MATT Arnold of Passing Fancies in Birmingham was crowned World Class GB Bartender of the Year in Edinburgh this week after a gruelling two-day contest.
The GB leg of the world’s biggest bartending competition attracted more than 500 entrants from across the UK and culminated in two challenges at Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Princes Street venue in Edinburgh.
The first challenged the ten finalists to create a serve with Diageo brand Singleton, which was to be paired with a dish created by chef Mark Moriarty.
The judging panel included Scottish mixologist and bar owner Iain McPherson, owner of Panda & Sons, Hoot the Redeemer and Nauticus as well as World Class brand ambassador Jo Last.
The second challenge saw the finalists split into pairs and tasked with creating a Highball or Old Fashioned, preparing and presenting the drink in front of a panel of 44 judges that included SLTN editor Gordon Davidson and assistant editor Dave Hunter.
Matt’s Singleton cocktail, The Happy Accident, combined Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old whisky with plum whey and Aztec sweet herb. Created with teammate Emanuele Mensah, his Hauf & Hauf Highball mixed Johnnie Walker Black Label with butternut squash, soda and Champagne.
Matt will now progress to the global final of the competition, to be held in São Paulo in September.
He said: “It’s surreal the fact that I’ve won! Being part of World Class GB has been an amazing experience and I just feel so grateful to be a part of it. I was surrounded by incredible competitors, who I cannot wait to represent in the global finals. A massive thanks to the team that help make World Class the incredible competition it is, and last but not least Lele, Eve and Tommy who I could not have done this without.
“São Paulo here we come!”
Last said Matt “has consistently created delicious drinks throughout the competition and is a World Class winner on and off the stage”.
“We look forward to coaching him through the global finals, and I hope all of GB will join us in supporting him however they can in the lead up and when he competes in São Paulo!”