Ohio’s Best Bartender Contest


Over $7,000.00 in CASH & Prizes

 Buckeye Bar Expo planners are excited to announce Ohio’s Best Bartender contest to be held at the 2019 Buckeye Bar Expo on October 14, 2019 at Hollywood Casino Columbus.

 1st Place $1,000.00 Ohio Trophy plus Grand Champion Plaque for your place of work & 1 time free Audit report by BEVINCO ($500.00 Value)

2nd Place $750.00, Ohio trophy & 1 time free Audit report by BEVINCO ($500.00 Value)

3rd Place $400.00, Ohio trophy & 1 time free Audit report by BEVINCO ($500.00 Value)

4th Place $250.00, Ohio trophy & 1 time free Audit report by BEVINCO ($500.00 Value)

5th Place $100.00, Ohio trophy & 1 time free Audit report by BEVINCO ($500.00 Value)

6th Place $100.00 Gift certificate to BARPRODUCTS.COM

7th Place   $75.00 Gift certificate to BARPRODUCTS.COM

8th Place   $50.00 Gift certificate to BARPRODUCTS.COM

9th Place   $25.00 Gift certificate to BARPRODUCTS.COM

10th Place $25.00 Gift certificate to BARPRODUCTS.COM

All entrants will receive a Gift Bag valued at OVER $100.00. Items will include, 2 FREE tickets to the Buckeye Bar Expo After-Party, Limited Edition T-shirt, Limited Edition Competition V-ROD bottle opener from BARPRODUCTS.COM, 10% off at BARPRODUCTS.COM using the code OLBA10BPC and will be active until November 14th amongst other gifts.

Entry fee is $50 per person and the field will be capped at 50 Bartenders. If the full field is not met by the October 14 (Expo date) you may register the day of the event for $90.00 but no later than 2 p.m.

Click Here to Register for the Ohio’s Best Bartender Contest

Structure of Contest, Rules and Times

Meet & Greet will start PROMPTLY at 2:45pm (in the back of the exhibit hall) Must be pre-registered or paid in full by 2 p.m. if slots were available. Numbers will be drawn to determine which heat you will go in and at what station you will compete. There will also be a Q & A.

Competition time is forfeit time.

Times below are subject to change.

Heat 1 – 3:45 p.m.

Heat 2 – 4:00 p.m.

Heat 3 – 4:15 p.m.

Heat 4 – 4:30 p.m.

Heat 5 – 5:00 p.m.

Heat 6 – 5:15 p.m

Heat 7 – 5:30 p.m.

Heat 8 – 6:00 p.m.

Heat 9 – 6:15 p.m.

Heat 10 – 6:30 p.m.

Final – 7:00 p.m. (Top 5 taken to the Finals.  Winners will be announced at 7:50p.m.)

Each contestant will have a station set up with a proper collection of beverages, alcohol and mixers to make the necessary cocktails. The station will have all needed glassware and utensils. No Bartender will be allowed to use any of their own equipment. The bar will be set and can NOT be rearranged or altered.  Each Bartender will have the same setup.  Each Bartender will have a minimum of 2 minutes to get placed behind their station and to evaluate the station to confirm that is mirrors the schematic.  Anything that is missing or incorrect should be addressed at this time.  Once time starts you will not be able to stop the time and anything missing could cost you a deduction or extra time.

Stations will be set up as “portable bars” on a table clothed and skirted banquet table. There will be a maximum of 5 stations. Stations will be numbered from left to right when standing behind the bar.  Click here for a schematic of the bar. 


The QUALIFYING round for each Bartender will consist of making FOUR cocktails and being judged on those cocktails in 6 categories…….one of which will be for crowd applause.

The Finals will consist of making the same 4 cocktails.

To start the round the Emcee will give a countdown of “3-2-1-GO” and the time will start. Bartenders may start with their hands wherever they like but may not be touching anything or have anything in their hands

Speed (250pts) – When a Bartender is finished making the 4 drinks, they will place it in a designated spot at the front of their work station. Coasters or “markers” will be provided. Once you have placed your final cocktail in the designated spot your time is completed, time will stop and you can NOT touch your work space again. Doing so will result in a 50pt deduction. You will be timed by a Judge and the scoring will go on a sliding scale based on your time.  Judging sheet is attached.

Pour Test (150pts) – When all contestants have finished preparing their drinks, BEVINCO will measure the bottles to determine how closely each bartender was to the targeted amounts that were to be poured. The Bartenders will be awarded a maximum of 150 points for “perfect pours” Each pour over or under will be a deduction of 10 points. There will be an allowance of 1/8 oz. over or under for each pour. Spill-Stop 285-50 pour spouts will be used.

Presentation (100pts) – Each drink will be rated on presentation, including the use of the proper glassware, garnish, straws, look and drink/ice level. Any missing ingredient, improper procedure or improper glassware will result in a 5pt deduction per occurrence. 50 point deduction for a cocktail that cannot or should not be served.

Workspace (100pts) – Each contestant will be judged on the organization and cleanliness of their workspace. Points will be deducted for spillage, disorganization, improper placement of bottles or utensils. Everything must go back where it started. As a reminder, once you have placed your final cocktail in the designated spot your time is completed and you can NOT touch your work space again. A 5-point deduction will be given for spills, improper placement(s) & a 25-point deduction for breaks. This will include your top bar space area, floor and trash can area.

Crowd Applause (100pts) – At the end of the Qualifying round and in the finals round the Emcee will announce your name and where you work and ask the crowd to make some noise for that competitor. This is a GREAT category to pick up some points that may have been lost earlier in the round. “EXTRA CREDIT” So tell a friend, bring a friend and play the crowd.

 Taste (100pts)  2 cocktails will be blindly judged. They will be the Margarita & the New Riff  “Beast of Burden.” Judging will be on the overall taste and balance of the cocktail. For example the Margarita should taste like a Margarita and not a glass of Tequila, lime juice or Sour Mix. Does the New Riff cocktail have too much lime, not enough Bourbon, too much or too little Ginger Syrup?


NEW RIFF “Beast of Burden”

2 oz New Riff Bourbon

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 oz REAL Ginger Syrup

1 oz Finest Call lime juice

Put all ingredients in tin Shake and strain into highball glass with ice

Garnish – Lime wheel and Mint sprig


Long Island Iced Tea

½ oz Rum

½ oz Gin

½ oz Vodka

½ oz Triple

4 oz Finest Call Sour Mix

Coca Cola

Lemon Squeeze

Place rum, gin, vodka, triple & sour mix into a tin. Shake, pour over ice in Pint glass. Top with Coca Cola and garnish with a lemon squeeze.

Tall Straw




1 ½ oz Rum

3 limes squeezes

6 Mint leaves

1 bar spoon sugar

Soda water

Combine Rum, lime squeezes, mint leaves, ice & sugar into mixing glass, add ice shake aggressively in tin, roll into Pint glass.

Top with soda

Garnish with mint sprig

Tall Straw


MARGARITA on the rocks/no salt

1 ½ oz Tequila

½ oz Triple

½ oz Finest Call Lime juice

½ oz Finest Call  Simple Syrup

2 oz Finest Call Sour Mix

Combine all ingredients in a tin with ice, shake and strain over ice into a Collins glass

Garnish Lime Squeeze