Imbibe’s Drinks List of the Year 2017

Does your bar have an amazing cocktail list? An outstanding selection of cognac, gin or rum? Whiskies from around the world? Here’s your chance to shout about it with Imbibe’s new competition

We know that you’re proud of your drinks list. You’ve spent hours working on it: finding just the right products for your customers and developing a killer selection of cocktails that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Well, now’s the time to get some recognition for all your hard work, with Imbibe’s Drinks List of the Year in association with Maxxium, a competition that seeks to reward the very best drinks lists from bars across the UK.

Previous winners include renowned bars such as Dandelyan, the Connaught Bar, The Smuggler’s Cove and the Library Bar at the Lanesborough.

Whether you’re a small neighbourhood bar, a smart city cocktail bar, a whisky specialist, an iconic hotel bar, a gin emporium or a restaurant bar, we want to find out just how good your drinks list is.

Drinks List of the Year 2016


Ready to send in your list? Click through to access the entry form – or read on to find out more about how the competition works.

Drinks List of the Year

We’re inviting bars to send us a copy of their drinks list, along with a short description of their venue. What type of bar is your list for? What are your customers like? How has the list been developed? Does it change regularly with seasonal specials? How do you train your staff to work with your list?

Drinks List of the Year Shears Yard cocktailYou’ll need to select a category to enter and explain how your list fits into that category. Why is it better than other bars? What’s special about it?

The categories to choose from are:

Avant-Garde Cocktail List of the Year
A list that features a strong selection of bespoke recipes, displaying great creativity and originality.

Classic Cocktail List of the Year
A list that focuses on classic recipes, or classics with a twist; maybe you have a great selection of Martinis?

Themed List of the Year
Could be a Mexican bar featuring tequila and mezcal, an Asian bar with saké and Japanese whiskey, a tiki bar or a Prohibition bar.

Cognac List of the Year
A list that covers a range of styles from a selection of producers (both big brands and boutique labels), presented in a way that encourages customers to experiment or offers education.

Gin List of the Year
Could be an exhaustive list of gins from around the world or a tailored selection of small-batch labels, complemented by a great selection of gin cocktails.

Rum List of the Year
Are you a tiki bar that prides itself on its long list of rums or a Caribbean bar turning out killer rum punches? If your rum selection is worth exploring, this is the category for you.

Whisk(e)y List of the Year
Could be a pub that specialises in Scotch, a hotel bar with a selection of international drams or a cocktail bar focusing on classic whisky mixes.


How to enter

For each entry you’ll need to fill in the entry form, upload a PDF of your drinks list and write a testimonial explaining why the list is suited to your venue, who your customers are and how the list has been developed. Your testimonial should be no longer than 400 words.

The same bar can be entered in up to two categories from the following list:
– Avant-Garde Cocktail List of the Year
– Classic Cocktail List of the Year
– Themed List of the Year
– Cognac List of the Year
– Gin List of the Year
– Rum List of the Year
– Whisk(e)y List of the Year

You can also choose to post us a copy of your menu to Imbibe – Drinks List of the Year, Imbibe, Reed Exhibitions, Gateway House, 28 The Quadrant, Richmond TW9 1DN.

The judging

The Imbibe team will then carry out the initial phase of judging, to decide on a shortlist of eight bars for each category. We will be looking at the design and layout of each list, its content and overall quality and judging how well the list suits the venue. We’ll be awarding marks for accuracy, clarity, ease of navigation, creativity, the quality and range of drinks, relevance to market and value for money.

The shortlist will be announced in the September/October issue of Imbibe, ready for the second phase of judging by an independent panel of experts. Based on their decisions, the three finalists in each category will be announced in the November/December issue.

Each finalist bar will receive a surprise visit at some point during the week of final judging, to determine how well its drink list translates into a drinking experience for customers. We’ll be judging how well staff know the list and whether the drinks live up to our high expectations.

All of the finalists will then be invited to a glittering awards ceremony in central London, hosted by Imbibe and Maxxium, where the winners will be announced – including our overall Drinks List of the Year. This discretionary award will be given to the one bar that has impressed the judges most; the bar with an exceptional list that stands out from all of the other finalists.

So if you think that your list is good enough to take you all the way to the winner’s podium, what are you waiting for? Enter Drinks List of the Year now! 

On the list with MIXXIT

MIXXIT is the gold-standard training programme from Maxxium UK and a natural partner for Drinks List of the Year. The MIXXIT team currently provides masterclasses and educational programmes for bartenders across the UK at every level of experience, from entry-level to accomplished drinks industry professionals.

The MIXXIT team will be offering free advice, education and training to all venues that enter Drinks List of the Year. So if you don’t make the shortlist this year, the MIXXIT trainers will help you to improve your offer, ready to enter the competition in 2018. All you have to do is get involved!

Submit your entry to Drinks List of the Year 2017 today