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31st May 2024

Meet the top 4 finalists competing in this year’s World Class Cocktail Competition

Sarah McKenna

Brought to you by Diageo. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly.

In just a few weeks, Ireland’s top mixologist will be crowned.

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or you just like to dabble in cocktail making from time to time, there’s a lot we can learn from the pros. If you’re looking to up your shaking technique or just get some new flavour profile ideas, then you can rest assured that there will be plenty of inspiration at this year’s World Class Cocktail Competition and Festival.

For the past six months, Diageo have been on the hunt for Ireland’s top mixologists, and after a tense semi-final, they’ve whittled the bunch down to four fabulous finalists. These competitors, who are at the top of their game, will face off in the Irish final at the World Class Cocktail Festival in Dublin from June 2-3.

On Day 1, which is a closed daytime affair, the bartenders will test their creativity, knowledge and passion across two challenges, which will be live-streamed on World Class’ Instagram page. The following day is a larger open event, with 100 guests. The judges will put the finalists’ mettle, speed and precision to the test with an intense pressure challenge. The evening will conclude with World Class’ Awards Party – a might celebration of the bartenders’ hard work, and our winner will be crowned.

The winner will then go on to represent Ireland at the world championships in Shanghai in September.

Throughout the weekend, our finalists will incorporate Diageo’s premium luxury spirits into their creations – Tanqueray, Roe & Co, Ketel One and Don Julio. Guests will also have ample opportunity to taste these spirits for themselves at the World Class Cocktail Festival.

So, who’s in the running to become Ireland’s top mixologist? You can meet our fierce competitors below.

Darren Geraghty

You may recognise Darren Geraghty from behind the bar at the swanky Dublin steakhouse Hawksmoor, or from his regular stint as a cocktail constultant on Ireland AM. Needless to say, he’s well used to a bit of pressure, and we can’t wait to see what he shakes up at the final.

Chihiro Nakamura

Chihiro Nakamura is the head bartender at Ré Nao, a traditional Chinese restaurant in Galway. With oodles of experience in the hospitality industry and a creative flair to his cocktail creations, Chihiro will certainly be one to watch at the final.

Akram Bendjeddou 

Akram Bendjeddou is the bartender at Paladar, a chic bar in Cork that is renowned for its Latin American-inspired cocktails. The bar has already won a heap of awards, including Bar of the Year in 2023, so unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of buzz around what Akram will bring to the finals.

Emily Doherty

The final competitor in this year’s lineup is Emily Doherty, the supervisor of The Merchant Hotel’s Cocktail Bar. Emily is already making quite a name for herself, having won the NIHF Rising Star Award last year, and only time will tell if she’ll leave this year’s World Class Cocktail Competition with yet another title under her belt.

You can find all the information on the upcoming competition right here. There are also a range of pop up events in top cocktail bars around the city over Saturday and Sunday, in Bar 1661, House and 9 Below. Head over to the World Class IG page to read more