The USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Competition Presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® is where new ideas and ingredients blend together to create the extraordinary. It’s this melding of thoughts and inspiration where creativity is born.
Now in its 12th year, the competition seeks out bartenders who are at the forefront of artistry in cocktail-making. The finals will take place in London, which is located near Laverstoke Mill, home of the renowned BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin distillery.
This is your chance to create your masterpiece. Enrollment is completely free. You only need to bring your ingredients, glassware, and bartending tools to the events. If you make it to the finals, your airfare and hotel will be covered.
Your imagination could change your life.
Enrollment is limited. Sign up now.
Join us for the Most Imaginative Bartender Local Competitions:
How It Works
How does the competition work?
Starting on March 1st, 2018, find the city nearest you and book a time to present your original cocktail at the designated bar. Online enrollment closes March 31st at 11:59PM EST.
Create your original cocktail, keeping the Official Rules and cocktail requirements in mind.
Please provide all ingredients, glassware, product, and bar tools necessary to make your cocktail. The judges will provide the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin and ice.
Coming out of the local competitions, 80 bartenders from the United States and Canada will be selected as regional finalists and will advance to one of 8 regional competitions. Airfare and hotel will be covered.
The Regional Finals will take place between May 21, 2018 and June 26, 2018.
2 winners will be selected from each regional competition to move on to the finals in London.
The competition is open only to US and Canadian residents (except residents of Utah), and you have to be over 25 years old and employed full-time (30+ hours per week) at a bar. 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.
You’ll be asked to create an original cocktail, which will be judged on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination. Here are some important cocktail requirements that you’ll want to keep in mind.
The regional winners will head down to New Orleans for an educational experience at Tales of the Cocktail in July, and then move on to London to compete in the Finals in September. 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.
Congratulations! You’ll now be known as the Most Imaginative Bartender for 2018, joining an elite group of bartenders recognized worldwide. The Grand Prize winner will be featured in digital content on GQ and other Conde Nast digital properties, as determined by GQ, and will receive a stipend of $10,000 from USBG for his/her services.
How do I enter?
Book a date and time in the city determined for your region to showcase your cocktail skills. You’ll be presenting your original cocktail to USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin representatives. They’ll be visiting 30 cities across the US and Canada, so make sure to pick the one that’s convenient for you. Prior to your judging date, a representative from BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® will contact you directly to confirm the location and address for your selected city and timeslot.
- All ingredients needed for your cocktail, excluding BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin and ice which will be provided.
- All bar tools you need to create your cocktail.
- All glassware needed for your cocktail.
- Prepare 2 portions of your cocktail for the judges.
- Present your cocktail and inspiration to the judges.
- See Official Competition Rules for detailed rules.
- The cocktail must be gin-based and include BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin. You can use as many ingredients as you like.
- Every recipe must be expressed in fluid ounces, divided in respectively whole numbers (0.5 oz., 1 oz., 2oz.), with dashes and/or drops being the smallest quantities.
- 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.
- Ingredients must be safe for human consumption.
- Please plan to prepare 2 portions of your cocktail for the local competition.
- Your cocktail should have a great name, which should not include any copyrighted or trademarked material of any retailer’s name. But you could use the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin brand in the name.
- Imagination is everything. Imagination will be judged based on how well you demonstrate a creative cocktail concept and how well you use creative ingredients, textures, flavors, and expressions in the execution of the cocktail/mixed drink that enhances some/all of the ten botanicals in BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin.