France’s Jennifer Le Nechet has just been crowned the world’s best bartender at the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final 2016. Following a four-day battle in Miami, she triumphed over the world’s greatest talents in cocktail making.

The French bartender, usually found crafting drinks and charming customers behind the bar at Café Moderne in Paris wowed the judges by creating a spectacular range of vibrant drinks at her Steampunk themed pop-up bar.

2016 marks the eighth year of Diageo’s WORLD CLASS competition, and the biggest yet, with nearly 10,000 bartenders entering. 56 of them made it to Miami. Next year will see Mexico City play host to the final.

Each challenge turned the spotlight on a different skill in the bartender’s armory: technique, personality, spirits knowledge and how well they perform under pressure.

Selecting top brands from Diageo’s Reserve portfolio including KETEL ONE™, CîROC™, DON JULIO™, TANQUERAY NO TEN™, BULLEIT™, ZACAPA™ and JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL™, the bartenders crafted classic cocktails and created their own recipes. They also went up against the clock to mix eight quintessential drinks in just 10 minutes.

Jennifer Le Nechet, the first female bartender to claim the title, said: “I’m completely blown away – it’s such an honor to take home the title of World’s Best Bartender – especially when competing against such talent from around the world. This week has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of flavors and to explore how all the senses can be engaged through cocktails. I can’t wait for the experience ahead!”

Le Nechet is set for an action-packed year as a Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador, and can expect to travel the world judging competitions and making bespoke drinks in far-flung and glamorous locations. She will also join a roll call of the industry’s finest, becoming the eighth member of the WORLD CLASS Hall of Fame.

Johanna Dalley, World Class Director, Diageo Reserve said: “WORLD CLASS is continuing on a stellar trajectory – since we launched in 2009 the number of countries participating has tripled from 18 to 56, and the program has reached and inspired more than 250,000 bartenders around the globe. We are proud to bring you this year’s crop of the world’s most skilled bartenders, and to learn about the newest and greatest drinks experiences on offer. Jennifer is the deserved winner, and we are delighted to have a female winner for the first time, but the five runners up were all worthy contenders.”

At the Awards evening, Mexico City was also revealed as the location for the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final 2017.

Dalley continued, “This year, WORLD CLASS will take cocktail culture to a new level in Mexico City, and there could be no better place for this, since for many years, this city been developing into one of the most vibrant capitals for food, drink and culture.”

Alex Kratena, judge and founder of P(OUR) comments: “We judges have been blown away by the standard this year. These guys have knocked it out of the park – no matter whether it’s mixing a classic cocktail or creating a bespoke drink. The level of innovation has been jaw-dropping.”

Entry for World Class 2017 opens on November 9.