Bar Skills Competition

Bar Skills Competition

The TUCO Bar Competition was launched in 2015 and showcased some exceptional bar talent.

The winner of the very first gold was Natasha Vahey from University of Birmingham, she says "It was a great learning experience and it was good to talk to people who working in the same world you do and see how they work in different ways, the whole TUCO experience was extremely rewarding."

Working against the clock, entrants will be asked to prepare:

  • A ‘round of four drinks’ in a bar situation
  • Signature cocktail – which will include specific ingredients
  • Two two-pint ‘pitcher’ drinks – one with alcohol, one alcohol free

You will serve the above drinks in a 15 minute competition to the judging panel. You will be expected to treat the judges as you would a group of guests in your workplace.

Entry for the 2016 competition is now closed, but why not come and support your colleagues by attending the competition?  
Entry is free of charge, TUCO members click here to book your place and suppliers wishing to attend please click here.

Competition Rules

  • Prepare a round of four drinks
  • Prepare four signature cocktails.  You will be asked to prepare a cocktail of your choice form the ingredients noted, containing no more than 100ml of alcohol. You may bring your own garnish
  • Prepare two two-pint pitchers suitable for a student bar. One alcoholic and one alcohol free. It must include a specified sponsored product, which you will be notified of after the competition closing date
  • You will have 15 minutes to prepare your drinks in a live competition environment
  • You will be advised of the time at 10 minutes and 13 minutes. Once your 15 minutes have elapsed you will have 30 seconds to complete your tasks
  • Glasses and pitchers will be available for your use. Please provide your choice of glassware for your signature cocktail
  • You may not bring any other additional equipment to the competition

Preparing for the Competition

  • Develop your skills in preparation of mixed rounds of drinks and clearing any spills as you go
  • Practice and test sample your Signature Cocktail on your colleagues/customers, requesting scores and honest feedback.
  • Prepare to answer judges’ questions on the drinks and in particular the content and flavours of your cocktail and student pitcher drink.
  • Most of all, enjoy the preparation.  Listen to new ideas and take the time to discover and learn as much as you can. There are plenty of websites, blogs and videos which will help you to develop skills.
  • Talk with your suppliers and gain knowledge and skills with their help and support.

On the Day

There will be a group briefing session which will:

  • Explain the format of the event
  • Introduce to the judges
  • Familiarise you with the bar area
  • Allow for questions and answers
  • Make the draw for your day and time will take place

On the day

 Arrive 45 minutes before your allocated competition time.  Take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.  Lay out and check any competition equipment/garnishes you have brought.  You will be introduced to the compére, who will go through your profile with you.  You will have 15 minutes to complete the competition tasks. 

Judging criteria

  • Accuracy of the order
  • Interaction with the customers (judges)
  • Quality and speed of service
  • Presentation and taste of cocktail
  • Appearance and flavour of pitcher drink




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