A World Class Whirlwind

This June, for the tenth year running, the United States Bartenders’ Guild Presented World Class sponsored by Diageo. This event tests the skill and talent among the country’s top 15 regional mixologists. The national finalists (and many more onlookers) came together in Nashville to face off in four ambitious bartending challenges. 

HRN’s Greg Benson (host of Back Bar and The Speakeasy) made his way from Brooklyn to the heart of the competition. There were plenty of cocktails, hot chicken sandwiches, and fierce competition!

His first stop was to the Spirit of Don Julio Bar for a Nashville Gold Rush. 

Then he headed to Taste the City, where finalists had to create a cocktail inspired by one of Nashville’s iconic dishes. 

Greg was also sure to get his fill of the city’s famous hot chicken!

On Day 2, he witnessed The Showdown. The challenge: make 8 different cocktails in 8 minutes.

Greg’s biggest takeaway? There’s always more to learn! He says “I saw so much new stuff just popping into rooms today and observing and watching what people were doing. A great place to learn is [Diageo Bar Academy’s] E-Learning courses. They’re available 24 hours a day from your computer and they are always free!” 

Finally, the winner was announced! Jessi Pollak took home the honor and will be representing the U.S. at the World Class Global Finals taking place in Sydney, Australia this September. Greg interviewed her and you’ll be able to tune in to their conversation on Back Bar soon!

Thanks to Diageo Bar Academy for supporting World Class bartenders and HRN!