WORLD CLASS 2014 Global Winner- Charles Joly – USA

Charles Joly_USA

Charles Joly from USA serves up a week of magnificent mixes to be named the World’s Best Bartender

Charles Joly beats 47 peers to be crowned the Diageo Reserve World Class™ Bartender of the Year 2014

FRIDAY 1 AUGUST 2014, LONDON: After a week of fierce competition, incredible craftsmanship, unrivalled creativity and exceptional cocktails, Charles Joly from The Aviary in Chicago, USA, beat 47 of the best mixologists from around the globe to be crowned the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ Bartender of the Year 2014.

Charles mesmerised the judges from the very first cocktail but it was his unique and show-stopping signature serve that will help cement his name in cocktail history. His signature cocktail Above the Clouds, crafted for the final Punch and Glass challenge, blew the judges away. Throughout the week Charles consistently proved his winning credentials to the esteemed panel of judges that included legends and luminaries of the cocktail scene such as Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Julie Reiner, Steve Olsen and Gaz Regan.

“Wow, I just feel totally overawed by this. I know it sounds like a cliché but to be announced as theDIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ BARTENDER OF THE YEAR 2014 is like a dream – I half expect to wake up at any moment. The other finalists really are the best bartenders in the world today so for the judges to pick me as the winner is incredible” said Joly.

“This journey didn’t start today at the ceremony, this week at the finals, or even last year when I entered the heats – it started many years ago when I first started working in a local bar. The flavours, the smells, the sounds, the techniques, the history, the theatre – I realized I did not want to create just another drink. I make drinks with my heart and it makes me happy to see customers happy. The possibilities open to a bartender are limitless, not just in terms of your career but your creations – the only limit is your imagination.”

Matteo Fantacchiotti, Global Vice President Commercial, DIAGEO RESERVE, said: “Right from the beginning Charles’ passion, creativity and unrivalled mixology skills blew the judges away. His desire to create unique serves that combined sophisticated tastes with innovative modern twists never faltered at any stage of the competition. It’s a real honor to have Charles as our 2014 Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS™ ambassador, and I look forward to working with him in the future. Together we hope to inspire a new generation of mixology talent across the world, helping raise the profile of bartenders to where chefs are today.”

Charles Joly becomes the sixth bartender to be awarded the revered WORLD CLASS™ Bartender of The Year title, following in the footsteps of mixologists giants who have gone on to influence cocktail culture around the world, including David Rios, Tim Philips, Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristotelis Papadopoulos.

The 48 bartenders that reached the WORLD CLASS™ Global Final 2014 had already demonstrated unwavering commitment to their craft after conquering a year-long journey of qualifiers, earning them the right to represent their country and compete against the best bartenders in the world in the industry’s most prestigious and respected mixology competition.

Charles Joly will now become a global ambassador for Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS™, a role which will see him travel the world, educating and inspiring new talent whilst developing his own skills and knowledge through the different tastes and techniques they experiences along the way.

The 2014 WORLD CLASS™ Finals consisted of a series of innovative challenges staged around Great Britain, starting in Gleneagles, Scotland, before travelling via the iconic Orient Express to London. Discovery was at the heart of the competition, a theme brought to life by the series of innovative challenges that immersed the 48 finalists in Great British culture and inspired them to create premium serves, using the world’s finest spirits, that told stories of places, people and the local history of this year’s host nation – the birthplace of WORLD CLASS™ over six year ago.

This year, for the first time ever, consumers were also invited to participate in the WORLD CLASS™ Global Final and discover a world of fine drinking culture at the WORLD CLASS™ House. Set over five floors of a beautiful townhouse, this exclusive pop-up experience was created to coincide with Finals week, providing hands-on mixology masterclasses run by world-renowned bartenders, unique cocktails and food tasting sessions that made the WORLD CLASS™ House, the spiritual home of fine drinking experiences this summer.

In 2015, the WORLD CLASS Global Final will travel to Africa for the first time, and take place in 2014’s World Design Capital; Cape Town. This iconic city was voted the World’s Top Travel Destination by The New York Times, and boasts an abundance of natural beauty and cultural diversity. With a vibrant and cosmopolitan mixology culture, as well as thriving creative sectors, Cape Town is set to provide all the inspiration the contenders will need to thrive in 2015’s Global Final.


World Class 2014 Burst 1has kicked off!

World Class 2014 has kicked off and I was heading up the launch in Italy of Burst 1 of World Class Training and outlining below what took place during a couple of great sessions in Rome and Sicily.

So here we are with the exciting new burst 1 of World Class Training, showcasing some amazing content for you to get inspiration from.

We’ve been in the beautiful city of Catania in Sicily followed by Rome ‘the Eternal City’.

After Federico Berlingieri opened the day by explaining terms and conditions – as well as the important deadlines for the competition, our great Franco Gasparri and Fabrizio Fischione started the session with a fantastic journey into our Reserve Portfolio, focusing on Ketel One Vodka, Zacapa and the Johnnie Walker Super Deluxe Range that includes Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Platinum and the prestigious Blue Label.

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Then it was time to explain the two exciting Challenges of this first burst:

• Mediterranean Mastery, where Ketel One brings to life the concept of a ritual and Zacapa introduces us to the fantastic world of food pairing, both taking inspiration from the influence of the Mediterranean on the food and drink culture during the 1950s and 60s.

• The Flavour Challenge, which is an intriguing way to incorporate the fantastic world of Johnnie Walker into mixology.

I followed these first two sessions with a demonstration, helping the bartenders to better understand the concepts behind the Challenges.

Then we talked through the importance of a drinking ritual, how to apply it to Bartending and to World Class, followed by a fantastic Ketel One ‘Dali’s Moustache’ Cocktail using the beautiful new ‘Copper Kettles’ to bring some emotions, elements, ingredients and icons that would relate to the Mediterranean Mastery Challenge.


It was then time for The Flavour Challenge with a Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve ‘Sailing to Sicily’ Cocktail. This was to recreate the legendary journey of the Walkers who exported it worldwide, making the captains of ships the true ambassadors of their brand.

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This cocktail is simple but intriguing, with the creaminess and honeyed notes of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve fitting harmoniously with Pedro Ximenez sherry, all perfectly balanced by the elegance of pear liqueur to create a refined after-dinner drink with a surprisingly delicate finish. It managed to showcase the real character of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve whisky.

The drink is then served with an old sailing ship and a world map customised with the Johnnie Walker logo and the name of the cocktail in order for guests to experience not only the atmosphere of the journey undertaken from the Walkers, but an amazing journey of discovery of exciting new flavours!

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trio telefono

After the Brands and Challenges sessions in Rome, our Southern Italy winner from last year Daniele Gentili talked about his experience at the European Final in Madrid, and took Bartenders through the steps needed to prepare for a competition like World Class. He captivated the audience with his charm and knowledge, giving a tour behind the scenes of the World Class competition.

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Daniele ok

They were two really exciting sessions and the interest that we generated and the motivation we felt at the end was outstanding in the two different cities.

Stay tuned for the next posts!
Celebrate life every day, everywhere
Max La Rocca

Diageo World Class Global Final 2013 – Azamara Cruise – David Rios (Spain) Winner!!

Aboard the boutique Azamara Club Cruise’s ship, Azamara Journey, contestants from 44 countries participated with finalists to showcase their creations in front of some of the most revered names in the industry – Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, Hidetsugu Ueno, Arturo Savage, Steve Olson and Aristotelis Papadopoulos.


Congratulations to Mr David Rios from Jigger Cocktail & Disco Bar in Spain that has claimed the prestigious title of Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2013!!!!

After a 12-month search for a star, the victory was announced at a glittering ceremony in Barcelona’s iconic bullring. It marked the end of a landmark week, with intense competition, spectacular events amidst the gathering of the industry’s elite, along with international celebrities and global figures in the world of bartending.

Diageo Reserve World Class Global Ambassador Spike Marchant commented: “David Rios stood above the rest of the 43 finalists. His cocktails and appreciation of flavour were consistently outstanding, his technical precision was jaw dropping, and he maintained his composure under extreme pressure.”

Winning the title of Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year will set David on a life-changing journey, championing the art and craft of the bartender.”

( Edited from the source: TheReserveClub)

Red Carpet – Gareth Evans, Great Britain
Mediterranean Mastery – Zachary de Git, Singapore
Time to Play – Kirill Runkov, Russia
St Tropez Market Challenge – Laura Schacht, Switzerland
Kings of Flavour – Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Japan
Punch & Glass – David Rios, Spain
Tapas Table – Jason Clark, New Zealand and Luke Ashton, Australia
Cocktails Against the Clock – Jeff Bell, USA

Europe – David Rios (Spain)
Asia Pacific – Tsuyoshi Miyazaki (Japan)
Latin America & the Caribbean – Mario Seijo (Puerto Rico)
Northern America & Rest of the World – Jeff Bell (USA)

A personal wish for a great professional and a sincere and humble person:

May your new journey be full of passion, love, excitement, personal growth and motivation while maintaining your roots, your principles and remaining authentic and unique, that’s to say, the David we all know…here and now”

This is a great beginning, NOT a destination..
From a Bartender to a (great) Bartender
Max La Rocca


Diageo World Class Western Europe Final 2013 – Madrid

Congratulations to all the contestant for being part of this amazing journey and to the 13 souls who will make their country even more proud at the Global Final.


It was an honour organising such a great event for you all!

The entire competition and celebrations took place in the modern and luxury Teatro Goya in the central part of Madrid.

This is the second edition of the Western European World Class Competition and Madrid has been chosen, being a vibrant, artistic, modern wonderfully cosmopolitan city with an extraordinary reputation for gastronomy and drinking culture from historical bars like ‘Museo Chicote’ which opened in 1931 to the ultra-modern ‘Le Cabrera’ and ‘O-Clock’.

After two days of shaking, mixing, performing and celebrating Diageo’s Reserve spirits by 26 of Europe’s finest bartenders, the winners heading their way to the Global Final of World Class are:

Bert Jachmann, Austria

Carl Van Droogenbroeck, Belgium

Hasse Johansen, Denmark

Jérôme Kaftandjian, France

Atalay Aktas, Germany

Gareth Evans, Great Britain (also Cannes Red Carpet Challenge Winner)

Thodoris Pirillos, Greece

Mattia Pastori, Italy

Ivar de Lange, Netherlands (also Retro Chic Speed Challenge Winner)

Monica Berg, Norway (also Bartender/Barchef Challenge Winner)

David Rios, Spain

Emil Areng, Sweden

Laura Schacht, Switzerland

Click here to get a feeling through some amazing “MOMENTS” shared on Facebook’s World Class page

Below, a nice Video on Spanish Television for you to enjoy

A huge, honest, friendly, professional, human, passionate THANK YOU to Spike Marchant, Malin Möllerberg, Stephanie Jordan, Jorge Pineda & the Spanish Diageo Reserve Team and my biggest respect to the winners of last year’s Western Europe World Class who supported me, working hard behind the Event Bars and Guest Bartending in Madrid, all of us together to make this Final an unforgettable Event!!!!

Below, a nice footage of the competition

In no particular order Olivier Jacobs, Alexis Taoufiq, Jesper Høst, Rikard Enell, Giuseppe Santamaria, Fjalar Goud, Andy Mil, Kasper Riewe Henriksen, Vasilis Kyritsis, Dennis Zoppi and Armando Archundia.




Photos by Nils Krüger (Berlin), William Dodoo (Frankfurt) and Max La Rocca

11/12/13 – 25/26 February 2013

Here we are with new World Class Training stories for the 2nd Burst of the Competition, this time we have been in the following Cities:

Kufstein (Austria) , StuggartFrankfurtBerlin and Hamburg

In every sessions, we started with an exciting visits to the different Craftsmen, a great source of inspiration for all the participants to get ideas that could be adapted to their day-by-day job behind the Bar.


(Riedel Glass Manufactory in Kufstein )

(Presentation of the craftsmanship behind the creation of a Martini Trolley in Stuggart and Frankfurt)

(Presentation of the craftsmanship behind custom shoe-making in Berlin)

(Presentation of the craftsmanship behind Design in Hamburg)

Then, followed by a great opening by Patrick Tessendorf from Haeberlein & Mauerer Agency (who supported us brilliantly throughout the Road Trip!!) introducing the agenda of the event, and myself as the speaker/Mixologist/Judge of the whole Road trip.

I started going through the reasons why we choose “The Art of the Craft” topic explaining the relation between the incredible work of the Craftsman and our profession, the things we share and have in common, that as you can immagine are endlesss.

Then an introduction to RETRO CHIC and the different features why this is the main Trend behind World Class 2013

followed by a reminder of the past 3 challenges of the 1st Burst:

-Hollywood Cocktails

– Bartender/Barchef

– Where Flavour is King


After that, I started with the next 3 challenges for the 2nd Burst:

1)Vintage with a Contemporary Twist

After talking about the “Queen” of this Challlenge being Ketel One Vodka, the perfect example of Modern Craft (that’s where the name of our Road Trip came from), I went through the importance of a drinking Ritual and how to apply to our Bar and to the Competition, followed by a Fantastic “Dali’s Moustache Punch” using the beautiful new “Copper Kettles” it’s matching glasses and to bring some emotions, elements and ingredients from my latest experience as a Bartender in Spanish Land.

now let’s rub the magic lamp and…make three wishes

2)City Glamour

Now the objective has been to inspire the Bartenders through the glamour and sophisitcation of their own City/Country and combine them to the modern luxury by using Don Julio Tequila and Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge.

To put this into practice I prepared for our Bartenders a drink called “Where is the Turkey?? to showacse the citrusy, peppery notes of Don Julio Blanco that with its grassy finish combined perfectly with an herb like rosemary and a little funny story behind it, to explain the importance of always having a story for our customers and our judges in the competition.

Then I showed some visual examples on how to use Grand Marnier to get resonance to the related challenge.

3)Whisky is

I love this challenge and I could see how the Bartenders were also excited about using Single Malts into Mixology, no more just “Neat or over Ice,Sir?” but an intriguing product that is becoming more and more used in cocktails by contemporary Bartenders due to it’s amazing characteristics.

We went back to the practice of distillation, formerly used for medicinal purposes and so I created a “Doctor’s Nightcap” using the unique flavours of Talisker 10 yo, mentioning the “Ritual of a Nightcap”, the distilling of Aqua Vitae, saying Gaelic proverbs and playing “Amélie” Movie Theme as nightcap song from an old Carillon…really Magic!!

After Patrick went through the Terms Regulations and Deadlines to apply for World Class in Austria/Germany, I started my “World Class Experience Presentation” where I took the partecipants through a fantastic journey “behind the scenes” of my personal experience  as a Bartender in the Competition and talking about the stages I went through, to get to the Global Final.

Then we had a genuine interaction with the attendants to spot who already was making their own liquor infusion, Barrel Aged Libations, Home-made Bitters, tinctures and liqueurs…it was the right time for a big surprise for our beloved Bartenders!!

“SHOW YOUR SPIRIT” a fantastic program never organized by a liquor company, that would give them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to co-create a Spirit or Liqueur that could be listed in the Best Bars in Western Europe, people was so excited and I could see their eyes already rolling searching for ideas/inspiration, this is the right approach!!

Following last year approach suggested to me by the German Team, we decided to interact with the Bartenders organizing a Market challenge “with a  friendly approach” and no pressure, just to see how they would react to the information they gathered thrughout  the day, how creative and inspired they were, and judging them in order to provide an important feedback on their performances that could further enrich their learning experience and go back to work with a new attitude and approach towards the craft.

Challenge in Kufstein



Our guys in Berlin putting into practice the little Tips and Tricks in my presentation on “Dealing with the Judges

..and in Hamburg for the first time ever, I saw muddling French Fries and come up with a very unexpected Ketel One drink…to take away..

It was an intense Road Trip as you could see from the schedule, but I’m 100% sure that the interest we generated about all this amazing activities and the motivation was huge, listening to the feedback of all the attendants in the different cities.

But the most important motivation was the FUN we had together while doing serious things and the fact that at the end of every event we asked every contestant the “1 KEY THING” they would take away from the Workshop and REALLY apply to every day-to-day behind the bar.























Thanks for giving me this amazing chance!


Celebrate life every day, everywhere

Max La Rocca




Here we are with a new amazing World Class Training of 2nd Burst in Bologna a fantastic City with a lot of History, Art and Style, also a bit “Retro Chic” I would say!

After Alessio Dantino opened the day by explaining terms, conditions and deadlines of the competition, our great Franco Gasparri started the session with a fantastic journey inside the 3 Challenges of this 2nd Burst:

Vintage with a Contemporary Twist where the undisputed Queen is our 100% wheat Ketel One Vodka

City Glamour that sees the uniqueness of Brands like Don Julio Tequila and Grand Marnier

Whisky is.. an intriguing way to bring to life the fantastic universe of Single Malts into Mixology

After this first part, I followed with a practice session, helping the Bartenders to better understand the concepts behind the challenges.

Then, it was the right time to pick our Bartenders’ brain talking about our brand new Program Called “SHOW YOUR SPIRIT” having been given the opportunity and the pleasure to come up with this intriguing name, taking inspiration from my Blog

..and when we asked:

“How about a once in a lifetime chance to co-create a Spirit or Liqueur that could be listed in the Best Bars in Western Europe?”

Everybody was speechless at the beginning..

..but after a while we started a fantastic Q&A session, having had the pleasure to present with Ravi Jakhodia from the Diageo Innovation Team, the “behind the scene” of this amazing program.

The entry form has gone live from the 18th February and it will close on the 18th March so WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You can get an idea on how to enter your infos, by checking the example form that with a bit of imagination I invented for you, showcasing a brand new liquid called “THE WHITE TIGER” and explaining the inspiration behind it, the perfect serve, a food pairing (that is NOT essential, I just put it as a reference) and other inspiring ideas  that will help you to understand the sort of content we are expecting in your submission.


Celebrate life every day, everywhere

Max La Rocca