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A Peek into Monkey Shoulder’s 2018 Ultimate Bartender Championship

by Caitlin
ultimate bartender championship

Monkey Shoulder is sponsoring Liquor.com’s Ultimate Bartender Championship, a two-day workshop and competition that teaches and tests up and coming bartender’s skills that ‘pay the bills’.

ultimate bartender championship

This past Tuesday, Texas’s top bartenders gathered together at Nickel City to crown the top bartender, decided over five rounds of intense competition. The event, hosted by Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, is Liquor.com’s Ultimate Bartender Championship. Austin, Texas was the kick off for the event that will be traveling across the country through October.

Liquor.com’s action-packed Ultimate Bartender Championship will see participating bartenders in five U.S. cities compete for cocktail glory – as well as a grand prize trip to the Athens Bar Show in Greece.

The Ultimate Bartender Championship

This week at Nickel City in Austin, Texas, 22 of Texas’ best bartenders competed in Liquor.com’s 2018 Ultimate Bartender Championship sponsored by Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.

ultimate bartender championship

The bartender competition went five rounds, testing all the skills that make a bartender extraordinary. The winner will be headed to the Athens Bar Show in Greece. After an intense final round, Cesar Perez from Murray’s in El Paso was crowned the bartending champ!

Cesar who regularly competes in cocktail competitions said the UBC was “By far the most challenging competition he has entered to date and loved how each round recreated all of the elements of bartending.”

All of the final round bartenders were hooked up to a mic piece, allowing them to walk us through their cocktail. What I enjoyed most about Cesar is the funny joke that told the story behind his cocktail, and he finished pouring the cocktail just as his punchline hit. That’s what makes ordering a cocktail an experience not easy to forget. Below is Cesar during the Final Round, concocting his el Chongo Loco.

ultimate bartender championship winner

Cesar during the Final Round, concocting his el Chongo Loco.

Challenges for the Ultimate Bartender Championship include:

Quiz Show: Participants will answer 50 multiple choice questions focused on all aspects of bartending in ten minutes

Mixiodic Table: Contestants must determine the cocktail based on a molecular-style formula, using the mixiodic table to identify the ingredients

Round Building: Build five cocktails in under five minutes (below)

ultimate bartender championship ultimate bartender championship

Nosing Tray Service: Take an order of ten drinks, identify ten serves by scent, taste and then properly serve (below)

ultimate bartender championship ultimate bartender championship

Championship Round: Mystery Box Cocktail Whisperer – Participants have five minutes to create a cocktail for the judges while telling a tale about the drink and its origin. Note: Not all ingredients below had to used.

ultimate bartender monkey shoulder

Mystery Box Items (They also have access to simple syrup, fresh lime and fresh lemon juice.) :

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Lone Star Beer
  • Mint
  • Sesame oil
  • Carrot juice
  • Coconut water
  • Cold Brew Coffee
  • Plum vinegar

monkey shoulder whiskey cocktail

Austin’s Bartending Scene

While food is a huge star in Austin, our cocktail scene is beginning to become big business for locals and tourists alike. When asked about what they loved most about Austin’s cocktail scene, here’s what a few judges and the Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador had to say:

  • “What I like most about the cocktail scene in Austin is the closeness and creativity of the local bartenders. It’s almost like a fraternity or sorority where each encourages and supports the others’ endeavors and cocktail accomplishments. It shines when different bars host events and a solid amount of the local industry shows up to support. I also believe they challenge each other to be more creative and think outside of the box. Iron sharpens iron and great cocktails encourage greater cocktails. Kudos #ATX!” – Monkey Shoulder Brand Ambassador Vance Henderson
  • “I like the ambition and the enthusiasm by the Austin bartending community.” – Ezra Star (panelist & judge) – Drink in Boston, MA
  • I like it [Austin cocktail scene] because Austin is home. It’s nice to learn in the bigger US cities and filter those experiences back to local scene. And there’s definitely a great sense of community here. – Chris Bostick
  • “The diversity of the bars within the city and the passion with which the bartender  community approaches their own bar personalities” – Dev Johnson (panelist & judge) – Employees Only in New York, NY

What do you like best about the bartending scene in Austin? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re not in Austin be on the lookout for Liquor.com’s Ultimate Bartender Championship in when it visits these cities: Denver, CO (August 6-7), Seattle, WA (August 27-28), Los Angeles, CA (September 17-18), and Tampa Bay, FL (October 15-16). More information can be found here.

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