Angeliqua Rivera has been crowned as the Kenyan Bartender of the year, at the Diageo Kenya World Class Competition 2019. Now in its fifth year in Kenya, the World Class Bartender of the Year competition seeks to upskill bartenders and mixologists through a rigorous training regimen after which they compete for the right to represent Kenya in the international competition.

Angeliqua will represent Kenya in the international competition that will take place in Glasgow Scotland in September 2019. The competition, which started in May, saw 42 of the best bartenders in Kenya go through an educational masterclass dubbed the World Class Studios 2019.

World Class challenges bartenders across the nation to submit their cocktail creations using spirits from the Diageo’s reserve portfolio; Johnnie Walker, Cîroc, Ketel One Vodka, Tanqueray No. TEN, Zacapa, Bulleit Bourbon, Don Julio, and a collection of single malts.

“We have trained over 5,000 bartenders across the country over the last five years with 210 of them getting the opportunity to compete for the World Class Bartender of the year title. The competition is the ultimate opportunity to enhance skills and profile them on the global stage.” Said Diageo East Africa National Advocacy Manager Douglas Duncanson.

“Last year’s winner got an opportunity to be a lead bartender in a cruise ship and has continued to showcase an impressive degree of creativity and innovation in the industry,” he added.

Finalists were encouraged to exhibit innovation and expertise as they battled it out to become the nation’s best bartender and represent Kenya in the global finals.

“Angeliqua truly stood out as the best of the best, able to master the Diageo Reserve luxury portfolio to create ground-breaking results,” said Diageo East Africa Reserve Brand Ambassador Alex Kavita.

Angeliqua who works at the Dusit D2 created a signature cocktail dubbed Fallen heros in honour of her colleagues who lost their lives on the 15th of January during a terror attack on 14 Riverside.

“It has been tough for us having gone through what we went through but through hard work, determination and the support of my colleagues I was able to pull through this competition” said Angeliqua “I would encourage the youth especially girls not to shy away from bartending; it is a real career and reliable source of income, I would be willing to mentor any girl who wants to take up the art of bartending”

Each module within the World Class Studios gains its inspiration from a spirit in the Diageo Reserve portfolio. The finalists went through four studio masterclass sessions: The Single Ingredient with Ketel One, Finishing moves with Bulleit Bourbon, Tech Tonics with Tanqueray 10 and the Science of Smoke with Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Single Ingredient with Ketel One

Recognising that today’s consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the brands they choose, one of the challenges the finalists faced was to re-think the classic Ketel One cocktail recipes with sustainability in mind. During the Single Ingredient training session, the finalists were challenged to create zero-waste cocktails and rethink how they choose their ingredients in order to save the environment.

Finishing Moves with Bulleit Bourbon

The finishing moves session involved exploring the science behind different techniques and ingredients that influence taste, texture and temperature in both classic and contemporary creations, by pushing the frontiers of flavour past that of just the ingredients themselves.

Tech Tonics with Tanqueray No. Ten

This challenge called on the finalists to create a one-of—a-kind Highball from simple ingredients; from botanicals, sweeteners, acids and salts. The main thing is it must be added to Tanqueray No. TEN and soda to produce a unique cocktail.

Science of Smoke with Jonnie Walker Black Label

The Science of Smoke challenge involved creating a unique, single serve that tells the story of their bar or geographical location, incorporating a pre-smoked ingredient into the glass.