Bartender Bannie Kang has done the little red dot proud. Representing Singapore, she beat 53 of the best bartenders from around the world to take the top spot at Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition.
The competition, which is the largest cocktail competition in the world, took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Thousands of bartenders from six continents participated in a series of national heats before judges narrowed down the list to 53. Kang was among the elite group of 53 finalists who had to take part in a series of challenges across four days in the Netherlands and Scotland.
The finalists started in the Netherlands where they were tasked with creating cocktails with a positive environmental impact and a sense of community at their core. Their second stop was at the Talisker Distillery in Skye, Scotland where they had to mix up a Talisker masterpiece with a mystery box of ingredients and bar tool.
The last stop was in Glasgow where the finalists had to go through final rounds of the competition. The tasks included coming up with cocktails that complemented single malt The Singleton and devising a cocktail flight of three drinks featuring Tanqueray No. Ten, among others.
The judging panel was made up of former winners of the competition, award-winning mixologists, and drinks media. Kang will spend the next 12 months as a global ambassador for Diageo’s Reserve brands, judging World Class national heats and doing guest shifts at some of the best bars in the world.
Originally from Busan in Korea, Kang moved to Singapore and found her passion for bartending at her first job as a waitress in 2010 at City Space at Swissotel the Stamford.
“This has been an incredible experience. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work – a real whirlwind,” said a jubilant Kang. “I’ve learnt a lot and made some friends for life. It was a privilege to spend the last five days with these guys, working with these incredible spirits brands, at the best bartending competition in the world. To have won is the cherry on the cake.”