The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49



Monkey Shoulder’s ‘Epic’ Ultimate Bartender Championship Returns



Back with a bang for the third year, Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship has launched its 2016 search for the country’s most ‘kick-ass’ bartending talent. With a final at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and the enviable prize of a fully-stocked pop-up bar at London Cocktail Week for the winner, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? We just might enter ourselves…

What are they looking for?

Monkey Shoulder are after ‘the skills that pay the bills’ – and these are no easy, run-of-the-mill bartending requirements. Challenges include rounds on Knowledge, Mixing, Pouring and Nosing. There’s even a Stock Take round set to test back-of-house organisational skills, and a tricky Tray Service challenge for the final competitors.

Last year over 150 bartenders took part, with the Dead Parrot team from West Sussex taking both the crown and almost £13,000 in takings from London Cocktail Week. This year there’s a twist – each contestant will compete as an individual rather than a team, so it’s every man and woman for themselves. Yikes.

Grant Neave is Monkey Shoulder’s brand amBADASSador (a title we suspect he gave himself) and he thinks UBC is best described as ‘a mash up of Tough Mudder, Britain’s Got Talent, The Apprentice and Eurovision for the bartending community’. Dramatic reality TV analogies aside, the competition also nurtures and supports the next generation of bartenders, and will help launch the careers of some super talented and dedicated people. Cheers, Grant!

What’s the prize?

Ok, we’re officially jealous now. The lucky top five will get an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail festival in July 2016, where they’ll compete in the final and hope to become UK Champion. Then the Champion gets to come back home to run a fully stocked bar at London Cocktail Week, which doesn’t sound too shabby.

When does it start?

The competition kicks off with UK regional heats in April and May, starting with Aberdeen on April 17th. Registration is open now on the UBC website following their official launch on Tuesday night – and of course, the unconventional Monkey Shoulder team couldn’t resist making that launch as epic as possible. Take a look at the bonkers promotional video they’ve made:

So how do you enter?

Head on over to to register and find out more.

You can also check out the Facebook pageTwitter and Monkey Shoulder website.

Our fingers are crossed, our passports are ready and our intensive training programme for the Nosing round is well under way. Good luck!

By Miranda Langford

Picture of The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)


Be the first to hear the latest news, get sneaky peeks inside upcoming issues of The Cocktail Lovers magazine, receive special offers and lots more. (And we promise we won’t share your details with anyone else).

To get the latest copy of our gorgeous print magazine just click on the cover!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Cocktail Lovers magazine is packed with features, fashion, food, travel, interviews, news, recipes – all written from a cocktail lover’s perspective. Published four times a year, take your pick from the luxurious print edition or get your fix in the page-turning digital format – either way, it couldn’t be easier to start a subscription or order back issues. And why keep all the cocktail goodness to yourself? Share the love by setting up a gift subscription. We ship pretty much everywhere in the world, so we’ve got you covered. Start your subscription today!

The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 48
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 47
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 46
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49
The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 49

JOIN us!

Join us at The Cocktail Lovers and be the first to hear the latest news, get our new magazine and receive specials offers. (And we don’t share your details with anyone else.)