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Jennifer Le Nechet wins World Class 2016 competition

France’s Jennifer Le Nechet has been crowned the world’s best bartender at the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final 2016. She becomes the first female bartender to claim the title. Following a four-day battle in Miami, she triumphed over the world’s greatest talents in cocktail making.

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ennifer Le Nechet crowned as World Class Best Bartender - with previous WC winners
Jennifer Le Nechet crowned World Best Bartender
World Class 2016 Final 6 Contenstants

The French bartender, usually found crafting drinks and charming customers behind the bar at Café Moderne in Paris wowed the judges by creating a spectacular range of vibrant drinksat her Steampunk themed pop-up bar.

2016 marks the eighth year of Diageo’s WORLD CLASS competition, and the biggest yet, with nearly 10,000 bartenders entering. 56 of them made it to Miami. Next year will see Mexico City play host to the final.

 Jennifer Le Nechet - Speed round

Jennifer Le Nechet - Speed round

Each challenge turned the spotlight on a different skill in the bartender’s armoury: technique, personality, spirits knowledge and how well they perform under pressure.

Selecting top brands from Diageo’s Reserve portfolio including Ketel One vodka, Cîroc, Don Julio, Tanqueray No TEN, Bulleit, Zacapa rum and Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky, the bartenders crafted classic cocktails and created their own recipes. They also went up against the clock to mix eight quintessential drinks in just 10 minutes.

Jennifer Le Nechet - Shape of cocktails to come

Jennifer Le Nechet - Shape of cocktails to come round

Jennifer Le Nechet, the first female bartender to claim the title, said: “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. 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!”

Le Nechet is set for an action-packed year as a Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador, and can expect to travel the world judging competitions and making bespoke drinks in far-flung and glamorous locations. She will also join a roll call of the industry’s finest, becoming the eighth member of the WORLD CLASS Hall of Fame.

Jennifer Le Nechet with previous World Class Bartender of the Year winners

Jennifer Le Nechet with previous World Class Bartender of the Year winners

Johanna Dalley, World Class Director, Diageo Reserve said: “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. We are proud to bring you this year’s crop of the world’s most skilled bartenders, and to learn about the newest and greatest drinks experiences on offer. 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.”

At the Awards evening, Mexico City was also revealed as the location for the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final 2017.

World Class 2016 Final 12 Contestants

World Class 2016 Final 12 Contestants

Dalley continued, “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.”

Diageo’s WORLD CLASS programme is at the leading edge of the drinks industry – aside from hosting the competition it offers support and training to bar staff, and invests in research which will underpin how the trade evolves in the future.