Rum Fest Bartender’s Competition

Ocala Tiki Fest

Calling all Bartenders & Mixologists — Ocala Tiki Fest is hosting a Bartending Competition on May 27, 2023! If you’re a talented bartender submit your cocktail creation below!

Cocktail recipe submission must include at least 1 ounce of Rum (of your choosing). We will pick the best cocktail submissions to compete LIVE at Ocala Tiki Fest to compete for “Best Rum Cocktail!” Judging is based on creativity, balance, and inspiration. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place. All submissions are due by May 23, 2023. The bartenders chosen will be notified by May 24, 2023.

Each competitor will receive free admission to the Tiki Fest for themselves and a plus 1.

WHAT: Ocala Tiki-fest
WHEN: May 27, 2023 5pm to 9pm
(Cocktail Competition will start around 6pm)
WHERE: Ocala Citizens’ Circle, 151 SE Osceola Ave, Ocala, FL 34471

Submitted drink must be an Original Cocktail created by the bartender that will be competing. The cocktail cannot have appeared on a cocktail menu prior to the competition. The cocktail must include at least 1 ounce of a rum of the competitor’s choosing. It can include any other rums or spirits and any other ingredients.

Competitors must submit the recipe, name, and glassware for their cocktail using the attached form. This includes the recipes for any house made syrups or infusions used in the drink, as well as instructions for any special preparation the drink requires. We will use this information to make sure that all ingredients are available for the bartender to use during the competition.

However, all ingredients should be readily available for purchase, or not require any special equipment to make. No sous-vide infusions, Spinzall centrifuge, liquid nitrogen, or spherified ingredients please!

Bartenders can make arrangements to come earlier and assist in the making of any special ingredients required in their cocktail, if they so choose. If so, please note that in the attached form, and we will contact you to make arrangements before the event.

Competitors must use the attached form to submit their drink for consideration. We will pick the 10 best recipes for the competition.

NOTE: Each competitor will have free admission for themselves and a guest to the Tiki-fest and can enjoy the festivities whenever they are not tied up in the competition. However, please use the attached form to RSVP for your plus 1.

Each bartender will have 7 minutes to present their cocktail and make 4 full samples of them (1 for each of the 3 judges, and 1 for our photographers to take pictures of). The judges will not know any of the cocktails being presented ahead of time. The Master of Ceremonies will announce the bartender’s name, the bar they work at, and their drink name. That is all. As such, during their presentation, each competitor should explain what they’re doing, what ingredients they chose and why, as well as any inspiration for the cocktail and/or its name.

Each competitor will go up in turn. Once every competitor has presented their drink, the judges will take a break to deliberate and determine the top 3 cocktails. These 3 bartenders will be the 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners.

Cocktails will be judged upon the following metrics:

70% Taste
15% Name
15% Inspiration

Furthermore, each of the metrics can be broken down as follows:

The drink must be balanced. Meaning every ingredient in it should serve a purpose and not overwhelm the other flavors in the drink.

The name shouldn’t include any profanity or inappropriate words. It should make sense for the cocktail in either its structure, inspiration, or ingredients.

Why this cocktail? Is there a reason for it? A story behind it? Perhaps the name has a special meaning. The answer should be more in depth than, “just because.”

Each bartender will randomly draw a folded piece of paper with a cocktail ingredient printed on it. They will use that ingredient to create a cocktail “on the fly.” They will have 10 minutes to think of and create their drink. Once again 4 drinks will be made, 1 for each judge and an extra one for pictures. Like in any bar situation, Bartenders are encouraged to taste their drink as they go, and tweak it if necessary. As in the 1st round, explain to the judges what you’re doing/have done.

This cocktail does not need to have a name and will be judged upon a different metric:

80% Taste
20% Creativity

The scores from this 2nd round will determine who places 1st, 2nd & 3rd. Everyone in the top 3 will win a prize.


Last modified: May 15, 2023

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