Botanist Bar head bartender Jeff Savage, has been recognized among the world’s best bartenders, placing in an overall impressive second place at the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Finals. The recognition came at the esteemed finale held in Glasgow, Scotland, where fellow Fairmont bartender and Classics.Perfected Tastemaker Bannie Kang (ANTI:DOTE) of Fairmont Singapore took the reins of World Class Bartender of the Year.
Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year is the biggest cocktail competition on the planet that saw over thousands of bartenders from across six continents compete for a place in the finals. Following a fierce five day final competition stretch with six challenges and three locations across the Netherlands and Scotland, 53 of the world’s best bartenders stirred and shook their way through a series of grueling final cocktail challenges before narrowing down to the Top 8 who underwent a final speed round challenge.
Savage, who represented Canada at the finals, took gold in the ‘Singleton Serve’ challenge. A duo part challenge, the first component was to create a cocktail with three ingredients; a Singleton serve, a homemade ingredient, and one readily available. A Tartan Tiki style cocktail, dressed with his family’s tartan, was built on the idea of finding your own tribe, somewhere to belong. The second was to present a pour of Singleton, complemented with two different elements. Savage chose to pair his with a Canadian favourite pastime in mind; accompanied by a fire starter and duck fat marshmallows, judges were encouraged to sit by the fire and toast their marshmallows while enjoying the warmth of each other’s company and the smooth balance of a drab of Singleton whisky.
As a Top 8 finalist, Savage was challenged with a final speed round challenge, tasked with creating six classic cocktails to perfection, and judged on whether they ‘would order it again’. He completed a perfect speed round with six green flags waved by the judges; the only competitor to do so.
Savage joins a collection of elite bartenders at Fairmont Pacific Rim that have previously held the title of World Class Canada Bartender of the Year, including the 2018 reigning champion, Chris Enns of The Lobby Lounge, and in 2014, the hotels’ creative beverage director, Grant Sceney.
“We are extremely proud of Jeff’s accomplishments through his journey to the Diageo World Class Finals,” comments Jason Cisneros, Director of Food and Beverage, Fairmont Pacific Rim. “Jeff is an integral member of our bartending team at Fairmont Pacific Rim who challenge boundaries and innovate in the cocktail space and we are extremely fortunate to have him part of our team and represent Botanist Bar on the international cocktail circuit.”
Savage leads an award-winning team at Botanist Bar, named one of the world’s best new bars, and home to the country’s most unusual Cocktail Lab, a bartender’s artistic studio that inspires creativity, as well as a space to prepare and experiment with ingredients. Its custom creation features industrial kitchen equipment to integrate a culinary-forward approach to cocktail design and development. The edgy venue inspires creative freedom and precision, granting the attention required to forge an elevated drinking experience