ALL SMILES: Over 50 participants at the Ultimate Bartender Championship.
ALL SMILES: Over 50 participants at the Ultimate Bartender Championship.Photo: KD

Goa's bartending contest raises a toast to Sujan Shetty, Radhika S

Bartending skills of over Goan 50 bartenders were on full display at the 7th edition of Ultimate Bartender Championship by Monkey Shoulder at Vamos in Vagator

How do you like your drink, ma’am? Would you like to experiment with something different? Well, that is a common refrain you’ll hear, if you visit a bar in Goa. Bartending, it’s not just about classic ‘shaken and stirred’, it’s a lot more.

And, bartending was at its peak at the 7th edition of Ultimate Bartender Championship by Monkey Shoulder. The event was organised by William Grant & Sons – owners of the free-spirited blended malt brand – on Wednesday (June 26) at Vamos in Vagator.

Here, the bartenders served one drink at a time with their magical hands. Dressed in black T-shirts, with a cool phrase ‘skills pay bills’, these dapper bartenders gathered around the bar-counter mixing, moving and shaking various drinks to win the bartender championship.

ALL SMILES: Over 50 participants at the Ultimate Bartender Championship.
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Over 50 participants, from restaurants and colleges in Goa, took part in the contest to become the national mixology champions. From quiz to mixing, pouring, nosing (guess the spirits) and nailing the perfect six drinks to serve – all this to be done in three minutes by six finalists. The focus of the contest was on essential skills of a bartender.

FINAL ROUND:  Radhika S from Miguel's - Cocktails & Petiscos stirs it up in the competition.
FINAL ROUND: Radhika S from Miguel's - Cocktails & Petiscos stirs it up in the competition.Photo: KD

Rishi from Hideaway, who was one of the finalists says, “It was my first time in the event, and there was a lot that I learnt while here. It was great to be in the finalist team, but the last task can be overwhelming. There is something everyone can learn from this.”

The top finalists from Goa were Sujan Shetty from Slow Tide and Radhika S from Miguel's - Cocktails & Petiscos. They will now compete with other city-round finalists at the grand finale.

ALL SMILES: Over 50 participants at the Ultimate Bartender Championship.
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On being the only girl in the competition, Radhika says, “I was overwhelmed with the result. Being the finalist has made me feel on top of the World! Though, there was a lot of pressure to perform, I’m happy to go to the next level.” She says this as she hugs her certificate and boarding pass.

Chatting with GT Digital, Gaurav Sareen, the brand ambassador of Monkey Shoulder India, says, "Goa is definitely going international in terms of bartending. Post-COVID-19, India is being seen in the top best bars in Asia. This alone shows that the growth is exponential”. 

TASTE THE SPIRIT: Gaurav Sareen, the brand ambassador of Monkey Shoulder India sips on the contestants drink.
TASTE THE SPIRIT: Gaurav Sareen, the brand ambassador of Monkey Shoulder India sips on the contestants drink.Photo: KD

He further injects; “we wanted to run a competition, where we wanted to bring the community together – where we believe the skills can pay bills, where the bartenders need to learn and master their skills. With the Ultimate Bartender Championship, we aim to acknowledge and reward the skills of these champions”.

Gaurav shared how bartending has become experimental and caught the attention of today’s youth, who would willingly give up a corporate job to go behind the bar counters; “back in the time, people would love to drink their whiskey with water or soda, but now there is so many cocktails made with whiskey. It’s not just the consumer, who is willing to experiment, but also the bartender, who is also confident to make that drink. Bartending is now becoming one of the most preferred jobs. Some people have even quit their jobs to become bartenders”.

ALL SMILES: Over 50 participants at the Ultimate Bartender Championship.
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THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL: Sujan Shetty from Slow Tide calmly pours his final drink.
THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL: Sujan Shetty from Slow Tide calmly pours his final drink.Photo: KD

The championship is structured to test the upcoming bartenders in India and ascertain their proficiency on all aspects of bartending as indeed, its skills that pay the bills.

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