rum and Kettle One Vodka experiences tucked away in a separate building, we managed to jump into both of these experiences and there will be a post up soon for each of the experiences we took part in.
All in all we loved the entire experience and we were extremely impressed by firstly the scale of the whole event and secondly the detail and planning that went into creating what we can only describe as a world-class experience.
World Class Cape Town
We would like to say thank you to everyone who was involved in running the World Class Cape Town event, especially Sweet & Chilli and The Perfect Serve as we can imagine it was no easy feat, and hopefully we may see the World Class finals return to Cape Town in the future.