Out of 53 internationally-acclaimed bartenders, Fairmont Singapore’s Bannie Kang was crowned the world’s best for 2019. Kang is the head bartender of Anti:Dote, a modern cocktail bar whose drinks are best paired with their innovative tapas. She spent four days in the Netherlands and Scotland in the 11th Diageo World Class, the biggest cocktail competition in the planet, crafting creative drinks.

One of the challenges Kang had to overcome in the competition is to come up with “cocktails that had a positive environmental impact and a sense of community at their core,” according to the organizers. Kang however isn’t new in the process of creating such drinks given that she often crafts with a medicinal and social purpose in mind.

Kang draws inspiration from her home country of South Korea and by immersing herself in the culture around her. Elements such as housemade bitters, homegrown herbs and flowers, and freshly picked ingredients found in traditional Korean dishes and spices often find their way into her mixes. 

Other tasks the bartenders faced during the course of the competition included devising drinks from the ingredients and bar tools of a mystery box, using The Singleton single malt whisky, Tanqueray No. Ten gin, and Johnny Walker whisky to create new beverages, and acing the final speed round cocktail-making test.

As 30-year-old Bannie Kang enters the Diageo World Class’ Hall of Fame, she becomes the new global ambassador for Diageo’s Reserve brands. She will be judging national heats for next year’s World Class competition, playing a role in Diageo’s global partnership with IMG’s taste festivals and making guest appearances at some of the world’s best bars.