THE COMPLETE LIST OF COCKTAIL COMPETITIONS
… OR AT LEAST, EVERYTHING WE COULD FIND!
We’ve put together a directory of upcoming cocktail competitions as well as a guide to help you win them – so you can – so you can take your career to the next level and win great prizes!
How to Win Cocktail Competitions
DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 20, 2020
THE STAR OF THE BAR COMPETITION
Hosted by The National Restaurant Association Show
The National Restaurant Association invites professional mixologists to show off their most creative cocktail talents on a national platform to vie for the sought-after title of Star of the Bar.
Open to restaurants, bars, and other businesses that sell beverage alcohol on-premise are invited to submit an application and original cocktail recipe for the opportunity to compete. Submissions that receive the top 6 highest scores will be invited to send one mixologist from their business to represent them and compete in the Star of the Bar National Finals in Chicago, IL on May 16-19, 2020.
If you are interested in a shot at the title, a trip to Chicago to demonstrate your skills, as well as a chance at a cash prize, you must submit your entry by February 20, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST. Click here for official rules and to enter your cocktails.
Missed it? Here are some competitions whose deadlines have passed – we’ll keep an eye out to see if they come back next year!
DEADLINE: November 5, 2019
2020 Bartender of the Year Competition
Heaven Hill Brands and Liquor.com are searching for the 2020 Bartender of the Year. The competition now in its fifth year is searching for a bartender that displays total breadth and aptitude in their abilities as a professional bartender.
The Heaven Hill family invites you to submit two recipes using Heaven Hill Brands to enter the competition. Impress the judges by creating cocktails that showcase the quality, versatility and family tradition of Heaven Hill.
Eight finalists will be selected to compete at Half-Mile Farm in Highlands, N.C., June 15–18, 2020. The winner will be crowned 2020 Bartender of the Year, win $15,000 in cash and be invited to judge in the 2021 Bartender of the Year finals competition. Click here for official rules and to enter your cocktails. Enter your submissions by November 5, 2019.
DEADLINE: October 24th, 2019, 11:59PM PDT
HARDY LEGENDS OF COGNAC COMPETITION
Hosted by Hardy Cognac
Legends are risk takers, rule breakers, and ripple makers. Want to cement your status as a legend? Here’s your chance brought to you by Hardy Cognac; Legends of Hardy Cognac Competition!
Create an original cocktail highlighting Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac for a chance to be one of six finalists featured at an event during Portland Cocktail Week in November. Drinks must be limited to no more than 8 ingredients including bitters, garnish and, of course, Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac.
To enter the competition, bartenders must submit their applications before the deadline: October 24th, 2019, 11:59PM PDT. The grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Cognac, France, to see first hand where Hardy Cognac is made. Click here for official rules and to enter your cocktail.
DEADLINE: August 31, 2019
Bartenders “Talk Story” with Ocean Organic Vodka
Hosted by Ocean Organic Vodka
Hawaii-based Ocean Organic Vodka wants you to share your Talk Story. Deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture, “Talk Story” is a way of connecting with one another through casual conversation.
As the keeper of the bar, you hear customers “Talking Story” daily. Now, Ocean Vodka wants to hear from you! Share a memorable moment, adventurous experience, or even an encounter that’s become a legendary tale you love to tell.
To enter the competition, bartenders must create their Ocean Vodka cocktail and share how it is inspired by your story for you chance to win $5,000. Click here for official rules and to enter your cocktail. Content ends August 31st.
DEADLINE: July 1, 2019
Mediterranean Inspirations Cocktail Competition 2019
Hosted by Gin Mare
Gin Mare, the first ever Mediterranean Gin, is reimagining the global cocktail competition by bringing people together over well-crafted cocktails inspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle. The competition is now in its ninth year after having begun in Europe before expanding internationally and into the US three years ago.
The global competition has opened up online submissions from around the world and is broken into three themed rounds to from regional to national to global. The winner of each national around the world will win a trip to Ibiza to compete in the global final.
DEADLINE: July 25, 2019
PAU Maui Vodka Road To Maui Competition
Hosted by PAU Maui Vodka
PAU Maui Vodka is on the search for unique vodka cocktails and the mixologists behind them. Inspired by its paradise roots and ingredients, PAU Maui introduces Road to Maui, a national online bartending competition challenging bartenders to create a cocktail and story inspired by what paradise means to them.
Your challenge is to build a cocktail that uses PAU Maui Vodka as the primary ingredient and contains no more than 8 ingredients. All drinks must be easy for any bar to recreate and reflect the local flavors found on the island.
Six finalists will be selected from the digital submissions to compete from September 22nd – September 24th in Maui, HI on an all expenses paid trip. The winner from the live competition will be awarded an all expenses paid trip to Portland Cocktail Week. There is no entry fee, but you must submit your entry by July 25th. Click here for official rules and to enter your cocktail.
Hosted by Bombay Sapphire Gin
This contest is “where new ideas and ingredients blend together to create the extraordinary. It’s this melding of thoughts and inspiration where creativity is born.” Now in its 12th year, the competition seeks out bartenders who are at the forefront of artistry in cocktail-making. You’ll be asked to create an original cocktail (which obviously includes Bombay Sapphire Gin) and which will be judged on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination.
Enrollment is free, you need only your tools, glassware, and ingredients. Local competitions lead up to regionals and then finals in London. If you make regional or finals your airfare and hotel will be covered.
Prize is $10,000 and the winning bartender will be featured in digital GQ Magazine.
The Enrollment period has now ended for 2018, but keep en eye out for next year! Click here for more information, contest rules, and all the details.
Hosted by Diageo
The World Class is part of an internationally recognized competition that elevates the craft of the bartender and builds careers in the industry, culminating in an annual landmark week where the Global Bartender of the Year is announced. Bartenders enter local competitions, and regional finalists are chosen. Regional finalists compete regional finals, then National Finals. One national finalist from each country represented will travel to the 2018 Global Finals in Berlin, Germany.
The winner will be crowned the “World’s Best Bartender” – a prestigious title for sure!
The 2018 regionals are already well underway, but if you’d like to be notified of a potential 2019 competition, follow this link and sign up to be notified.
Hosted by Beefeater
With the January 2018 finals representing this competition’s 7th year, this competition is showing no sign of stopping. This year 31 global finalists traveled to London to compete for the grand prize. Each year has its own theme – this year was “Creating a Cocktail Tribute to Your City” (using Beefeater Gin, of course).
If future years go like the past, entrants will submit their entries online and finalists will be selected for local in-person competitions. Winners will advance to the final in London for a chance to compete for the Grand Prize.
In 2018, the Grand Prize included a trip to London to work alongside Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne to greate your signature blend – your own limited edition gin!
We’re already keeping an eye out for 2019! For more information, including rules and drink requirements, click here.
Hosted by Bacardi
The Bacardi Legacy competition “aims to challenge cocktail bartenders from around the world to find the BACARDÍ rum cocktail with the greatest potential to establish itself as a classic and join the pantheon of BACARDÍ® Legacy cocktails alongside the Mojito, Daiquirí and Cuba Libre before it.” In 2017, entrants submitted their entries online for a coveted spot in one of the regional competitions. Regional winners were selected to compete in the National Finals and the winner will compete in the Global Competition.
Entries are already closed for 2018 but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see this one come up again in 2019. Keep an eye out here and here for updates, rules and requirements.
Advancing winners get all-expenses paid travel to their later stages of the competition culminating in the global final in Mexico City in May 2018
I asked the Bacardi Legacy team when 2019 entries would open but they weren’t sure yet. They did say, “it is usually within a couple of months of the Grand Final” and recommended keeping an eye on the Bacardi Legacy Facebook page here. and the Bacardi Legacy Website.
Hosted by Bols Genever
“Are you the next Bols Genever Pioneer?” asks the website for this worldwide competition. Looking for the best bartender “with a business focus”, Bols’ competition is global, and among the largest. Bartenders will be tested in three online heats for their “creativity, knowledge, hospitality and the ability to approach Bols Genever from a business angle.” The top three bartenders from each region then compete in Amsterdam for the grand prize.
2018’s winner will be named the next Bols Genever Pioneer and wins a bartending trip around the world!
Entries for the 2018 contest were accepted between September and October 2017, so it’s likely that the 2019 competition entries will open in the fall. Keep an eye on BolsAroundTheWorld.com for updates!