Angus Winchester’s Bartender Challenge

Angus Winchester speaking with Nathan Gerdes


At Portland Cocktail Week, bar star Angus Winchester debuted his his challenge to all bartenders. Over the course of two days, he challenged bartenders to make 4 cocktails which tested five key skills; speed, pouring accuracy, memory & numeracy, bartending technique and drinks presentation. Each is worth 100 points for a total of 500 points.

Nathan Gerdes of H50 Bistro and Thatch Tiki Bar, PDX

I arrived one morning to check out the challenge. Nathan Gerdes of H50 Bistro and Thatch Tiki Bar from Portland was up. Here are a couple of videos.

Nathan Gerdes answering Angus Winchester’s Challenge

and Nathan making more drinks

Angus gave the bartenders the four recipes prior to challenge. He ran through them quickly and how they should be presented along with their prices before the bartenders began. Angus then uses a program called PourTrainer by Barmetrix to weigh the bottles before and after the challenge to judge pouring accuracy. He watches for your technique and then judges the presentation.  Angus is running this challenge in many cities and although you can share your score, you’re not required to. If you like, the information can be de-identified. The highest overall score wins the challenge but kudos will be given to the Fastest Bartender and the Most Accurate Bartender.

Bartenders are asked to make four cocktails; Tanqueray & Tonic, Negroni, Southside and Green Basil Smash. Prices are given and expected to added up for Angus. In Nathan’s case, Angus mentioned he probably could have cut down on time by pouring the three drinks using London dry at the same time, picked up the rocks glasses at the same time, same with the highball glasses and he could have mentioned the pricing when he repeated the order back to the client. This cuts down on wait time for the guest to pay at the end of the round, giving you time to jump to the next guest.

Under technique, Angus is looking for things like ices over well, correct shaking time, professional pouring, systematic working, etc. And for presentation, he’s looking for correct ice amount, fresh garnish, straws used correctly, eye contact, spills among other things.

drinks at the Angus Winchester's challenge- Nathan's are the top row

I thought it was very interesting and learned quite a bit just in the few short minutes I was there. Nathan did very well on presentation.  His are the top row of cocktails.

Bartenders, look for Angus Winchester coming to a city near you.


Portland Cocktail Week




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