EVERY GLASS IS A BLANK CANVAS
But only a true artist can turn a blank canvas into something extraordinary.
Artistry begins with imagination. The kind that blends unexpected ingredients to create something that you’ve never tasted before. It’s the imagination that takes what we know about cocktails and flips it on its head. That’s the secret ingredient, the magic that makes all the difference.
The USBG’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin is where the cocktail-making world discovers its next great artist, a bartender whose creativity and passion pushes the industry forward. We call this artist the Most Imaginative Bartender.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this competition, this year’s finals will take place at Laverstoke Mill, the renowned BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin distillery, on the outskirts of London. The grand prize will include a trip to Tuscany to learn about a selection of the botanicals that make up our world-famous gin. The winner will also appear in GQ magazine where they will be featured as the 2016 Most Imaginative Bartender.
Show us your imagination.
Join us for The Most Imaginative Bartender Regional Competitions.
- AustinJune 6
- DetroitJune 8
- SeattleJune 14
- New OrleansJune 20
- New YorkJune 27
- ChicagoJune 27
- Los AngelesJune 29
- MiamiJuly 5
- Las VegasJuly 6
2015 Most Imaginative Bartender
Last year was an unprecedented year for Austin-based bartender Justin Lavenue. A few short months after opening his own bar, he went on to win the 2015 USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Competition presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin, which landed him in the pages of GQ magazine.
But that was only the beginning. Justin’s relentless passion for the art of cocktail making has helped him stand out among the best in the industry. He was named one of Food & Wine’s 2015 Best New Mixologists and Eater’s 2015 Austin Bartender Of The Year. Since its opening, Justin’s bar has been thriving. People come from all over the world to taste his winning cocktail, The Poet’s Muse, which was inspired by a Japanese haiku.
HOW IT WORKS
How does the competition work?
- Starting on April 18th, find the city nearest you and book a time to present your original cocktail.
- Create your original cocktail, keeping the official rules and cocktail requirements in mind.
- We will provide BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin and ice, but you should bring all other ingredients, glassware and bar tools necessary to make your cocktail.
- Coming out of the local competitions, 100 bartenders from North America will be selected as regional finalists and will advance to one of the 10 regional competitions. Travel costs will be covered.
- One winner will be selected from each regional competition to move on to the finals in London.
Who can sign up for this?
The competition is open only to all US residents (except residents of Utah), but you have to be over 25 years old. You must have a valid passport, especially if you’re planning on making it all the way to the Finals in England. But more importantly, you need to have a ton of passion and imagination when it comes to the art of making cocktails.
How do I enter?
If you have all of the above covered, find a city near you then book a time and a place to showcase your cocktail skills. You’ll be presenting your original cocktail to USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin representatives. They’ll be visiting 29 cities across the country, so make sure to pick one that’s convenient for you.
What will I be judged on?
You’ll be asked to create an original cocktail, which will be judged on appearance, aroma, imagination and taste. Here are some important cocktail requirements that you’ll want to keep in mind.
What happens if I win the regional finals?
The regional winners will be off to London to compete in the Finals, between late August and early September. All the winners will also be featured in an issue of GQ magazine. During the Finals, you will be competing in various bartending challenges. The judging panel will pick one grand prize winner based on the highest scores.
What if I win the Finals?
Congratulations. You’ll now want to get ready to be featured on a promotional cover of GQ magazine. You’ll also want to pack your bags for a trip to Tuscany to learn about a selection of the botanicals featured in BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin. Not to mention, you’ll now be known as the 2016 Most Imaginative Bartender.
- Six ingredients. That’s all you get. Homemade bitters count as one. Infused liquors or syrups also count as one.
- Your cocktail must be gin-based and include BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin.
- Every recipe must be expressed in fluid ounces, divided in whole numbers (0.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz.), with dashes or drops being the smallest quantities.
- Your total cocktail volume must be between 3 oz. and 11 oz.
- No flaming alcohol or use of flames near alcohol.
- Please bring enough of your ingredients to prepare 3 portions of your cocktail for the judges.
- Your cocktail should have a great name, which should not include any copyrighted or trademarked material or any retailer’s name. But you could use the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin brand in the name.
- Imagination is everything. Your cocktail will definitely be judged on it. This means that we’ll be looking closely at the cocktail’s creative concept and how well it uses modern experimental techniques, ingredients, and flavor combinations.
USBG’s Most Imaginative Bartender Contest Program Requirements
A representative of The United States Bartenders’ Guild (“USBG”) and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® will visit approximately twenty-nine (29) markets in the United States. During this visit, bartenders will have a chance to create imaginative gin-based cocktails using BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin and register for the USBG’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition.
You will be required to prepare and/or submit an original cocktail recipe that meets the Recipe Criteria described below (your “Entry”). There is a limit of one (1) Entry per person.
- The recipe may have no more than six (6) ingredients. Homemade bitters count as one ingredient, and infused liquors/syrups count as one ingredient.
- Recipes must be expressed in fluid ounces, divided in respectively whole numbers (0.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and/or drops being the smallest quantities.
- The recipe must be gin-based and include BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin.
- The content of the cocktail must be between 3 oz. and 11 oz. (including dashes and drops).
- No flaming alcohol or use of flames near alcohol.
- You must specify a name for your recipe. The name may not include any copyrighted or trademarked material or any retailer’s name, except that you may use the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® brand in the name.
Imagination is a key component of the Competition. “Imagination” will be judged based on how well an Entry demonstrates a creative cocktail concept and how well it uses modern, experimental techniques, ingredients, flavors, and flavor combinations in the execution of the cocktail/mixed drink.
By entering, you agree to the attached Terms and Conditions of Entry.
How to Participate
To register, visit www.mostimaginativebartender.com, find a bar near you, and sign up to compete at one of the available times.
- Bar Visit: Between April and June 2016, a panel of judges will visit bars in a city near you. During the visit, you will be asked to create your Entry, and you will be judged based on the General Judging Criteria described below. USBG will select no more than ten (10) Local Finalists in each market or group of markets based on the scores.
- Local Finalist Requirements: Except where prohibited, each Local Finalist will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within seven days. If a Local Finalist returns these documents on time, he/she will be invited to participate in the Regional Finals in one of approximately nine (9) cities.
- Regional Finals: The Regional Finals will take place between June and July 2016. See the website for specific dates and times in each city. During the Regional Finals, each of the ten (10) Local Finalists per city will be asked to create his/her Entry. Local Finalists can use their own equipment or use the equipment provided by USBG. Local Finalists will be judged based on the General Judging Criteria described below. There will be four (4) judges. One USBG Judge, one Bacardi Ambassador, one Bar Industry Influencer, and one fourth judge (who will judge on a blind basis). Based on the Judge’s scores USBG will select the top scoring Regional Finalist per market or group of markets. Feedback from the scorecards will be provided to each competitor by USBG.
- Regional Finalist Prize: The nine (9) Regional Finalists (plus one (1) from Canada) will each receive a trip to the UK to compete in the Finals between late August and early September. The trip includes: (a) round-trip coach class airfare for one person from an airport close to the Regional Finalist’s home to London; and (b) hotel accommodations for four nights. Finalists will also be featured in an issue of GQ magazine. GQ may require a Regional Finalist to sign additional release forms before being photographed. Please see the Prize Details Section below for additional details. The approximate retail value of the trip is $5,000. The actual value of the trip will vary depending on various factors, including the date of booking, the point of departure, and the dates of travel.
Finals in London, England
The Finals will take place over four days between London and the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Distillery at Laverstoke Mill in England. During the Finals, the Regional Finalists will compete against each other in various bartending challenges. The challenges will be judged according to the criteria disclosed at the event. Participants can use their own equipment or use the equipment provided by USBG. The judging panel will pick one Grand Prize winner based on the highest scores.
The following General Judging Criteria will be used to judge a contestant’s cocktail for all rounds:
- Appearance of Drink: 1 –8 points
- Aroma of Drink: 1 – 4 points
- Imagination (judged upon demonstrating a creative cocktail concept and by using creative ingredients, textures, flavors, and expressions that will be used in executing a cocktail/mixed drink that enhances some/all of the ten botanicals in BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin): 1 – 7 points
- Taste of Drink: 1 –15 points
The following criteria will ONLY be used in case of a tie. The points will not be added unless there is the need to break a tie:
- Overall impression of drink: 1-4 points
The Grand Prize winner will be featured on a limited run promotional (mock) cover of GQ magazine, as determined by GQ. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive a trip to Tuscany, Italy to learn about some of the botanicals featured in Bombay Sapphire from their country of origin. The trip includes: (a) round-trip coach class airfare for one (1) person from an airport close to the winner’s home to the destination city in Italy; (c) hotel accommodations for four (4) nights; (d) ground transportation to certain events during the trip; and (e) certain meals during the trip. Please see the Prize Details Section below for additional details. The approximate retail value of the trip is $7,500. The actual value of the trip will vary depending on various factors, including the date of booking, the point of departure, and the dates of travel. The trip will take place between June and August 2017.
Prize Details (for all Trips)
A winner is responsible for paying any income taxes and any and all other costs and expenses not listed above. He/she will be required to provide a Social Security Number for tax reporting purposes. Any prize details not specified above will be determined by USBG, in its sole discretion. A prize may not be transferred and must be accepted as awarded. A winner may not request cash or a substitute prize; however, USBG reserves the right to substitute a prize (or component thereof) with another prize (or component thereof) of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason, as determined by USBG, in its sole discretion. Winners must travel on the dates specified by USBG. Once travel documents are issued, travel arrangements cannot be changed. If a winner cannot travel on the dates specified by USBG, he/she will not be permitted to compete in the next stage of the Competition. Winners are responsible for securing passports, visas, and any other documents necessary for international travel.
USBG’s Most Imaginative Bartender Contest Terms and Conditions of Entry
No purchase is necessary to participate in the Contest.
- Sponsor: The Contest is offered by United States Bartenders’ Guild, 2654 West Horizon Ridge Parkway, Suite B5 PMB 252, Henderson, NV 89052.
- Eligibility: The Contest is open only to individuals who (a) are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (except residents of Utah), (b) are at least twenty-five (25) years old as of the date of entry, and (c) have a passport valid through October 2017. Employees of USBG, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (“Bacardi”), GQ Magazine, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of those employees, are not eligible to enter.
- Agreement to Terms and Conditions: By participating in this Contest, you indicate your unconditional agreement to these Terms and Conditions, the Program Requirements, and USBG’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless you comply with all requirements set forth herein. USBG reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions or the Program Requirements at any time, without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on www.mostimaginativebartender.com. Moreover, by participating, you represent that you are complying with any policies your employer may have regarding participation in contests of this nature.
- Rights to Entries: By entering, you: (a) grant USBG, Bacardi, GQ Magazine, and each of their agents, licensees, and assigns (collectively, the “Rights Holders”) the unconditional (non-exclusive) right and permission to copyright, reproduce, encode, store, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, publicly perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works of, exhibit, and otherwise use your Entry as-is or as-edited in any media throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from you or any other party for five (5) years from the date you submitted the Entry; (b) waive any rights of copyrights, trademark rights, privacy rights, and any other legal or moral rights that may preclude the Rights Holders’ use of your Entry, as outlined above, or require any further permission for the Rights Holders to use the Entry; and (c) agree not to instigate, support, maintain, or authorize any action, claim, or lawsuit against the Rights Holders on the grounds that any use of the Entry, or any derivative works, infringes any of your rights as creator of the Entry, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights, and moral rights.
- Publicity: Except where prohibited, by participating in the Contest, you agree that the Rights Holders and any media attending events related to the Contest may use your name, likeness, voice, opinions, photographs, audio-visual footage, recipe, biographical information, state of residence, and/or any other record of your participation in the Contest for promotional purposes in any press releases, advertisements, television, radio, film, documentary, internet, or in any other publication or media without further payment or consideration.
- General Conditions: In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Contest is impaired in any way, USBG may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest; or (b) award the prizes according to the criteria set forth above from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. USBG reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the operation of the Contest, violates these Terms and Conditions or the USBG Code of Code posted below; or acts in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. USBG’s failure to enforce any term of these Terms and Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof of sending any communication to USBG by mail shall not be deemed proof of receipt of that communication by USBG. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void in Utah and where prohibited.
- Release and Limitations of Liability: By participating in the Contest, you agree to release and hold harmless USBG, Bacardi, GQ Magazine, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Contest or the processing of Entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property. You further agree to indemnify, release, and hold the Released Parties harmless from any claims that their use of your Entry (as contemplated in these Rules) violates or infringes upon the rights of any third party. You waive the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.
- Disputes: Except where prohibited, you agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in Nevada. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of USBG in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Nevada, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of Nevada or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Nevada.