Top Alumni Tips That You Don't Want to Miss!

We asked our seasoned World Class alumni what pro tips they would share with you, future World Class applicants, and what they wish they knew going into their competitions. Take heed, dear aspiring champions!


Charles Joly

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This competition is not about winning.
Go in with the mindset that you are challenging yourself, going to meet great people and are going to come out of the experience a better bartender.

Read all of the rules and follow them. You'd be surprised how many applicants overlook this basic guideline.


Make cocktails that are true to your style and are meaningful to you. The sincerity will come through in the final product.


Don't submit techniques to a competition that you haven't yet mastered. I fully encourage exploration, but attempting something for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time on stage is not the place to perfect it.

Practice your cocktail with guests, co-workers, and anyone that will be your taste tester. You'll not only get multiple opinions but be putting the drink into muscle memory. 

Be thorough in your recipe and make sure it is relatively easy to replicate your intention. Remember a panel of industry pros will be building and sampling all of the drinks. Make sure a 3rd party can follow your submission with good results.

Don't wait until the last minute to submit. You may want to write your essays and sleep on them for a night. You'd be surprised what you may want to tweak, add or change. If writing isn't a strong suit, have someone else proofread your submission. You're not being judged on grammar, but it will allow the judges to more fully understand your intention.

Let your base spirit shine! If you've chosen a particular whisk(e)y for example, allow the cocktail to showcase why you made that particular choice. 

Have fun with it! We are bartending after all. 

Remember that most of our National Champions didn't make it through on their first try. Everyone has something to learn from the experience. Even if your recipe doesn't make it into the regionals, you at very least have a new, well-thought out cocktail in your recipe book and an opportunity to reflect on your thoughts of the business. 

Less can be more. If an ingredient isn't playing an integral role in the cocktail, get rid of it.


Chris Cardone

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Be yourself.  Don’t try to give the yearbook answer.  Let the judges get a small glimpse into who you are via your submission.

The cocktail should be a tried and true cocktail that you are proud of.  It should be easily replicated, balanced and inspired.  This might not be the time to try a brand new untested cocktail.

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit. Start early and return to it when you have time.  Look over your answers and let your thoughts marinate.  

Answer the essays thoroughly. Make sure to maximize your potential points by answering all parts of the essay questions openly and honestly.  Be introspective about your past experiences and be true to your beliefs.  Put your best foot forward, like you would on a job interview.
Don’t just submit. Put your best effort into your submission. Give it your all, do your best work. Remember, the submission is blind, so this is the one time YOU don’t get a true opportunity to showcase yourself to the judges. The submission is the only part of the process where you don’t have full control of how you do. So, you get what you pay for... if you put your very best into your submission, you will have nothing to regret. 
Treat the submission process as a learning tool. Take your favorite cocktail and re-examine it and make it even better before submitting.  Use the essay questions as an opportunity to learn about yourself and your opinions. It’s an awesome chance to take a minute to reflect on your past, present, and future.


Andrew Meltzer

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Make your drinks from the ground up; copying an old recipe won't work for many spirits.

Try to predict the next trend in your market or business instead of using ingredients or recipes that are already popular.

Find a balance between adventure and skill. Learning a new technique for a competition is a great way to develop yourself, but only if you have the time to practice it. 

Taste and experiment with all ingredients when traveling for a competition. Lime juice, simple syrup, ripeness, and availability of produce will surely be different, and you should be prepared to adjust your recipes accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and peers have great ideas and critical feedback, but only if you ask for it.


Tyson Buhler

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Prepare: While the best bartenders make it look effortless on stage, don’t be fooled into thinking they just showed up and winged it. It takes hours of focused preparation to be able to succeed in this competition so build the time into your life if you wish to succeed.

Crowdsource: There is no better way to improve than you the best resource we have available in this industry and that is your peers. Different perspectives, palettes, and tastes of the people around make you a better bartender so use them! Make your drinks for guests, co-workers, your mom, whoever! And listen to what they have to say.

Bartend: Seems obvious but it’s easy to forget the reason you're up there in the first place. When the mic gets turned on and light are in your face it can feel very different than behind your bar but remember,  you are there to make drinks for your guests (in this case judges) and to make sure they are cared for.  

Enjoy: One the most difficult things to do is to stay in the moment, but this is a challenging endeavor that you get to be a part of with a group of your peers. Talk to people, learn, and make relationships that will stay with you long after the completion day is over.

Perspective: While there is no doubt that to succeed in this competition you must take it seriously, at the end of the day it’s just that, a competition. Enjoy the process, make some drinks, smile, and you'll find that some level of success will be reached at the end, regardless if you win the global finals or not.



To enter, all applicants are required to complete either a live World Class Bartender Lab or watch the online training videos.


Watch the World Class Online Training Video Here


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Good Luck!

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