Three teams of bartenders are to face a public vote to decide which of them will run their own pop-up bar at London Cocktail Week with Monkey Shoulder whisky.
The final of Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship takes place in London this week, featuring teams from Newcastle upon Tyne, Bristol and Horsham in West Sussex.
They were chosen from hundreds of other talented bartenders from across the country and now have to impress members of the public at the event at The Yard in Shoreditch on Thursday (June 4).
The prize is a chance to run an all-expenses-paid pop-up bar at London Cocktail Week in October, promoted and stocked by Monkey Shoulder. The winners will get to keep all the takings made during the week – which in 2014 totalled over £12,000.
The Ultimate Bartender Championship aims to turn the traditional cocktail competition on its head, creating events designed for bartenders to work as a team and to run an entire bar rather than just create one-off cocktails.
The three teams have been tasked with designing completely different experiences with three different themes, three playlists and three cocktail menus.
The team from Bristol is called Stirred Down and Brown, with a theme of “A Taste of Bristol”. It is made up of Danny Walker, Isaac Windsor and Ash Bovey who work at Hyde & Co in Bristol.
They tell us that their bar is going to get as “true West” as possible, serving up cocktails influenced by their “unbridled love” for Bristol. They see it as an opportunity to showcase Bristol, a city known for its artistically and musically creative licence, to a different crowd. They promise an “extremely interesting” centre-piece, with every other aspect “intrinsically woven with West Country wonder”.
The Newcastle team, called 21st Century Re-amendment, is made up of Sam Boulton, Steve Arthurs and Jordan Moore from Tiger Hornsby in Newcastle, who will create a bar with a 1920s “Great Gatsby” Prohibition party theme.
The London East team is made up of Andrew Harrod, Adam G Manning and David White from The Dead Parrot in Horsham, who promise to entertain crowds with a “raucous” “night at the circus” theme.
Each guest will be given four drink tokens to redeem against four cocktails – one from each bar and one to vote for the experience they enjoy the most. The bar with the most tokens wins the title.
The annual competition is led by Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador Grant Neave, who said: “The Ultimate Bartender Championship, now in its second year, is about getting bartenders to showcase not only their talent for creating unbelievably good drinks, but also their vision for an amazing bar with great service, hospitality and atmosphere.
“We want to support and nurture the next generation of bartenders and this is a fantastic way to give them a platform and the best possible opportunity should they wish to open their own bar in the future.”
Tickets for the final cost £10 and are available from EventBrite.