Santos Mercedes Enriquez of Celebrity Cruises has been crowned Diageo Global Travel's best bartender at a glitzy WORLD CLASS™ final held last night in the deluxe Diageo 396 Bar in Miami.
Judged by a panel of industry experts including Enrique de Colsa, Master Distiller for Tequila Don Julio; Spike Marchant, World Class Global Brand Ambassador; Erik Lorincz, World Class Bartender of the Year 2010; and Julio Cabrera, Managing Partner of The Regent Cocktail Club Miami, Santos triumphed with his creative flair and matchless mixology.
Santos, 38, from Peru, saw off competition from over 5,500 cruise line bartenders from three of the world's leading cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, in the biggest year in Global Travel yet for WORLD CLASS.
He and fellow competitors were put through their paces on different aspects of their craft, showmanship, creativity and bartending knowledge. Santos wowed the judges with his signature serve: 'Violetta Falernum' featuring TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin.
Santos will go on to represent Diageo Global Travel at the star-studded WORLD CLASS Global Grand Final in Cape Town on 28thAugust - 4th September 2015, to battle it out against 50 of the world's best bartenders for the coveted 'Bartender of the Year' title.
Santos Mercedes Enriquez, a senior bartender onboard Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Equinox , said: "I'm beyond excited and humbled to have won the Diageo Global Travel Final and the incredible opportunity to represent Celebrity Cruises and all cruise line bartenders at the grand final of the world's largest cocktail competition. This has been a life-changing experience so far, and I'm really looking forward to Cape Town."
Cornelius Gallagher, Associate Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, Celebrity Cruises, said: "We are very proud of Santos' win at last night's highly anticipated competition. This has been a display of the best of the best in bartending, and it is an honor to be included. As a star member of our team onboard Celebrity Equinox, Santos delights our guests and really represents the rich and popular modern luxury experiences our vacationers can enjoy when they sail with us. We wish him the best of luck in Cape Town and are confident that his dedication and skill will be eye-opening."
Thanks to the WORLD CLASS programme, cruise line bartenders have enhanced their skills in the art of creating exceptional drinks using award-winning spirits from the DIAGEO RESERVE collection. This partnership means that guests onboard will be experiencing more of the very best in the mixology business with a winning blend of the latest cocktail trends and the world's finest luxury spirits.
If Santos is successful at the Global Final, securing the title of DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year, he will experience new and truly exciting opportunities. Since winning last year's competition, Charles Joly has mixed at Jenson Button's wedding and the Grammy Awards.