Mixology competitions are a great way to build your profile in the bar industry and after many years of bartending I’ve entered my first! Find out more on this week’s BartenderHQ show!
Entering Mixology Competitions
So why are mixology competitions so good for getting your name known? Simply because these competitions will often have the brand managers for the products there as well as bartenders from other great bars in your area, so they are a great place to network.
In terms of the format, in most cases the brands will ask for drinks to be submitted online first either on a website or via email to the brand. Make sure you read the rules first as many mixology competitions will place restrictions on how many ingredients can be used or include guidance on home made items. The point of these competitions is normally to build brand awareness or find new ways of serving the drinks that can be rolled out to bars so make sure you pay attention to the rules or you may be disqualified.
How to Win Mixology Competitions
As I mentioned, this was my first in person competition, so I wasn’t expecting to win, but knowing a little of what the judges were looking for was super useful.
Our friends over at A Bar Above have a great eBook on exactly this subject which you can grab for free!
Here are my top 5 tips though, just to get you started!
- Make your drink! So many people just come up with a recipe without trying it first and make horribly unbalanced drinks without knowing.
- Avoid home made ingredients. While they give you far more freedom, if the brand wants to have the winning drinks rolled out to other bars, your home-made unicorn tear bitters may make that tricky.
- Check out the brand portfolio. Check which other products the same distributor represents and try to use their products, i.e. if you need a Gin, make sure its theirs, and they’ll want to share your recipe even more.
- Take a nice picture of your drink. If you’re doing an online or email submission, taking a nice picture of your drink and including them with your entry will prove that you’ve made the effort and tested your drink before sending it off.
- Share Share Share. I can’t believe how secretive some bartenders are of their recipes – perhaps they’re worried someone will take their ideas. Brands want publicity, so share what you’ve created for them and they’ll love you even more.
Taking it to the next level
If you want to seriously destroy the competition at these events, you NEED A Bar Above’s cocktail design course. Now it does cost $60 but thats less than you’ll spend in an evening at the bar drinking a hand full of cocktails and the amount of information in here is INSANE! I’m still working my way through, getting my mixology game to where it needs to be, so join me in the course and keep up 😉 Even better, by signing up through my link you’ll also be helping to support BartenderHQ and keep us going!
On next week’s show we’ll be talking about another bartending competition, the Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Championship – so hit Subscribe on the Youtube channel so you don’t miss it!