Did you know that bartenders have an worldwide competition every year to determine the world’s best bartender? Well, they do, and this year, the World’s Best Bartender title went to Canada’s own Kaitlyn Stewart. The Vancouver native is the second woman to win the competition and the first Canadian to score the title.
The World Class Competition started in January with 57 participating countries and 10,000 bartenders worldwide. From there, 55 participants went on to the finals in Mexico City in August for four days of cocktail-inventing and bottle-slinging. Stewart won on the last day against finalists from Australia, Denmark and Turkey. Now she gets to travel the globe as a World Class ambassador and judge other competitions.
The organization is all about encouraging people to drink better. Their challenges test basic skills and knowledge of the classics, but also push bartenders to create eco-friendly drinks and translate complex recipes so everyone can drink well at home. The bartenders also had to be real performers and engage their clients/judges while they made cocktails. No word on if they also had to listen to the judges’ life problems and give advice.
Stewart showed CTV the two cocktails that won her that Best Bartender title. One, called Diced Pineapples, claimed the sustainability challenge, and the other is a riff off a Tom Collins, called a Tom Cat.
For the Diced Pineapples drink, the challenge was to make something eco-friendly, so Stewart created a drink that used up every part of the pineapple. The cocktail takes pineapple juice, pineapple pulp and even the skin. And then, of course, the booze — Tanqueray 10 gin and Milky Sake. The restaurant where she works at, Royal Dinette, added the drink to their menu and will even be planting the tops of the used pineapples to grow new ones, so the drink produces zero waste.
Her Tom Cat is made with gin, bitter Italian aperitif, milk liqueur (made in-house with CIROC vodka), fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and topped with soda water.