Battle of bartenders: Hyderabad hosts thrilling Ultimate Bartending Championship

The 7th edition of the Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC) showcased young enthusiasts eager to demonstrate their talents
The Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC)
The Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC)Photo | Express

HYDERABAD : Putting yourself out there and doing something creative in any profession can be incredibly rewarding. One profession that exemplifies this is bartending. Often overlooked, bartending is all about creativity and skill in crafting drinks for patrons. Over the years, bartending has evolved significantly. This year, the 7th edition of the Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC) showcased young enthusiasts eager to compete. CE spoke to Gaurav Sareen, the brand ambassador of Monkey Shoulder, a key supporter of UBC, about the changes in bartending over the years.

Introducing himself and UBC, Gaurav shared, “I am the brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder and have been with the brand for three years. This is my third edition of the Ultimate Bartending Championship. This competition, which we run for bartenders, is unique and unconventional. We have five rounds: a quiz, nosing, pouring, and service, all under the theme ‘Skills Pay Bills.’ This year, we had around 1,400 registrations from eight cities, with Hyderabad hosting about 50-60 bartenders,” adding, “While the first round is a quiz, followed by a nosing round where participants identify five liquids by scent. Next is a pouring round with six measures: 15ml, 30ml, 45ml, 60ml, 75ml, and 90ml. Participants free-pour, and I measure their accuracy. The fourth round is a service round where participants remember and serve drinks based on orders displayed on posters. The top six finalists then compete in a speed round, making six cocktails in three minutes. The energy is high, with lots of pressure. Two participants from Hyderabad will compete in the national finale in July.”

Gaurav shared, the brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder.
Gaurav shared, the brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder.Photo | Express

Highlighting what makes UBC different from past editions, Gaurav mentioned, “Many competitions have gone digital, requiring bartenders to create videos or reels and sometimes spend their own money. Before COVID, physical competitions were the norm but have since diminished. UBC brings everyone together physically, which is our core aim.”

On the evolving profession of bartending, Gaurav observed, “The most successful bars in India today are run by bartenders. Bartending is now taken seriously, with bartenders setting trends, especially with whiskey cocktails. The quality and expertise of bartenders are growing, with brands providing incredible exposure.”

Discussing the scope for improvement in bartending, Gaurav advised, “Bartenders should pursue certifications in cocktails, spirits, and wine. Staying aware of industry trends and continuously learning new skills is crucial.”

The winners, Gaurav Patel and Prashanth, shared their experiences. Gaurav, pleased with his victory, said, “This is my second time representing Hyderabad. After four rounds, I faced the pressure of making six cocktails in three minutes. Despite the noise, I focused and completed my drinks in 2 minutes 20 seconds. I’ve been bartending for five years, and this was an amazing experience.”

7th edition of the Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC) showcased young enthusiasts eager to compete.
7th edition of the Ultimate Bartending Championship (UBC) showcased young enthusiasts eager to compete.Photo | Express

Prashanth, also a winner, added, “I am representing Aidu Hyderabad for the second time at UBC. The final round of making six cocktails in three minutes was both fun and challenging. The quiz and nosing rounds were also enjoyable. We are proud to represent Hyderabad in the national competition.”

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