The Brutal Bar consists of three rounds of competition by three bartenders with three judges.
- Three bartenders are each provided with identical cabinets that have three to four ingredients and a note.
- The note, from one of the judges, briefly describes what that judge looks for or wants in a drink. The note may be a single word or a short message like, “I like whiskey and citrus, but nothing too sweet.”
- The bartenders then have nine minutes to each prepare and present three identical cocktails, one to each judge so that each judge received three cocktails, one from each bartender.
- Bartenders briefly introduce their cocktail to the judges and the judges are allowed to ask questions.
- The judges then score the cocktails. Criteria include:
- Utilization of ingredients in the cabinet. (Scale 1 – 10, higher is better)
- Objective cocktail presentation. (1 – 10)
- Subjective cocktail enjoyment; catering to the tastes of the judges and responding to the note. (1 – 10)
- Classical drink preparation or open drink creativity. (1 – 10)
The competition is one of skill, creativity and knowledge. There is often a requirement for creativity, but the classics must be respected.
Flairtending or showmanship is not judged.
Cooperation among the bartenders is encouraged. When the drinks are good, we all win.
Each bartender is permitted, but not required, to bring three non-liquor personal items to be used in the preparation or presentation of their cocktails.
Between each round the drinks prepared will be available for observers to order. The final criteria for bartenders is based on the number of their drinks sold.