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Ever thought of entering a cocktail competition? Now is the time! We caught up with Tanqueray Brand Ambassador Tim Homewood who works as a judge for World Class GB to find out the benefits to entering a competition as well what the judges are really looking for.

Why you should enter

Competitive bartending is an exciting thing to be a part of. It’s the best way to expose yourself to what your peers are doing and to get cool new ideas for what you can do back in your bar. Entering a competition gives you the opportunity to evolve your knowledge, practice your skills and apply everything you have learnt and continue to learn.

It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends - this is after all an industry built on people. More than anything else, for the ambitious bartender, this is hands down the best way to progress your career. You put yourself out there in front of people, the press, other bars and brands - all potential avenues for future work and progression. Plus the prizes for winning are pretty good!

For me when I was a bartender, competition season was one of my favourite times of year. Not only do you get to hang out with a load of like-minded people for a day but you get the chance to win some absolutely incredible prizes. Some of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my life have come from cocktail competitions such as World Class, which allowed me to travel to Mexico or to eat in some of the finest restaurants in France. Some of the big competitions nowadays are potential life changers.

Don’t be put off

Strangely sometimes the draw of a competition still isn’t enough to get people entering. It’s possible that you might find the idea of entering a bit intimidating or may think you ‘aren’t ready’. ‘Aren’t ready’ annoys me, there’s no such thing as not ready. In the initial stage of every competition it is simply about entering a cocktail. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked for 3 years at one of the world’s best bars or 6 months in your local cocktail bar - if you have put in the effort to build your skills and knowledge, you both have the same chance of creating a memorable drink. Just put a recipe in and see what happens next.

The benefits to your bar

In my opinion, bar owners should also be getting behind bartender competitions. I always pushed my teams to get involved. The reasons are simple:

Tips to get started

Now you’re thinking of entering your first competition, right? I can’t blame you and here’s a few tips to help you on your way.

What the judges are looking for

This is what I generally look for when judging;

Whilst there are many elements which are important in competition, for me this last point is one of the most important as this is more about your skill as a bartender. Anyone can put together a good recipe but being a good host and bartender in that time is tough and that is what’s memorable.

Time to enter

So what are you waiting for? Enter your recipe, follow my tips and see what happens. You never know, it could be the start of something very exciting.

Are you thinking of entering a cocktail competition? Tweet us at @diageobarac, on Instagram @diageobarac or like us on Facebook – we love to hear about how you got on!

You can also follow the World Class competition on Facebook.

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