Vancouver's Kaitlyn Stewart crowned Canadian Bartender of the Year at Diageo World Class competition

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      Local mixologist Kaitlyn Stewart has earned the title of Bartender of the Year at the annual Diageo World Class Canada competition, one of the most prestigious bartending events in the industry.

      A bar director at downtown farm-to-table restaurant Royal Dinette (905 Dunsmuir Street), Stewart beat out 11 other mixologists from across Canada in a two-day contest that took place on May 17 and 18 in Toronto. There, the contenders were tasked with completing various challenges that tested their knowledge, skillset, and showmanship behind the bar.

      Prior to being selected as finalists, competitors were put through a rigorous application process that included the submission of an original cocktail recipe.

      "Winning the World Class Canada Bartender of the Year title is an incredible honour and I am truly inspired by the skill level and dedication showcased among my fellow peers," said Stewart in a press release.

      The competition was judged by six past World Class winners, including the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Grant Sceney and Bittered Sling’s Lauren Mote, the latter of whom was the first woman to be named Canadian Bartender of the Year in 2015.

      Stewart will go on to represent Canada at the Diageo World Class Global Final in Mexico City from August 20 to 25, where she’ll have the opportunity to take home the title of World Class Bartender of the Year.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.