Every year, Imbibe Magazine and Campari sponsor Negroni Week. Thousands of bars and restaurants from around the world participate to donate funds to their favorite causes and showcase a classic cocktail. Locally, Victoria hosts a Negroni Week Kickoff Cocktail Competition. We caught up with a few of the contestants to garner some of their bartending competition wisdom.
Bartending Competition Wisdom
What makes a drink ‘great’? What pushes it over the edge from ‘tastes good’ to ‘something special’? Solomon, Jhol, and Sam share their thoughts.
One thing I always look for in a great competitor is someone who can not only make something flashy but also someone who can make something I want to drink. A lot of people can make something with a lot of pop, but I ask, “Do I want to finish this drink? Do I want to order it again?”
Put a lot of consideration into your thesis. Everyone in a competition like this is an outstanding bartender. The more prepared you are with an interesting story or gimmick, the better it gets. People bring costumes and musical interludes. It makes it theater. We all know you’re going to make a great drink, so it’s about the bells and whistles.
This is one of the best days of the year, I think. I love the brands, but I learn so much here from the other bartenders. It’s a great collaboration.