Local winner of the World Class Bartender Competition
This week’s HotSeat is with the winner of the World Class Bartender Competition, Raul Vargas, who will embark on the journey to represent St. Maarten in the Global Finals. Here Raul lets us know a little bit about himself and gives us a little look into what it’s like to be a winner!
The World Class Bartender of the Year Competition is the world’s largest and most respected bartending competition. It is an annual competition entered by thousands of contestants across the globe, culminating in a Global Final event and experience.
For the first time ever, St. Maarten/St. Martin hosted local finals that decided who will represent the island in an effort to win the world’s most prestigious title in the mixology and cocktail industry. Eight bartenders from various bars and restaurants on both sides of the island were selected to battle it out to see who the first St. Maarten World Class winner would be.
1. Tell us about yourself.
Hello, my name is Raul Vargas, I’m originally from Chihuahua, México. I have 2 years living in St. Maarten, and 5 years working behind the bar, currently I’m working at Roxxy Beach.
2. What inspired you to become a bartender?
It wasn’t an inspiration in fact, I was just curious, or we can say that my inspiration was the curiousness, when I was working in a restaurant back in Playa del Carmen. I saw the mixologist doing his job and there was where everything started.
3. What made you decide to compete in the World Class Competition?
My friends from International Liquors and Tobacco extended the invitation to me for the first World Class in St. Maarten. In my case I’ve never been in a competition before, so I thought it will be an awesome experience to have that outside of my country.
4. How did you feel when Sagan announced you won?
I wasn’t expecting that, all my colleagues are as good as me, so it was a very surprising moment for me.
5. Where will you be headed to for the Global finals?
The finals for the competition will be in Madrid, Spain in July!
6. How do you feel about travelling to compete with others around the world?
I feel very excited because that’s where the things are going to be serious, there is a lot of great bartenders out there, and very happy because I’m going to have the chance to know more people that enjoy this industry just like me.
7. What is your specialty drink?
My specialty drink is the Old fashion and classic Daiquiri. The old fashioned is a cocktail made by muddling sugar with bitters and water, adding whiskey or, less commonly, brandy, and garnishing with orange slice or zest and a cocktail cherry. The Daiquiri is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, citrus juice, and sugar or another sweetener.
8. If you could have a drink with anyone 3 people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to drink?
If I could have a drink with 3 people it would be with my Father, Moe Aljaf from the cocktail bar “two shmucks” and my mother and I would definitely drink some good tequila!