The book I read immediately previous to The Cocktail Competition Handbook was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please! There is a chapter in her book about award shows and how you convince yourself they are subjective and dumb but how you actually really, really hope you win. She also talks about how important it is to commune with the other people up for the same award and make some statement, either radical or hilarious, in the process of “competing for the pudding”.
Andy Ives, the author of The Cocktail Competition Handbook, doesn’t go so far as to suggest that you wear matching outfits or behave like you are in a beauty pageant but he does give a lot of advice on how to present yourself at a cocktail competition and part of it is being friendly with your fellow competitors.
Beginning by breaking down roughly what the hosts of competitions are looking for at local, branded and international levels and moving through preparation, competition day and even advice for judges of competitions, The Cocktail Competition Handbook hits all the marks.
Reading The Cocktail Handbook is a great way for bartenders that are new to competitions to ready themselves for every aspect. From inspiration for the drink, presentation and even self-promotion. This is one great advantage to having this book come out at this point in history.
Ives deals directly with the influence that social media has on cocktail competitions. These are tips that not only those new to cocktail competitions will benefit from but some experienced cocktail competitors will find useful. What photos do you post of your drink? How many posts are too many? Are you spacing out your promotions properly?
As a bartender that has taken part in dozens of cocktail competitions I can tell you there are several notions in this book I had never explored. I plan on keeping this one around should I decide to start entering competitions again sometime soon.
There are a few interviews in this book too. Interviews with winners of several competitions ranging in profile from “Fun Local Piss Up” to “Life Changing Global Affair”. Hearing tips in the words of people that have taken part in competitions of a calibre you aren’t familiar with is a great way to humble yourself, while also getting excited for the next time you have a chance to use these tips and tricks.
After reading this book you will find yourself much closer to getting the “pudding” and you won’t even to have worked for 6 seasons on a TV show like Amy Pohler did.