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Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender

2019 Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Competition




Rum is on the rise! Rum is often a misunderstood spirit but has such a vast history and this year Hip Sip’s Battle of the Modern Bartender returns and is looking for the best cocktail featuring this versatile spirit! Are you the bartender or mixologist that is going to answer this call?  

Bartenders will be judged on creativity, use of product, taste, presentation, and flair. Chosen finalists will battle in this fun and exciting competition on Center Stage for the chance to win $1,000, bragging rights, a Q&A with photo in the October 2019 issue of Bar Business Magazine, and a commemorative, glass plaque of the featured article.

We want to see those creative skills so submit your best unique rum cocktail or showcase your best Mojito, Hurricane, El Presidente, Daiquiri, Cubanito, Hemingway Special…the list goes on! Don’t hesitate and showcase those skills today!


• Open to any bartender currently working in the bar, restaurant, or spirits industry (US & International).

• Submissions open on Friday, June 28, 2019 and close on Friday, August 16, 2019. They must be sent to Patricia Copela at

• If chosen as a finalist you must be available to compete on the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Center Stage on Sunday, September 15, 2019, from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM.

• Announcement of finalists will be made on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 and will be promoted online for the 5 weeks leading up to the show and then promoted at the show.

• Recipe submissions must be expressed in ounces, drops, or dashes and scaled for a single serving. 

• A video submission, no longer than 1-2 minutes - this is your chance to show your personality and/or flair - can be as simple as having been shot with your smart phone. A photo of the cocktail and recipe are required. Your headshot, full name, title and bar/restaurant affiliation, as well as your bio, should be included. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. 

• Cocktails will be judged on creativity, use of product, taste, and presentation.

• The base spirit must come from one of the spirit sponsors: 

 ZÍAMI Platinum | Wicked Dolphin - see options listed below for use

The base spirit will be provided for use at the competition. Garnishes and other ingredients are the responsibility of the competitor. 

• There is no cap on how many ingredients per recipe. 

• Homemade ingredients are welcome. 

• Ingredients should be available year-round (nothing too seasonal).  

• Finalists are responsible for travel to the show and, except for the base spirit, which will be provided, for the cost of their ingredients. 

The winning bartender and recipe will be featured on the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show's website, newsletter, and social media channels, and in Bar Business Magazine.
The $1,000 cash prize is provided by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.

Spirit Sponsors

ZÍAMI Platinum – Florida Craft Rum at 40% ABV / 750mL
Aged white rum distilled from Florida molasses, matured in American oak bourbon barrels,
then carbon filtered to remove color but retain the full barrel flavor and aroma.
Result is an exceptionally smooth, lightly oaked white rum with bourbon nose and mellow coconut finish. 
A top shelf white rum suitable for a wide variety of cocktails.


Wicked Dolphin Vanilla Bean 60 proof / Available in: 750ml
Blended with robust Madagascar vanilla beans to create a trimmed vanilla bean nose with hints of baked vanilla cream with a luxurious aroma. 


Wicked Dolphin Coconut Rum 60 proof / Available in: 750ml, 1L, 1.75L
Made with real coconut water & natural ingredients for a genuine coconut taste. Not the overly syrup, sweet found in other coconut brands.


Wicked Dolphin Spiced Rum 80 proof / Available in: 1L
Flavored with special spice blend and vanilla. Sweetened with local honey. Florida orange peels to add some local flair.


Wicked Dolphin Crystal Rum 80 proof / Available in: 750ml, 1L, 1.75L
Handcrafted and made in pot stills for a clean, light, tropical style rum great for mixing. 




*Competitors must supply all cocktail ingredients - excluding the spirit base - used in the competition. 
Please make sure to bring enough product to make your submission cocktail on stage, plus cocktails for each of the 3 judges.
It is not required but you are welcome to provide samples for the audience. Sample size cups will be provided if you wish to provide to the audience. 
Please note that competitors are responsible for their own travel expenses to the show.* 

Meet the 2019 Emcee...

Meet the 2019 Emcee...

Alexander Barranco, born and raised in Tampa Florida, in a large Cuban family. His family owned both a deli and a restaurant, beginning his love affair with the hospitality industry.  After working a few years as a Medical Assistant, he discovered he missed being around people; he finally made the jump behind the bar 15 years ago.  Since then, he has worked at various local establishments and currently, consults on bar set-up and beverage menu creations.  He is the past President of the United States Bartenders' Guild Tampa Bay Chapter.  Mr. Barranco enjoys traveling, the Tampa Bay Rays, and  the Florida Sunshine.

Meet The Judges

Armando Rosario,
Master Mixologist & Spirits Educator,

Southern Wine & Spirits

Todd Ulmer, Owner, 
Stardust Lounge;
Aku Aku Tiki Bar

Guillermo Pernot
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

Melisa Lapido
Ormond Beach, FL

Follow me on Instagram @melis_boozy_cure 

Hip Sip Supporters




Interested in becoming a Spirit Sponsor or Supporting the Hip Sip Competition?

Please contact Patricia Copela for more details: or 203.202.3823