Categories
Awards Press Releases Whiskey

Whiskeys from Buffalo Trace Distillery Named Best in the World

Awards should always be taken with a grain of salt. Is the film that wins the Academy Award really the best picture of the year? Was Shakespeare in Love really better than Saving Private Ryan?

Although the most prestigious awards do lend some measure of objective credibility to the winners, ultimately it's still a subjective process. This is especially true when the decision makers (aka "the voters") are limited in number. And when the decider is just one person…Well, you'd better hope that his preferences are the same as yours.

That being said, awards can still be interesting and informative. Awards give us something to think, talk, and argue about. They can give us inspiration to seek out the winners, even if it's only to see if we agree or not. Awards give us a starting point to begin our investigation and discussion.

Just because something wins an award that doesn't mean it's the best. But if it's a reputable award, it does give us some indication that the subject in question is worthy of merit.

So, without further ado, the envelope, please!

Thomas handy ryeBuffalo Trace Distillery has made history in the whiskey industry with not one, but two Whiskey of the Year Awards from esteemed whiskey reviewer Jim Murray. In the newly published 2013 Jim Murray’s Whiskey Biblethe Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye was named “2013 World Whiskey of the Year” and the William Larue Weller was named “Second Finest Whiskey in the World.”

The coveted number one and two spots were the result of Jim Murray tasting over 4,500 whiskies, in route to publishing his annual Whisky Bible.  It is the first time in the book’s ten year history that both the number one and two whiskies in the world have come from the United States, much less the same distillery. 

About the Thomas H. Handy, Murray says, “This is enormous….Once off the ground it just doesn’t stop traveling. Superb!”  A 97.5 (out of 100) rating. 

The praise doesn’t stop there; for the second place William Larue Weller, Murray says, “WOW! This is becoming a must experience whiskey for hardcore bourbon lovers. Well, whisk(e)y lovers period, really!  Majestic!  Or, as it’s American, perhaps I should say: Presidential.”  Also a 97.5 (out of 100) rating.

In regards to deciding between the first and second place, with both whiskies earning the same score, Murray says, “This was a very tough call to make on which of the two deserved top billing. Although from the same distillery they are very different animals. The enormity of the Weller was so apparent…I knew from the very first taste that it stood every chance of being World Whisky of the Year.

“But it was eclipsed by the Thomas Handy Rye, even though they both scored the same number of points. The Rye edged it, by the smallest of fractions, simply because of its extraordinary life and balance on the palate and its uncanny ability to just keep working on full alert for the longest imaginable time. It took a couple of days to decide between the two, but the Handy could not be denied.”

In addition to the number one and number two finest whiskies in the world, Buffalo Trace Distillery also earned an astounding 35 additional awards from Jim Murray, including Bourbon of the Year for its William Larue Weller; Rye of the Year for its Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye; Rye 11 Years or Older for its Sazerac 18 Years Old, and a host of Liquid Gold Awards, which are given only to those whiskies which score a “94” or higher, which is considered, “superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live,” according to Jim Murray. 

Amongst those whiskies from Buffalo Trace Distillery that received Liquid Gold Awards were George T. Stagg; Buffalo Trace Bourbon; Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Years Old; Old Weller Antique 107 and Single Oak Project Barrels 63, 14, 132, 33, 61, 164, 191, 81 and 167.  

“We were blown away when we heard the results from Jim,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, “To have one ‘Best Whiskey in the World’ is wonderful.  To have the number one and the number two spots is just amazing; we’re very proud of our team here at Buffalo Trace.”

The 2013 Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible can be purchased at the Buffalo Trace Distillery gift shop, among other places, or online at www.whiskybible.com.

Categories
Gifts Press Releases

What I Want for Christmas: The Ultimate Tailgate Trailer

 

It's getting to be that time of year again. The time when everyone starts to wonder: what should I get the professor for Christmas? You're in luck — I have an answer!

Ripped from the pages of the 2012 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, and costing a mere $150,000, is the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody-Tailgate Trailer.

Bringing tailgating to a whole new level, the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody-Tailgate Trailer includes the following:

  • Sleek leather furnishings and details from Moore & Giles
  • Rich wood finishings from reclaimed Bulleit Bourbon casks
  • Elegant glassware
  • Flat-screen TV, Blu-ray Disc player and a state-of-the-art sound system
  • One-year supply of Bulleit Bourbon and Rye

Bulleit_Woody_Trailer7

I deserve it, right?

Categories
Press Releases Whiskey

Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey

I haven't tasted any of the E. H. Taylor bourbons, but this one sounds especially good. I'm going to have to see if I can find a bottle.

Colonel taylor bourbonBuffalo Trace Distillery pays homage to former Distillery owner E. H. Taylor, Jr. with a small batch, Bottled-In-Bond, 100 proof bourbon whiskey aged in Taylor’s warehouse.

Taylor built his iconic brick warehouse for barrel aging in 1881 and the Warehouse is still in use today. After seven years on the sixth floor, his namesake bourbon whiskey tastes of caramel corn sweetness, mingled with butterscotch and licorice. The aftertaste is a soft mouth-feel that turns into subtle spices of pepper and tobacco.

The Small Batch Bourbon is the sixth and latest release in the line of the E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection of whiskeys, rounding out the collection of Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon, Barrel Proof Bourbon and Straight Rye Whiskey.  The Taylor collection was first released in early 2011.  Like the previous five releases, this whiskey will have very limited availability and will be packaged in a vintage label and canister reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles over one hundred years ago.

“We’ve had a tremendous response to our E. H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys,” said Kris Comstock, Bourbon marketing director. “We’re honored to pay tribute to a pioneer and legend like Taylor.”

Edmund Haynes Taylor is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, fighting for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, nearly three decades after he purchased the distillery that is known today as the Buffalo Trace Distillery. During his time, Taylor implemented several innovative methods still used today by Buffalo Trace, such as climate controlled aging warehouses. In addition to his bourbon interests, Taylor had political ties. He was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor and elected the mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate.

The inaugural bottling of Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey will be available in November.  The suggested retail price is $39.99 per 750ml bottle.

Categories
Press Releases Whiskey

Van Winkle Bourbon Available Soon

This is great news for bourbon fans — the Van Winkles are back! Sadly, these are going to be very hard to find. (And if you do find any, it's going to be more expensive than the prices quoted below.) But there's a reason these are the most-hyped bourbons in the world. Whether or not they're worth the effort is something only you can decide. They are almost universally accalimed, though.

Van_winkleFinally, the wait is nearly over! Van Winkle bourbons will be back on shelves in late October.  The popularity of Van Winkle whiskeys remains unmatched, but still in short supply. Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs.  “When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share.  Many barrels often yield less than 20 gallons, out of the original 53 gallons produced,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “However, our patience creates bourbon with unrivalled flavor.”

Although Van Winkle bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, less is sent overseas than ever to allow more of this coveted bourbon to remain in the United States.  “Because demand has escalated so much here, we’ve decided to scale back exports to help supply our American fan base,” continued Van Winkle.

Furthermore, there will be more Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Bourbon at 107 proof. “We prefer the taste of our 10 year old bourbon at 107 proof. The rich flavor is compounded by the high proof,” added Van Winkle. “We’ll no longer bottle our 10 year old whiskey at 90 proof. Therefore, there will be more 107 proof available. For those who will miss the 90 proof Old Rip, we suggest adding a little more water to their glass. As Pappy used to say, ‘why ship all that water across the country!’”

The Van Winkle collection consists of several expressions. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

  • $39.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
  • $54.99 – Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
  • $69.99 – Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old
  • $79.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
  • $129.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
  • $249.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a bevy of awards through the years, including 2010 “Spirit of the Year” from Wine and Spirits Magazine for Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old; “Best of Show” and “Best Whiskey” at the 2010 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition; Gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; Best of Category, Small Batch Bourbon 11 Years or Older, 2012 Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition; and 2012 Chairman’s Trophy Finalist: Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available near the end of October, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case, rather than traditional 12 bottle cases.

Categories
Press Releases Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases 2012 Antique Collection

These bourbons receive almost universal acclaim each year. I haven't yet tried any, but I hope to change that soon.

At long last, Buffalo Trace Distillery
is releasing its 2012 Antique Collection in September. The much
anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release
whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what ardent
fans can expect:

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Gold Medal at
the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2012 edition
was distilled in the spring of 1993 and has been aging on the 2nd,
3rd and 6th floors of Warehouses I and K.  After
nearly two decades of aging under its belt, it has been described as
dry and delicate, with hints of leather, almonds and tobacco.

George T. Stagg

The 2011 release of this perennial favorite was named the “Number
One Spirit in the World” by F. Paul Pacult in the 2012 Spirit
Journal 
for the second year in a row, as well as the
“Second Finest Whiskey in the World” in Jim Murray’s
Whisky Bible
.  The 2012 George T. Stagg was found in
Warehouses H, I, K and L. This uncut, unfiltered bourbon was
distilled back in the spring of 1995 and weighs in at 142.8
proof—some strong stuff! This whiskey tastes of rich dark
chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year’s release won a double gold medal at the San Francisco
World Spirits Competition.  This 2012 rye whiskey release was
aged in Warehouses K and is described as intense spice with
underlying sweetness and dry finish.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye
whiskey. The 2011 edition was once again named “Rye Whiskey of the
Year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2006, aged on the
fifth floor of Warehouse O and weighs in at 132.4 proof. The flavor
has been described as cinnamon, dark fruit, allspice, lingering. 

William Larue Weller

William Larue Weller is the Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered,
wheated recipe bourbon. The previous edition was the recipient of a
double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 
The 2012 offering was distilled in the spring of 2000 and aged on the
second and fourth floors of Warehouses I and P. This William Larue
Weller release registers in at 130 proof.  It tastes of dark
vanilla, almond and plum. 

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has
become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these
whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications
as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal and Jim
Murray’s Whisky Bible
.

“Every year the excitement and anticipation of these whiskeys
grows,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “We’re excited
as well to finally be able to share them, and look forward to seeing
what critics and consumers alike think about them.” 

These Antique Collection whiskeys will
be available in limited quantities starting in late September. 
Suggested retail price is $70 each.

Antique_collection

Categories
Press Releases Rum

Plantation Rum Releases Its First White Rum

Great news from the rum blenders at Cognac Ferrand — they're making a new white rum.

Plantation_rumThe spirit masters at Cognac Ferrand, producers of the award-winning Plantation Rum portfolio, have their own special twist on rums: cherry picking the very best aged rums from around the Caribbean and Latin America and bringing them to Cognac to be refined for a second aging in their own Cognac barrels, a technique only performed by Ferrand.

Now, for the first time ever, Plantation Rum introduces its first white rum - Plantation 3 Stars, named in honor of the three rum-producing stars of the Caribbean from which Plantation 3 Stars is crafted: Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. Launching across the country beginning this September, Plantation 3 Stars (41.2% ABV) will retail for approximately $24.99 for a 1 liter bottle.

Almost every rum company offers a white rum. But Cognac Ferrand proprietor Alexandre Gabriel wanted to make one that stood out from the rest using aged and un-aged rums and the company’s exceptional Cognac blending skills.

Gabriel says “Most white rums on the market today are either too neutral and too vodka-like or too rough and rustic. We wanted a rum that shows character, elegance, complexity and a great finish – the ideal rum for cocktails. Blending is not a science, it’s an art because you are working with a product of nature. In Cognac, to become a great cellar master and blender it takes 20 years of practice and training. This is the know-how we bring to Plantation 3 Stars.”

For Plantation 3 Stars, Gabriel decided to use a 3-year aged Trinidad rum, carbon filtered to maintain its white color and to remove the heavier tannins while preserving the aromatics developed and refined by aging. Un-aged rums from Barbados and Jamaica are blended, along with a 12 year aged rum from Jamaica. The Jamaican rum is an expensive ingredient but key to the taste of the overall blend. Each rum in the blend brings its own characteristics.

Says Gabriel, “This is the beauty of blending. You can capture the best of each – Trinidad brings elegance and refinement, Barbados brings character and aromatics with fruit notes without being too heavy and Jamaican brings the funk, the touch that makes it a complete product.”

Tweaking the rum was a delicate process. In the end, Gabriel decided on an ABV of 41.2 percent. Says Gabriel, “I was dreaming about this rum and could mentally taste it before it was even made. We wanted character and personality, but didn’t want it to be too heavy because it our goal was to make a balanced and elegant rum exceptional for cocktails," said Gabriel. "We found the perfect balance for Plantation 3 Stars at 41.2% alcohol by volume."

The white rum category is a competitive market cornered by huge corporations. Gabriel notes, “We are a small artisanal spirit producer so from a marketing perspective this product makes no sense. But on the other hand, we felt that we had it in us to create a hell of a white rum and could not resist the creative urge. We really worked long and hard at it and the process was exciting for everyone at Ferrand. We hope Plantation 3 Stars makes people’s taste buds dance! After all, the work we do is for great pleasure – that’s what we’re all about.”

TASTING NOTES: Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

Keenly vibrant and well-balanced, Plantation 3 Stars displays the finesse and style of Trinidad and Barbados well integrated with the character and fuller flavors of Jamaica. On the nose it has delicate notes of tropical fruits intertwined with brown sugar and ripe banana. On the palate it displays subtle spices and floral notes with a finish of sugar cane and vanilla.

Categories
Press Releases Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Rye Recipe Whiskey

Exciting news about a promising new rye whiskey.

E. H. Taylor ryeStraight Rye Whiskey has experienced a strong resurgence in the American whiskey landscape, yet Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. was making this style over 100 years ago. The latest offering from Buffalo Trace Distillery pays tribute to the former Distillery owner with a small batch, Bottled-In-Bond, 100 proof, straight rye whiskey from days long past.

An altogether different recipe and profile than Sazerac Rye, this recipe contains just rye and malted barley, no corn.  The result is an aroma full of dried fruit, black pepper, and touch of fresh dill. A small sip brings an array of flavors both sweet and savory with a terrific balance of dark spices and subtle caramel overtones. The finish is especially pleasing with an oaky dryness that lingers just long enough.

The Straight Rye Whiskey is the fifth in the line of the E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection of whiskeys. It joins the Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon and Barrel Proof Bourbon that have all been released since early 2011.  Like the previous four releases, this whiskey will have very limited availability and will be packaged in a vintage label and canister reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles over one hundred years ago.

Taylor is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, fighting for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, nearly three decades after he purchased the distillery that is known today as the Buffalo Trace Distillery. During his time, Taylor implemented several innovative methods still used today by Buffalo Trace, such as climate controlled aging warehouses. In addition to his bourbon interests, Taylor had political ties. He was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor and elected the mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate.

The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Straight Rye Whiskey will be available in late August and will be released annually each year.  The suggested retail price is $69.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Categories
Awards Brandy Press Releases

Pierre Ferrand Cognac Wins Best New Product at Tales of the Cocktail

Congratulations to Pierre Ferrand Cognac, a brand that has been making a lot of noise in recent years.

Image010Cognac Ferrand is honored to announce that Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac® has won Best New Product at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail® Spirited Awards. Pierre Ferrand 1840 was launched last year at the same cocktail festival to great fanfare and has since become the darling and go-to Cognac for bartenders across the world. At a time when outstanding bartenders are creating cocktails in the same manner that master chefs create great dishes, this win for a Cognac heralds the resurgence of Cognac and Cognac cocktails and puts this versatile spirit back where it once was a mainstay – behind the bar!

Created by Cognac Ferrand owner Alexandre Gabriel with help from cocktail historian  David Wondrich to recapture the spirit of the quintessential cocktail days of the 1800s, Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840 Original Formula is a revival of the classic three-star Cognac. Back in the nineteenth century, when the art of the cocktail as we know it first came together, barkeepers knew that nothing made for a better mixed drink than a good “three-star” Cognac.  Pierre Ferrand 1840 is bottled at 90 proof, higher than most Cognacs, making it exceptionally mixable in cocktails like Crustas, Juleps and Punches.  For more info, cocktail recipes/images, click here.

Alexandre Gabriel says, “Winning this recognition from my peers is both hugely gratifying and humbling. We are a small producer in the middle of the Cognac vineyards. At Cognac Ferrand we are a team of passionate characters doing what we love to do – make great spirits. Cognac deserves to be back behind the bar in a place of honor where it enjoyed decades of prominence as THE spirit for cocktails. We created Pierre Ferrand 1840 to be that kind of Cognac and to receive this honor shows that we did the right thing. We are very happy.”

The Spirited Awards are the highlight of Tales of the Cocktail, the annual five-day cocktail festival in New Orleans created by Ann and Paul Tuennerman that this year celebrates its 10th Anniversary. Each July, Tales attracts more than 22,000 people who are passionate about all things spirits-related. This year, 17 illustrious international judges – including world-class bartenders, bar owners, brand ambassadors and spirits/cocktail historians, experts and authors – voted in the Best New Product category and deemed Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula the winner.  It is the first Cognac to win this prestigious award. For a list of judges, click here.

"Cognac has always been a well-respected spirit, but without a lot of visibility in modern cocktails,” says Ann Tuennerman, founder of Tales of the Cocktail. “Pierre Ferrand 1840, by winning Best New Product at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, has shown that Cognac is also able to get the respect of bartenders, with a product that has the rich and sophisticated flavor for sipping as well as the depth and complexity necessary to let it shine in a cocktail."

Upon receiving the award, Gabriel dedicated part of his acceptance speech to the bartenders of the world. “Our job is to build fine instruments but it’s for you to play them,” he said. “It’s for you to make the music.” 

Joaquin Simo, the 2012 Spirited Award winner for American Bartender of the Year, is one of the 1840 music makers, and says: “Cognac is a historically significant cocktail ingredient whose release from its imprisonment in a snifter is long overdue.  Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac fills an important niche for cocktail bartenders, providing us with a delicious and high-proof spirit designed for mixing in both classic cocktails and modern interpretations.  Fruity and floral notes provide a highly versatile base while the higher alcohol percentage boosts flavors and ensures the traditional character of Cognac remains front and center.  Its combination of high quality and mixable price point ensure it will be found on the back bars and speed rails of great bars around the world.” 

Mr. Simo was recently a bartender at acclaimed Death & Co. (2010 Spirited Award winner, Best American Bar) and will be owner/operator of Pouring Ribbons, a bar opening soon in NYC’s East Village where Pierre Ferrand 1840 will be available.

Categories
Awards Drink Recipes Press Releases

Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals

Marie Brizard makes some of my favorite liqueurs, and their cocktail competition at the recent Tales of the Cocktail featured some really interesting drinks. Here is the winner:

And the winner of the Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals is… 

Miami’s Robert Montero of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, with his winning cocktail, “Sunny Crusta!” Robert received a cash prize of $1,000 and a complimentary trip to represent the U.S. this November in the annual Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Competition in Bordeaux, France where he will be competing against top mixologists and bartenders from across the world who will all be preparing their original Marie Brizard cocktail to be sampled and judged by an expert panel.

The Runner-Up was James Menite of NYC’s Crown with, The “Made” Cocktail. James received a cash prize of $500.

The Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals consisted of 6 contestants judged on technique, appearance, aroma and taste battling for the coveted spot to represent the U.S. in the 30th annual Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Competition this November in Bordeaux, France.

Crusta

Sunny Crusta
Created by Robert Montero (Yardbird Southern Table & Bar)

1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
3/4 oz. Marie Brizard Blackberry
1 1/2 oz. Tequila Ocho Blanco
3/4 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz. Lime juice
1/4 oz. Agave Syrup

Shake ingredients together and strain into a sugar-rimmed wine glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel and 3 Filthy Black Cherries.

Congratulations to Robert!

Categories
Awards Mixology Press Releases

Richard Gomez Named First Ever World Class U.S. Ambassador

Congrats to Ricky Gomez, a bartender at Portland's Teardrop Lounge, for being named the first-ever USBG & World Class U.S. Ambassador.

Twenty mixologists, five Cocktail Luminaries, four challenges – all to determine who will journey to Rio de Janeiro to represent the United States in the world's largest international cocktail program.  After months of scouring the country and searching for America's top talent behind the bar, the United States Bartenders' Guild has named Richard Gomez the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador. Emerging from the nation's top cocktail talent, Ricky will travel toBrazil in July to compete at the World Class Global Final against 47 of his peers from around the globe.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity and I can't express how excited I am to be the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador," said Gomez. "My fellow participants are an amazing illustration of American mixology talent and I am truly honored that my skills were chosen to represent the U.S. in the international finals this summer."

This announcement of the Diageo World Class U.S. winner concludes a two-month, nationwide search for the top mixologists and bartenders led by the USBG. BeginningApril 4, 2012, cocktail craftsmen from across the country applied online for the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of cocktail culture. Following the close of entries, 20 finalists were chosen to travel to one of the cocktail capitals of the United States, New York City, to prove their skills.

On June 19, 2012, the finalists competed in four challenges judged by top Cocktail Luminaries including Jim Meehan, Tony Abou-Ganim, Julie Reiner, Steve Olson and USBG National President David Nepove. After months of preparation, Gomez emerged victorious and was named the ultimate honoree during a celebration ceremony at New York's IAC Center.

"We are extremely excited to extend Ricky Gomez the opportunity to become the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador," said Mark Schulte, Diageo's Senior Vice President of Customer Marketing. "We know that his supreme talent, cocktail knowledge and mixology skills will make the United States proud when representing our country at the international competition in Brazil. We are confident that he will personify American cocktail culture and enter the World Class league by celebrating with World Class responsibility."

The World Class Global Final is a landmark week in the spirits industry that sets the trends of mixology worldwide. While in Brazil, Gomez will spend five days participating in a series of challenges judged by some of the most renowned and respected in the industry and have the opportunity to earn the title of "Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year."

For additional information about the program and Ricky Gomez's journey to becoming the Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador, visit www.DiageoWorldClassUSA.com. Join the conversation by following @WorldClassUS on Twitter, use the hashtag #CocktailChallenge and visit https://www.facebook.com/DiageoWorldClassUS.

Ricky_gomez