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Chicago's Katie Renshaw Is Diageo's U.S. Bartender Of The Year

Chicago's Katie Renshaw won the title the 2019 U.S. Bartender of the Year on Monday following a two-day, five-challenge competition held by the United States Bartenders' Guild.

Renshaw's flawless attention to detail and outside-the-box thinking immediately caught the eye of the judges' table, leading her to win the Bulleit Final Frontier Challenge as well as the national title.

Katie_Renshaw_Bartender_of_the_Year.jpgBartender extraordinaire Katie Renshaw/Photos by Shannon Sturgis

The competition brought together 15 of the nation's top bartenders who are pushing craft mixology's boundaries through innovative cocktails perfect for food pairings, flavor profile assessments and more with the ultimate goal of representing the U.S. at the global competition in Glasgow, Scotland this September.

This year's U.S. applicant pool saw thousands of talented individuals from around the country compete in regional challenges that tested creativity and spirits knowledge, as well as speed, precision and presentation.

In total, only 15 bartenders advanced to nationals that were hosted in Lexington, Kentucky, culminating with the finals at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s Visitor Experience in Shelbyville about 45 minutes away.

"Winning [this] has been one of my biggest dreams since I started bartending, especially with getting a pass-off from Laura Newman, who I competed with last year, and who really inspired me to be myself in this competition," Renshaw said.

Katie_Renshaw_Speed_Round_Showdown.jpgKatie Renshaw flexing her craft during the Speed Round Showdown.

On Sunday and Monday, competitors showcased their abilities to seamlessly merge art and science, and taste and technology, to create cocktails featuring a selection of Diageo Reserve brands including Bulleit® Bourbon, CIROC® Vodka, Johnnie Walker® Blended Scotch Whisky, Ketel One® Vodka, Tanqueray No. TEN® Gin, Tequila Don Julio®, TALISKER® Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Zacapa® Rum.

This final round of competition was judged by a mix of six award-winning cocktail bar owners, and nationally and globally recognized beverage industry influencers, including 2018 US winner Laura Newman, 2018 Global winner Orlando Marzo and acclaimed bartenders and educators such as Julie Reiner, Anu Elford, Jackson Cannon and Charles Joly.

The USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo mission is to unite the hospitality industry to advance professional bartending and elevate the craft. This is the eighth year for the U.S., and the 11th year globally. While the competition takes place in the spring and summer, education and events occur year-round.

Day one in Lexington drew upon Kentucky's heritage, asking first for a complementary or contrasting cocktail to pair with a classic Southern dessert staple, followed by a second challenge to create a best-selling signature drink that fit within a fictitious restaurant's theme and dinner menu.

Day two's challenges at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s Visitor Experience were inspired by the whiskey brand's frontier spirit and commitment to technology + culture. Each cocktail used a cutting-edge technique or unexpected technology that took skill, imagination and outside the box collaboration.

Two speed rounds completed the competition featuring a challenge to mix, pour and garnish six classic cocktails and two wild card drinks highlighting a DIAGEO Reserve Brand that was assigned at random, all the while engaging with the judges in 10 minutes or less.

"Each year I think I've seen it all with the awesome level of skill and passion this competition inspires," said Aaron Gregory Smith, executive director of the USBG. "But every year I am blown away. The talent pool is deep, but the best part is the continued opportunity for growth and success that exists within our tight-knit bartending community."

USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo finalists also enjoyed a sneak peek behind the scenes at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s new Visitor Experience that will open soon this summer. From a technologically advanced, sensory-rich bar experience, to eco-friendly and sustainable practices throughout the facility, the finalists were the first guests hosted - appropriate for a brand built by bartenders and named as the best-selling brand at the world's best bars for multiple years by Drinks International.

Cocktails created for the duration of this year's competition can be found on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @WorldClassUS. When showcasing your own mixology or sampling award-winning recipes from this year's competitors, USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo reminds you to do so responsibly.


Created by 2019 U.S. Bartender of the Year Katie Renshaw



1 oz Bulleit 10
1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz coconut milk-oolong syrup
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz lime juice
1 oz cardamom-infused cream
1 egg white
Soda water
1/4 cup coffee-bourbon caviar


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake, and pour into a collins glass over a collins spear ice cube. Garnish with Coconut ash, engraved lemon peel.

Ideal Serve:

Collins glass





See also: Katie Renshaw: Bartender, Musician, Hooligan.


Comments welcome.


Posted on June 12, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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