Rules & Regulations

Purpose & Identity of the competition

Bartender of the Year

This is a search for the 2016 'Bartender of the Year'. This person will display total breadth and aptitude in their abilities as a professional bartender. Over the course of the three stages of the competition and across multiple varying challenges, these bartenders will display (for example):

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Knowledge of classics
  • Product knowledge
  • Ability to think on their feet and read their guests needs
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Presentation style
  • Hospitality and ability to create a memorable experience

Criteria

Each competitor must enter two cocktail recipes:

  • One of the two cocktail recipes must include either Elijah Craig or Rittenhouse Rye as the primary ingredient, using a minimum of 1oz.
  • One of the two cocktail recipes must include Domaine de Canton or PAMA
  • One of the two cocktail recipes should be inspired by a classic
  • You must explain the inspiration and relationship to the classic cocktail on which you base this drink
  • One of the two cocktail recipes should show your ability to be creative and innovate
    • ** Note: You can use the liqueurs or the whiskeys in either the classically inspired or the innovative cocktail. There is no requirement on which is used for either type of drink
  • Recipes must be original. An original recipe is the product of one's own mind and is not a copy or imitation
  • Recipes must contain no more than 2.5oz. (at 40% alc./vol.) total combined alcoholic ingredients and the total volume of the ingredients shall not exceed 6oz.
  • Recipes must not exceed 7 ingredients including drops, dashes (This does not include garnishes)
  • Ingredients must be expressed in fluid ounces (.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and drops being the smallest quantities.
  • Preparation and mixing instructions must be included with your recipe (Be sure to include all preparation and presentation notes, garnish details, etc.)
  • Limit one full entry per person
  • You must be a resident of the United States
  • A blind judging panel will review and score the entries. Initial scores will be based on the judge's' interpretation of the written description submitted. In some cases, judges may recreate the cocktails to settle closely ranked submissions.

Each competitor must answer a short written question:

  • What does hospitality mean to you?
  • Responses must be a maximum of 250 words

Scoring

Cocktail #1: Inspired by a Classic:

  • Name: 10 points
  • Appearance and presentation (perceived based on description): 10 points
  • Balance of flavors, aroma & character: 40 points
  • Inspiration & Relationship to the classic it was inspired by: 20 points (written explanation)
  • Creativity: 10 points
  • Product Knowledge: 10 points

Cocktail #2: Innovative Cocktail:

  • Name: 10 points
  • Appearance and presentation (perceived based on description): 10 points
  • Balance of flavors, aroma & character: 40 points
  • Inspiration & ability to display Innovation: 20 points
  • Creativity: 10 points
  • Product Knowledge: 10 points

Written Question: What does hospitality mean to you? 30 points

Semifinals

Regional competitions will be held in February and March of 2016 in four markets:

  • New York
  • New Orleans
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco

Bartenders will be chosen by a blind panel, based on their recipe submissions. Qualifying bartenders will be invited to compete at one of the four regional competitions.

At each regional:

  • 8 Bartenders will compete across 2 distinct challenges
  • All participants will receive a $100 Visa gift card
  • Judges will select a 1st and 2nd place winner
  • 1st Place Prize:
    • $1,000 Visa gift card
    • A trip to Puerto Rico to compete at the National finals
      • Airfaire and accomodations provided by Liquor.com
    • The chance to win a grand prize of $15,000
  • 2nd Place Prize:
    • $500 Visa gift card
    • A trip to Puerto Rico to compete at the National finals
      • Airfaire and accomodations provided by Liquor.com
    • The chance to win a grand prize of $15,000

** Be sure to check back for more details about the final, including information about the specific challenges these bartenders will face.

Finals

On June 7th, 2016, all 8 finalists will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in the National Finals for a chance to win $15,000 and the title of 2016 Bartender of the Year.

** Be sure to check back for more details about the final, including information about the specific challenges these bartenders will face.

2016 Bartender of the Year Rules and Regulations

Sponsored by Liquor.com and Heaven Hill



Overview:

This is a search for the 2016 'Bartender of the Year'. This person will display total breadth and aptitude in their abilities as a professional bartender. Over the course of the three stages of the competition and across multiple varying challenges, these bartenders will display (for example) Creativity and innovation

  • Knowledge of classics
  • Product knowledge
  • Ability to think on their feet and read their guests needs
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Presentation style
  • Genuine Hospitality

Challenge:

There are three stages of the 'Bartender of the Year' competition.

  1. Submit two original recipes using Heaven Hill Brands.
  2. The recipes will be blindly judged by our panel of experts and qualifying bartenders will move on to compete at one of four regional semi-finals.
  3. First and second place winners from each regional semi-final will move on to compete at a destination location (Puerto Rico) for the chance to be crowned 2016 ‘Bartender of the Year’ and win $15,000 in cash.

Prizing:
Regional Semifinals Prizes

Liquor.com and Heaven Hill Brands will select eight qualifying bartenders to be invited to compete at each of the four regional competitions.

  • All participants will receive a $100 Visa gift card, provided by Liquor.com.
  • Judges will select a 1st and 2nd place winner.

    1st Place Prize:
    • $1,000 Visa gift card
    • A trip to Puerto Rico to compete at the National finals
    • A chance to be crowned the 2016 ‘Bartender of the Year’
    • The chance to win a grand prize of $15,000
    • Airfare and lodging accommodation for (2) nights
    • Arrive Monday June 6; Finale on Tuesday June 7, Depart Wednesday June 8
    • All prizing, airfare and accommodations provided by Liquor.com

    2nd Place Prize:
    • $500 Visa gift card
    • A trip to Puerto Rico to compete at the National finals
    • A chance to be crowned the 2016 ‘Bartender of the Year’
    • The chance to win a grand prize of $15,000
    • Airfare and lodging accommodation for (2) nights
    • Arrive Monday June 6; Finale on Tuesday June 7, Depart Wednesday June 8
    • All prizing, airfare and accommodations provided by Liquor.com


Finals Prizes:

One bartender will be chosen as the overall winner of the 2016 ‘Bartender of the Year’ Competition. The winner will receive:

  • Cash prize of $15,000
  • Feature article on Liquor.com announcing the winner
  • 3 part Liquor.com video series, distributed across Liquor.com channels
  • Travel and 2 nights lodging in San Francisco or another city (for video shoot)
  • Trophy/award (specifics of design TBD, To be provided by Liquor.com)
  • Taxes are the sole responsibility of prize winner. No substitution/transfer of prize permitted.
  • All prizing, airfare and accommodations provided by Liquor.com

Timeline:
  • August 1, 2015 12:00:01 a.m. – October 1, 2015 11:59:59 p.m. PST: Open for online recipe submissions
  • February – March 2016: Regional / Semi-final activations in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans
  • June 6th-8th 2016: Final Event, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico

General Rules:
  • This program is open to all working bartenders.
  • Competitors must be at least 21 years of age
  • Competitors must be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico

Publicity:
  • By entering this program, you are giving Liquor.com, Heaven Hill Brands, and its affiliates explicit rights to use your photo, an image of your drink, drink recipe name, and your drink recipe for publicity purposes, including but not limited to: press, social media, digital activation and promotional activation.

Selection Process:
Phase 1 – Online Entries:

For the purposes of determining the Regional finalists, entries will be assigned to the closest applicable market, as determined by the Sponsor. All complete entries submitted to www.bartenderoftheyear.liquor.com within the entry timeframe will be judged against the below criteria based on the perceived qualities of the written recipes and essay entry.

Judges will not take into consideration current employer, time spent bartending or any other personal information in the selection of Regional finalists.


Criteria:

Each competitor must enter two cocktail recipes:

  • One of the two cocktail recipes must include either Elijah Craig or Rittenhouse Rye as the primary ingredient, using a minimum of 1oz.
  • One of the two cocktail recipes must include Domaine de Canton or PAMA
  • One for the two cocktail recipes should be inspired by a classic
  • One of the two cocktail recipes should show your ability to be creative and innovate
    • Note: Use of the liqueurs or the whiskeys in either the classically inspired or the innovative cocktail is permitted. There is no requirement on which is used for either type of drink.
  • Recipes must be original. An original recipe is the product of one's own mind and is not a copy or imitation
  • Recipes must contain on more than 2.5oz. (at 40% alc./vol.) total combined alcoholic ingredients and the total volume of the ingredients shall not exceed 6oz.
  • Recipes must not exceed 7 ingredients including drops, dashes (This does not include garnishes)
  • Ingredients must be expressed in fluid ounces (.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and drops being the smallest quantities.
  • Preparation and mixing instructions must be included with your recipe.
  • Limit one full entry per person.
  • A blind judging panel will review and score the entries. Initial scores will be based on the judge's' interpretation of the written description submitted. In some cases, judges may recreate the cocktails to settle closely ranked submissions.

Each competitor must answer a short written question:

  • What does hospitality mean to you?
  • Responses must be a maximum of 250 words.

Scoring:

Inspired by a Classic (100 points):

  • Cocktail Name (10 points)
  • Appearance and Presentation (perceived based on description) (10 points)
  • Balance of Flavors, Aroma & Character (40 points)
  • Written Inspiration & Relationship to the Classic It was Inspired By (20 points)
  • Creativity (10 points)
  • Product Knowledge (10 points)

Innovative Cocktail (100 points):

  • Cocktail Name (10 points)
  • Appearance and presentation (perceived based on description) (10 points)
  • Balance of Flavors, Aroma & Character (40 points)
  • Inspiration & ability to display Innovation (20 points)
  • Creativity (10 points)
  • Product Knowledge (10 points)

Written Question (30 points):

  • What does hospitality mean to you?

Phase 2 – Regional / Semi-Final

For the purposes of selecting Semi-Finalists, regional events will be judged by local panels, as determined by the Sponsor with the assistance of Liquor.com. The regional competition rules and judging criteria will be created by Liquor.com and will be shared with all regional participants prior to the regional competitions.

Regional competitions will be held in February and March of 2016 in four markets:

  • New York
  • New Orleans
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco

Bartenders who reside outside of the participating regions and are chosen to participate are responsible for their travel expenses to the regional events (if applicable). This includes bartenders who reside in Puerto Rico. Contestants from Puerto Rico will be responsible for their travel to the US to one of the Regional locations to compete, if chosen as a finalist.

Bartenders will be chosen by a blind panel, based on their recipe submissions. Qualifying bartenders will be invited to compete at one of the four regional competitions. At each regional:

  • 8 Bartenders will compete across 2 distinct challenges
  • All participants will receive a Visa gift card
  • Judges will select a 1st and 2nd place winner

Phase 3 – Final

A total of eight finalists will be selected from the regional event winners and will compete at the finale event in Puerto Rico. For the purposes of selecting the winner of the 2016 Bartender of the Year, a panel of well-respected industry experts selected by Liquor.com and will judge the competition. Rules and judging criteria will be created by Liquor.com and will be shared with all Finalists a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the Final competition.


Guidelines and Requirements:
  • Recipes must be original. An original recipe is the product of one's own mind and is not a copy or imitation.
  • One of the two recipes must include Elijah Craig or Rittenhouse Rye. The other recipe must include either PAMA or Domaine de Canton.

Any entries attempted through the use of agencies or robotic, repetitive, automatic, programmed or similar methods will be void. Any attempt by a person to use multiple email accounts or identities to gain more entries than permitted by these Official Rules shall result in disqualification at the sole discretion of Sponsor. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the "authorized account holder" associated with the email address at the time of entry, which must comply with these Official Rules. The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned an e-mail address by the service provider or other organization that is responsible for assigning email addresses. Potential winners may be required to provide evidence (to Sponsor's satisfaction) that they are the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with a winning entry. In the event a dispute regarding the identity of the person who actually submitted an entry cannot be resolved to Sponsor's satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible. Entries and other submitted material become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Refer to Additional rules below for more details regarding the requirements for your entry.


Additional Requirements for Entry:

Entries must be in English. Entries must not allude to the overconsumption or irresponsible consumption of beverage alcohol. Entries that do not include all required information and do not adhere to the foregoing and following requirements will be considered void and will not be considered in the judging of this contest. Entries that are deemed by Sponsor in its sole discretion to be illegal, obscene, profane or not in keeping with Sponsor's image will be disqualified.


Entry Requirements:

By submitting an entry, you warrant that:

  • You are the creator of the entry
  • The entry is wholly original
  • The entry does not infringe the intellectual property, privacy or publicity rights or any other legal or moral rights of any third party, including any current or former employer, and does not defame any person or identify any person by name other identifying information
  • The entry has not previously been entered in any other contest
  • The entry has not been previously published in any medium
  • The entry does not violate any law or regulation
  • Sponsor's determination as to whether any entry potentially violates the rights of any third party is final.

Eligibility:

Employees of Heaven Hill Brands, Liquor.com, their affiliates, liquor wholesale licensees, as well as advertising/promotion agencies and their immediate family members and household members of each and retail license holders are not eligible. This promotion is void wherever prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. In the event that the contest is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor or Administrator reserves the right to discontinue or modify the Contest, or to disqualify participants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, Sponsor and Administrator shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. You must be a resident of the United States or Puerto Rico and at least 21 years of age to be eligible. Contest void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.

By accepting a prize, any winner: (a) releases Heaven Hill Brands/Liquor.com and their affiliated companies and licensed alcohol wholesalers and retailers from any/all liability claims, action or proceedings arising out of or for injuries or damages sustained while involved in any promotion activity or connection with the use of the prizes; as well as (b) consents to the use by Heaven Hill Brands/Liquor.com for promotional purposes in connection with this promotion, of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice without further compensation where permitted.

The Sponsor and participating promotional companies are not in any way liable for damage, loss or injury resulting from computer malfunctions, misdirected or incomplete entries or acceptance and use of the prize. Heaven Hill Brands/Liquor.com reserves the right in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this contest should virus, bugs or other causes beyond the control of sponsor corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the contest. The Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel terminate or suspend the contest. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communication line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries. CAUTION: Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the game is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such attempt.

Entrants will be automatically opted-in to receive messages from Liquor.com. (Entrants may unsubscribe from list at any time.)

I acknowledge that I have read and understand the rules & regulations pertaining to 2016 Bartender of the Year Sponsored by Heaven Hill Brands.

Heaven Hill Brands is a registered trademark used with permission.

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Heaven Hill
Bartender of the Year
Finalists

Born in Rome, Pietro grew up in New York and London. Following University, he began working for Eleven Madison Park. While working in the dining room, he worked closely with the sommelier team, led by current master John Regan. After 2 years on the floor, he joined the bar team. He helped implement table side Manhattan carts, ice carving, and increased collaboration between bar and kitchen. In 2013, Pietro got behind the bar at Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad Hotel. Once The Nomad Bar opened, he became Head Bartender and is currently the bar manager of the hotel.
Pietro
Collina
The Nomad Hotel
New York City, New York
The Nomad Hotel
New York City, New York
Abigail Deirdre Gullo first fell into bartending when she learned to make a Manhattan (sweet) for her beloved grandfather, Vincent. Her original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions, and have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, among others. Abigail is a member of the United States Bartenders Guild and a proud supporter of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. When she’s not behind the bar at Compere Lapin, she’s singing in a Rock-n-Roll band.
Abigail
Gullo
Compere Lapin
New Orleans, Louisiana
Compere Lapin
New Orleans, Louisiana
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Mike Henderson dropped out of college at age 20 to live on the beach and windsurf. He was drawn to bartending by a love for hospitality, and works to create incredible, eye-opening, hospitality driven experiences for his customers. He enjoys the challenge presented by the limited options behind a bar, and constantly draws inspiration from his peers to find new products and techniques. The only thing he enjoys more is spending time with his wife and daughter.
Mike
Henderson
Root Down
Denver, Colorado
Currently a full-time bartender at Standby in Detroit, Will Lee has been in the service industry his entire life. He’s been behind the bar for fourteen years, but is just realizing he can make a legitimate career out of it. He tried working a nine to five office job, but soon realized that he wasn’t built for that. That motivated him to commit full time on honing his craft: reading books, asking questions, and trying to learn from leading bartenders. There’s nothing he would rather do than bartend, and he is thrilled to be doing it in Detroit.
Will
Lee
Standby
Detroit, Michigan
Standby
Detroit, Michigan
By age 17, Naomi was hooked by the pace and rhythm of restaurant service and drawn to the drama and challenges of the bar. Eventually, she found her home at Eastern Standard in 2010. Naomi worked her way up to be the 3rd bar manager of the 10-year-old landmark, widely regarded as one of the premier cocktail bars in the country. Under Naomi’s leadership, it was named Best American Restaurant Bar in 2015. Naomi’s accolades include being part of Zagat’s 30 under 30 in 2014, and receiving the Star Chef’s Rising Star Award in 2015 with a Community Designation.
Naomi
Levy
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks
Boston, Massachusetts
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks
Boston, Massachusetts
As the Bar Manager of Dirty Habit, Brian Means has helped establish it as a destination among cocktail lovers and whiskey aficionados. The edgy, sultry bar-centric restaurant and hideaway in San Francisco's Hotel Zelos opened in early May 2014 in the former Fifth Floor Restaurant space. Means, as Bar Manager, leads the concept's innovative cocktail program, which features creative craft libations, an extensive selection of rare whiskeys, table-side service, and other surprising touches.
Brian
Means
Dirty Habit
San Francisco, California
Dirty Habit
San Francisco, California
Julia is the Head Bartender at GreenRiver, a collaboration between The Best Bar in the World Hospitality Consulting (BBITW) and Danny Meyer's Union Square Events. At GreenRiver, Julia oversees every aspect of the bar program, including staff training and management, inventory and ordering, cocktail development, and service standards. Previously, Julia was the Head Bartender at The Aviary, the James Beard Award-winning Chicago bar from Grant Achatz’s Alinea group. Born and raised in Japan, Julia brings a unique balance of discipline and creativity, both from her heritage and personal drive to excel.
Julia
Momose
GreenRiver
Chicago, Illinois
GreenRiver
Chicago, Illinois
Born in Peru, Jorge Vargas moved to the United States twelve years ago. His first job in the US was in the restaurant industry. He moved up all the way to bartending in Palo Alto, California, which is where he learned all he knows about hospitality. He’s a member of the USBG NorCal chapter, and has a certificate of Spirit Professional by the USBG and was named an Advanced Bartender by Barsmarts. Last year, he was one of the National finalists in the Manhattan Experience in New York City, and one of the National finalists for Diageo World Class.
Jorge
Vargas
Jack Rose Libation House
Los Gatos, California
Jack Rose Libation House
Los Gatos, California