Industry News

Tales of the Cocktail and Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky Announce 2017 Ultimate Bartender Championship

Ultimate Bartender Championship
Country’s Top Bartenders Will Judge Third Annual Competition and Lead Panel Discussion on State of the Bartending Industry.

New Orleans (May 10, 2017) – Tales of the Cocktail and Monkey Shoulder, the 100 percent malt whisky and three time winner of Drinks International’s trendiest Scotch announce the nationwide 2017 Ultimate Bartender Championship (UBC). Bartenders will compete in a series of five rounds of challenges that test the real “skills that pay the bills͟”. This year’s UBC will kick off on May 23 in Miami, FL, before visiting New York, NY (June 27), Chicago, IL (August 8), Austin, TX (September 26), and California (October).

Smooth and rich on its own, Monkey Shoulder Whisky plays exceptionally well with others, too. Monkey Shoulder is made for mixing and enjoyed in a variety of cocktails, which makes it a perfect spirit for competing mixologists to incorporate into their UBC cocktails.

“Given Monkey Shoulder’s prevelance in the craft cocktail scene, we’ve had a ton of success with these competitons the past few years and are excited to find our new champions in 2017.” said Monkey Shoulder’s U.S. Ambassador Sebastien Derbomez.

Bartenders will compete against one another in a series of challenges highlighting aspects of service and cocktail knowledge in a fast paced setting. Challenges include:

  • Quiz Show: Participants will answer 50 multiple choice questions in ten minutes
  • Mixiodic Table: Contestants must determine the cocktail based on a molecular-style formula, using the mixiodic table to identify the ingredients
  • Round Building: Build five cocktails in under five minutes
  • Nosing Tray Service: Take an order of ten drinks, identify ten serves by scent, taste and then properly serve
  • Championship Round: Mystery Box Cocktail Whisperer – Participants have five minutes to create a cocktail for the judges while telling a tale about the drink and its origin.

Sign up for the Ultimate Bartender Championship.

This year’s UBC will be judged by some of the most critically acclaimed personalities in the hospitality industry:

  • Ezra Star – Drink (Boston, MA): Star completed the rigorous BAR 5-day bartender program and was part of the leadership team that helped win Drink the Spirited Awards’ “World’s Best Bar.”
  • Chris Hannah – French 75 (New Orleans, LA): Hannah coming off a win at the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards has been in charge of famed New Orleans’ cocktail bar, French 75 for 11 years and has represented his bar and city in over 12 different countries and all over America.
  • John Lermayer – Sweet Liberty (Miami, FL): Founder of Sweet Liberty Drinks and Supply Co. in Miami Beach, John gained his global recognition as the mastermind behind the award-winning cocktail menu at The Florida Room at Delano.
  • Dev Johnson – Employees Only (New York, NY): Johnson has spent the last 10 years at Employees Only in New York and played an integral role in achieving countless Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

A new addition to this year’s UBC program, Monkey Shoulder’s U.S. Ambassador Sebastien Derbomez will host “Behind Bars” with the UBC judges who will share their insights on how to make it in the industry – topics will range from opening one’s own bar to general networking and skill building. These will take place the evening prior to the Ultimate Bartender Championship in each city and are designed to discuss key topics in career development as well as empowering up and coming bartenders. Talks are open to both bartenders and aspiring bartenders.

“We’re very excited to offer up these talented bartenders to help share their recipes for success with today’s up and coming bartenders and hospitality professionals,” added Derbomez. “We believe learning from one’s peers is an important part of shaping, and growing within, the industry.”

For more information and to sign up for the Ultimate Bartender Championship, visit

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About Monkey Shoulder

With an eye-catching bottle, intriguing name and a mischievous attitude, Monkey Shoulder has created a stir as the Scotch that leaps out from the whisky crowd. Monkey Shoulder is a marriage of selected 100 percent malt whisky from Speyside, Scotland. It is crafted in small batches to achieve a smoother, richer taste. The 86 proof (43% ABV) whisky is made from 100 percent malted barley – not a drop of grain is used – and aged exclusively in first-fill Bourbon barrels for exceptional smoothness. On its own, Monkey Shoulder is smooth and rich, but this versatile whisky is made for mixing. Visit

About William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the global premium spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch, Grant’s®, as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Spiced Rum, Tullamore D.E.W.® Irish Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder® Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Drambuie® Scotch Liqueur.

William Grant & Sons has been honored as “Distiller of the Year” by the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Spirits Challenge 11 times over the past 16 years.

Founded in 1964, William Grant & Sons USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Grant & Sons, Ltd. and features one of the fastest growing spirits portfolios in the USA with brands including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, Drambuie, Milagro Tequila, Grant’s, Hudson Whiskey, Gibson’s Finest, Monkey Shoulder, Clan MacGregor, Reyka Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Flor de Caña Rum, Art In The Age, The Knot and Raynal French Brandy. For more information on the company and its brands, please visit

Media Contact

Joe Gallo



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