THE COMPLETE LIST OF COCKTAIL COMPETITIONS

… OR AT LEAST, EVERYTHING WE COULD FIND!

Winning cocktail competitions is one of the fastest ways to become well known as a skilled bartender / mixologist. It can open the door to tons of career and consulting opportunities – from private consulting gigs to jobs as prestigious as brand ambassadorships.

We’ve put together a directory of upcoming cocktail competitions as well as a guide to help you win them – so you can take your career to the next level and win great prizes!

How to Win Cocktail Competitions Guide

FREE EBOOK:

How to Win Cocktail Competitions

This 16-page e-book is the ultimate guide to not only preparing a cocktail that will get you selected, but also creating a presentation that gets you the Grand Prize.

The List

We’ve done our best to keep up with the biggest competitions in the industry and provide information below, but this list is only as good as our research! If you find a competition we’re not aware of, definitely let us know so we can add it to the list!

DEADLINE: April 1, 2021

Concours d’Spirits

Hosted by SommCon

SommCon ®, a leading provider of wine and spirits education for industry professionals, presents the second year of Concours d’Spirits, an impartial competition of domestic and international spirits judged in a blind tasting format by a panel of industry tastemakers, buyers, reviewers, mixologists and sommeliers skilled in spirits.

Judging for this competition will take place April 27-29, 2021 in San Diego, CA, followed by a boutique winner’s circle tasting for 100 buyers and influencers. In the fall, all winners will be on display during SommCon’s annual West Coast Conference during a trade-only tasting and medal’s showcase.

Medal winners receive added exposure in SommCon and The Somm Journal’s social, print recognition, and promotional materials. More information on that here.

Early bird pricing runs through Nov 30, 2020 and is $595 for one entry and $1,045 for two entries. On Dec 1, 2020 entry fees are raised to $695 for one entry and $1,145 for two entries. For brands entering more than two spirits, each additional entry is $350 during both early bird and regular pricing.

For more information or to submit your entry, visit https://www.sommconusa.com/competitions.html.

Ingredients

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MIXOLOGY

The culinary side of cocktail creation
Cocktail Shaker

Bar Basics

The skills you need to make great drinks!
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TECHNIQUES

Skills and “how to’s” for crafting great drinks

Past Competitions

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: January 2, 2021 (in-person event)

Mix Fest Cocktail Competition

Hosted by Nomads Music Lounge in Fayetteville, AR

Nomads Music Lounge will be hosting their 7th annual Cocktail Competition featuring local bartenders of Fayetteville, AR mixing up their best. All proceeds go to support competing bartenders. Competition will be held live at the Nomads Music Lounge (1431 South School Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72701) from 2-4pm CST. Tickets are $10.

DEADLINE: January 28, 2021

Peat Week Cocktail Competition

Hosted by Westland Distillery (Seattle, Washington)

This year’s Peat Week Cocktail Competition will look a bit different than past in-person duals, as Westland Distillery has now partnered with three prominent bartenders to create Peat Week Cocktail Kits. Cocktail fans can cast their vote by purchasing one of the kits via the Westland website (shipping within Washington only). For customers in other U.S. states, click here and scroll down to find three national online retailers that also sell the product.

Each purchase includes admission to a virtual cocktail class hosted by Westland, taking place on Thursday, January 28, featuring all three guest bartenders who will demo their kit and share tips and tricks from the trade. See full details here.

DEADLINE: December 4, 2020 for general registration & November 23, 2020 for VIP registration

World AIDS Day: Celebration & Cocktail Competition

Hosted by BU Wellness Network

Join BU Wellness Network for a World AIDS Day Celebration like no other. This year’s virtual event will feature a virtual cocktail competition, where contestants will teach you how to make specialty cocktails (or mocktails) and participants will vote on who has the best recipe. The attire for the event is luxury loungewear! Attendees will receive recipes/ingredients lists in advance of the event.

Please register here by December 4th to receive information in advance. VIP tickets ($100+service fee) must be purchased by November 23rd in order to receive VIP Event Kits in advance of the event. Tickets for general admission are free. There are also several opportunities to donate when you register, and donations are strongly encouraged. Limited quantities available. Who Will Be the Star of the Bar?! 

BU Wellness Network is the largest African-American AIDS service organization in the state of Indiana. The organization provides services to more than 35% of all African-American individuals living with HIV in the state.

DEADLINE: Nov 30, 2020

ART’QUARIUM CLARIFIED PUNCH CONTEST

Hosted by Fish House Live, featuring Wheatley Vodka

Enter your original Clarified Punch recipe for a chance to win $500, a special behind-the-scenes tour and trip to Frankfort, KY, home of Wheatley Vodka and Buffalo Trace Distillery! The contest is open to legal residents of the U.S. and the District of Columbia, who are 21 years of age or older. Refer to “The Rules” for more specific details regarding the recipe and social media requirements.

Not familiar with Fish House Live and Art’Quarium? The contest is centralized around artistic expression and making delicious clarified punch. Start with a fishbowl, punch bowl or glass vessel, add your favorite aquatic theme, fill with a clarified punch, take photos and share with the world on social media – and don’t forget to enjoy responsibly with your closest friends!

The contest runs from 10/29/20 – 11/30/20. There will be three finalists selected and one grand-prize winner. The winner will receive a round-trip ticket to Buffalo Trace Distillery on December 7-9, an exclusive behind the scenes tour with the folks behind Wheatley Vodka, $500 of spending cash and 5L Buffalo Trace barrel (an approximate $1,000 value).

Judging will be completed around November 30th. There will be virtual judges who will recreate the punches and judge the finalists.

Administered by Fish House Live and sponsored by Taste Network, LLC. For all of the official rules – click here. If you’d like to watch a Welcome video from the Fish House team, click here.

DEADLINE: October 31, 2020

Vipra Halloween Cocktail Contest

Hosted by Vipra Cocktail

Enter your original Vipra cocktail recipe for a chance to win a deluxe home bar set! This contest is open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia, who are 21 years of age or older. (Void in Utah, and where prohibited.) Refer to Rules 4-5 for more specific details regarding the recipe requirements. 

Not familiar with Vipra Rosso Dolce? This is a ruby red wine, delicately sweet and slightly fizzy, with red fruit aromas, and best served chilled! The contest runs from 9/1/20 – 10/31/20. There will be three grand-prize winners, and each winner will receive a home bar inclusive of a luxury bar cart, deluxe set of glassware, custom cocktail shaker and wine refrigerator (an approximate $1,000 value).

Judging will be completed around November 9th. Administered by One Line Sports Agency and sponsored by Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. Check out the official rules here. 

DEADLINE: SUNDAYS AT MIDNIGHT THOUGH MAY 3RD, 2020

A TOAST TO THE SERVICE INDUSTRY

Hosted by Chilled Magazine

Chilled Magazine and 375 Park Avenue Spirits are partnering in a 4-week,socially-distanced contest for professional bartenders. Contestants must feature one of 10 participating brands in a creative cocktail for a chance to win a grand prize of $4,000.

Each week, 10 semi-finalists will automatically win $500 with an exciting chance to be one of four finalists in a Facebook & Instagram livestreamed competition. There will be one semi-finalist per brand each week, and bartenders are welcome to submit one cocktail per brand (up to 10 entries per week). From the 40 semi-finalists, 4 finalists will be chosen to participate in the live, virtual competition held in mid-May. The 1st place winner will receive $4,000, 2nd place $3,000, 3rd place $2,000, and 4th place $1,000.

For a chance to receive the grand prize and ultimate bragging rights, submit a video (or photo) of your creation by Sunday night, April 19th, April 26th, and May 3rd at 11:59 pm EST. For official rules, requirements, and participating brands, visit Chilled Magazine’s official contest page.

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.

DEADLINE: November 5, 2019

2020 Bartender of the Year Competition

Hosted by Heaven Hill Brands & Liquor.com

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.

To enter the competition, bartenders need to create their own Mare Nostrum cocktail following the competitions rules and must submit online by Monday, July 1, 2019.

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.

USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Competition

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.

USBG Diageo World Class 2018

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.

Beefeater MIXLDN 7

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.

Bacardi Legacy Competition

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.

Bols Around the World

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!

How to Win Cocktail Competitions Guide

FREE EBOOK:

How to Win Cocktail Competitions

This 16-page e-book is the ultimate guide to not only preparing a cocktail that will get you selected, but also creating a presentation that gets you the Grand Prize.
We’re here to share what we learn and help our industry learn and grow.
Learn Mixology
Learn Mixology
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade
Cocktail Techniques
Cocktail Techniques
Bartender Career Icon
Bartender Career Guide
Chris and Julia Tunstall
We’re here to share what we learn and help our industry learn and grow.
Learn Mixology
Learn Mixology
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade
Cocktail Techniques
Cocktail Techniques
Bartender Career Icon
Bartender Career Guide