So you want to be an Ultimate Bartender?

You want to know what makes an Ultimate Bartender? Check this out!

Becoming the Shao Khan of bartenders, bar managers or bar owners takes time and practice and a lot of citrus juice in tiny cuts on your hands. Your head has to be in the right space to have a truly satisfying shift behind a bar.

So how does one become an Ultimate Bartender? Luckily there are no fighters from the Outworld in Mortal Kombat to defeat. These are a few of the things you might not realize that bartender, who is blowing your mind, has racing through their’s. Each of these skills are showcased in the annual Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge, more on that later.

Ultimate Bartender Championship | Bartender Atlas

There will always be debates about the merits of jiggering (using a tiny measuring cup) or free-pouring  (exactly what it sounds like) when making cocktails. Opinions here do not matter, what matters is how accurate you pour. Daniel didn’t just walk into the dojo trying to kick Johnny in the face, he had to paint the fence for a week first. Practice is key. By having an entire staff trained to the same metrics, you can ensure that the Blood & Sand Cocktail made Tuesday will taste the same as the one made Friday.

Ultimate Bartender Championship | Bartender Atlas

What’s in that bottle you just poured from? Where was it made? How long has it been made for? Who made it? Most importantly, what does it taste like? These are all things an Ultimate Bartender will keep in mind when mixing drinks.You have to know what weapons you have in your arsenal before embarking on a Legend of Zelda like journey. Ingredients work together for a variety of reasons and any Ultimate Bartender should know those reasons. What guest is gonna trust you with their mouth when you can’t even tell them what you are putting in it?

As an Ultimate Bartender, tips are not a primary concern. You won’t get a free life for collecting a hundred coins, but the amount of money the bar makes in a night directly affects your livelihood. In order for the bar to make money, cocktails must be priced accordingly. You wouldn’t want to use a $200 bottle of scotch whisky in a slushee, nor should you be recommending or requesting a Martini made with gin you saw collecting dust at the heavy metal bar you were at until 3am. Knowing what the bottles on your back bar cost and how to use them properly will make for a fun night and will keep the bar open.

Ultimate Bartender Championship | Bartender Atlas

Once you know the history and cost of the spirits that you are carefully measuring into your shaker tins and mixing glasses, get those drinks out! Ever seen Sonic collect 900 gold rings and burst through the finish line breaking all previously known records in the Aztec temple level? Think you can do that with your cocktail skills?

Ultimate Bartender Championship | Bartender Atlas

If you are bartender that wants to up their skills or an avid admirer of bartenders, Monkey Shoulder Whisky will be hosting their annual Ultimate Bartender Challenge Tournaments all over the world in the coming weeks and months. If you are a bartender, you should apply to compete. If you are the highest scoring bartender in Canada, you win an all expenses paid trip to Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans, a Ultimate Bartender Challenge Championship Ring (BALLER!) and a CASE of Monkey Shoulder 3 Grain Whisky! If you just want to come and watch, you can do that too! Here is a video from last year’s UBC in Toronto.

– April 18th at Civil Liberties
Vancouver – April 20th at Republic

Moscow – March 27th
St Petersburg–  March 29th

Edinburgh – March 26th
Manchester – April 9th
Cardiff –  April 23rd
Brighton – May 7th
London – May 14th
Madrid – May 29th

Post in collaboration with Monkey Shoulder Whisky and PMA Canada. Please drink responsibly.

Special thanks to Civil Liberties for letting us make of mess of their bar, all in the name of image making.

*= French culinary term for “get it together, man!”