Live contest rules for the Bartenders Ball on August 1, 2022

If it’s not August 1 yet when you’re reading this, you can still sign up here to reserve a spot: Most of the competitions will still have a couple of slots, it looks like, so you can sign up when you arrive. First place receives $100 plus gift cards and massive bragging rights. Second place, $50 plus!



Bartenders are given a sponsor liquor – this year, it’s a choice between Smoke Lab’s Classic Vodka and their more distinctive Aberseed Vodka. Ice and basic mixers are supplied – if you want to add another liquor, that’s legit but you’d be advised to bring it with you. We’ll have many major brands, but no guarantee that any specific one will be on hand besides the Smoke Lab.


Participants develop their own recipes. They are given up to one minute to prepare their space, then up to 5 minutes to mix their drink. Each drink will be photographed and judged (1- 5) on appearance, then poured out into 3 sample glasses for the judges to sample and assess (1 – 10). If the judges have any questions, they may ask them as well.

Guinness Perfect Pint

Pints are scored against the following criteria:


  • Raise branded Guinness glass to light and check for cleanliness.
  • Hold glass at a 45 degree angle below the spout.
  • Open the handle all the way forward, pouring on the logo side of the glass.
  • Fill glass 3⁄4 of the way while NOT allowing spout to touch beer.
  • Present beer with logo toward consumer.
  • Do not leave Guinness below spout to prevent drips landing in beer.
  • Allow Guinness to “surge and settle” for 100 seconds.
  • Top off Guinness by pushing the handle away from you and pouring straight into beer.
  • Do not let spout touch beer.


  • Present glass with logo facing consumer.
  • Head should be proud of the rim.
  • No spillage allowed.
  • Head should be 1⁄2 inch to 3⁄4 inch high. (Not touching top of harp.)
  • No frog eyes (large bubbles) on head.

*Each bullet above counts as one point for a possible total of 14 points. Tie breaker goes to the bartender who has the most attractive Guinness pint overall at the end of the pour.


Each contestant makes a Gin Fizz – recipe and ingredients provided (see below). Contestants have 3 minutes max to make the drink, and they are judged (1 – 5) on the taste and (1 – 10) on their performance while making the drink.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (about 1/2 ounce)
  • Club soda, to top (about 1 ounce)
  1. Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white to a shaker and vigorously dry-shake (without ice) for about 15 seconds.
  2. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  3. Double-strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with club soda.

Speed Pour

Each competitor gets 8 small glasses and a magnum of wine. When the head judge starts the timer, they open the bottle and pour as quickly and evenly as possible. Points are awarded for equally full glasses and for speed; points are subtracted for spillage.