Edmonton man named Canada's Bartender of the Year

Mar 31 2021, 9:46 pm

The Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of the Year competition wrapped up on Tuesday night, and an Edmonton man was crowned the winner.

James Grant¬†of YEG’s Little Hong Kong has officially been named¬†Bartender of the Year 2021, beating out 10 other skilled mixologists from across the country.

Little Hong Kong is the cocktail bar at Baijiu, an Asian-inspired eatery in the heart of downtown Edmonton. It has one of the most extensive back bars in the city, with over 200 bottles.

After completing a series of regional challenges virtually from all over Canada, 11 talented bartenders were shortlisted to battle it out for the Bartender of the Year title.

The World Class Canada National Finals took place from March 28 to 30 in Toronto, where candidates were judged on their hosting techniques in addition to their bartending abilities.

Both Grant and the runner-up of the World Class Canada National Finals will attend an upcoming whisky experience on an educational trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, home of Johnnie Walker Princes Street.

The Edmonton bartender will go on to compete at the World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2021 competition in Madrid, Spain later this year.

“Winning World Class Canada Bartender of the Year is an honour to represent the Canadian bartending community and compete on the global stage,” said Grant in a Diageo media release.

“It’s been an incredible five-year journey and I can’t wait to showcase my passion and creativity at the Global Finals this summer.”

Contestants in the finals will create cocktails using luxury spirits such as Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky, Don Julio Tequila, Ketel One Vodka, and more.

Since 2009, over 325,000 bartenders across 60 countries have brought their passion, culture, flavour and personal stories to the world through the World Class program.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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