What does it mean to be a bartender? To me it means dedication, sacrifice, and using all my skills and tricks in order to make your guests the stars of the show. But sometimes you get the chance to bask in glory under the spotlight yourself as a competitor in a cocktail competition. For that moment I have the chance to be on stage, adrenalin flowing as you feel the pressure with so many eyes focusing on what I’m doing. It’s amazing isn’t it?
Looking around the bar industry, I can see many talented bartenders, great visionary mixologist with big ideas, ready to make a difference, but where are they? Hidden behind a bar, limited on sharing their skills to a few lucky guests enjoying their creations. There is nothing more sad in the World that a waste of talent, now everyone has they own opinion about cocktail competitions, some people are been let down few times with the results, or the quality of the organisation, and due to few disappointments many talented bartenders have chosen not to take part in any more.
For me there is no better example of this than in the music industry when we see many artists who sell the most records are not the band winning the singing contest but the ones the public like more. So maybe at the end of the day it’s true the whole journey is more important than the final destination.
I always find cocktail competitions very educational; never disappointed, regardless of the results, by paying attention to my competitors, in terms of products, technique, equipment, and ideas, as I always go home with a massive bag of knowledge.
The highlight of my career so far was in Singapore, at the I.B.A. World final, where 55 competitors showed me the different ways to bartend; there isn’t a cocktail book on the planet that can beat that.
Learning, sharing information, meeting colleagues, finding jobs opportunities, and being the star is all happening in a cocktail competition, and for me this is priceless.
It is a matter of fact that United Kingdom’s bartenders are in a great position, respected by the whole World bar industry, who always keep an eye on what this country has to offer, so let’s show them what we have got.

Stefano Cossio