Last night, in Los Angeles, Jason Patz and Allison Widdecombe, both of whom are behind the stick at Williams & Graham, emerged as finalists in World Class 2014, the esteemed United States Bartending Guild cocktail competition that's sponsored by Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits, including Johnnie Walker, Baileys and Smirnoff.
A total of 76 bartenders from across the country competed in the five-region competition, which was judged on accuracy, speed, service and execution. And Widdecombe and Patz, the two of whom competed against thirteen other semi-finalists from the Southwest region, will head to the World Class National Finals in New York, along with eighteen other finalists, on June 3 and 4.
The battle, touted by many as the world's most prestigious bartending competition, got its start in 2010 and requires competing bartenders to complete personal essays, submit an original cocktail recipe and create a video that showcases their personality, along with a detailed description of why they're committed to the craft of bartending. In addition, participants must complete spirits and service coursework outlined in the World Class training modules -- and score 80 percent or higher on each test.
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The winner of the New York showdown will be named U.S. Bartender of the Year and advance to the Global Final later this summer in London.