Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises together with the Diageo Global Travel team, today revealed the names of the final four cruise line bartenders who have battled on the high seas to secure a place at the semi-final of one of the world’s largest luxury mixology competitions.
The final four, who have been victorious over 5,500 cruise line mixologists, will go head to head at the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Travel semi-final event. The cruise line winner will then go forward to compete at the star-studded Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year global final in London, competing against the best bartenders from around the globe for the coveted title of Bartender of the Year.
The four semi-finalists, who will face-off at the glitzy global travel semi-final in the deluxe Diageo Bar 396 in Miami, Florida on 12th June, are:
Princess Cruises: Carlos F Lintag Jr, 42, from The Philippines is Bar supervisor on the Pacific Princess. Carlos’ favourite drink is TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin and it features in his signature serve, the ‘ABCD: Amazing Bartender Cocktail Drink.’
Norwegian Cruise Line: O’Neil Anant James Pandit, 33, from India is Assistant Beverage Manager on the Norwegian Getaway. O’Neil has been selected as a semi-finalist for the second year in a row and will conjure up the ‘Botanical Wave,’ featuring TANQUERAY No.TEN Gin, as his signature cocktail.
Royal Caribbean International: Shekhar Grover, 27, from India is Lead Bartender on board the Oasis of the Seas. His inspiration to become a mixologist stems from a fascination with the mystery of how a carefully created concoction can transport consumers to a state of bliss. His signature serve is the ‘French Royale,’ featuring CÎROC® Vodka.
Celebrity Cruises: Agus Gandu Adyana, 27, from Bali is a Flaring Bartender aboard the Celebrity Century. He was inspired to get into mixology by his father, and mentor, and his signature creation is the ‘Don Spicy Mangorita,’ made with DON JULIO® Tequila.
Each of the semi-finalists has proved themselves among the best floating bartenders, winning a series of heats during completion of the Diageo Reserve World Class training program. This is the biggest year yet for the Global Travel leg of the competition, with 15 times the number of bartenders taking part (5,500) from four cruise lines than in 2013 when 400 took part from two cruise lines.
Mario Seijo, World Class Global Winner for Latin America & Caribbean 2013, travelled the high seas this year as he led the training program coaching onboard bartenders. He trained them in showmanship and the latest cocktail-making trends such as ‘Mediterranean Mastery,’ a theme inspired by the botanicals and culinary influences of the Mediterranean, and an exploration of ‘Gin and the Secrets of Distillation’ and the impact these have on resulting cocktail creations.
He said: "Diageo Reserve World Class is driving amazing innovations in the fine-drinking category. The program serves to elevate the craft of the cruise line bartender, unlocking great onboard experiences for passengers by investing in the industry and working with cruise line partners.
“In order to impress the judges, these semi-finalists will need to put everything they learned about cutting-edge trends and the flair they have developed, into creating show-stopping high-end cocktails, using some of the world’s leading portfolio of fine spirits - the Diageo Reserve Brands portfolio. I remember my World Class experience well and I wish the four competitors the best of luck in reaching the final.”
Mario will be joined by Enrique De Colsa, Master Distiller at Don Julio Tequila and Arturo Savage, one of Diageo’s Senior Reserve Ambassadors, to make up the panel of industry-leading judges who will put the semi-finalists through their paces.
If one of the cruise line bartenders is successful at the Global Final, becoming the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year, it will set them on a life changing journey. Previous winners of Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year have become recognized industry names, travelling the globe as World Class Ambassadors, participating in international high-profile events such as Petra Ecclestone’s lavish wedding and consulting on the James Bond film, Skyfall.