Official 2019 Cocktail Competition

Charleston Wine + Food is now accepting applications for its Official Cocktail Competition supported by Imbibe featuring American Whiskey. Submit an original cocktail recipe, with a picture, that meets the requirements described below (Entry Guidelines). Entries must be received by 11:59 PM on October 14, 2018. There is a limit of one (1) entry per person.



– Competition is open to ANY bar professional currently working at a Charleston Tri-County bar or restaurant

– Original cocktail submission featuring an American Whiskey from the “blessed list” provided on the form below

– Must be available to participate in Charleston Wine + Food 2019 festival, March 6 – 10, 2019



– Competition winner and drink will be featured at Opening Night as the 2019 CHSWFF Official Signature Cocktail for approximately 800+ guests on Wednesday, March 6 (7:30 PM – 10:00 PM)

– Competition winner featured in a demonstration at the VIP Lounge, presented by SieMatic (during festival weekend)

– Competition winner will receive a digital feature on and $500 cash prize

– The four finalists and their drinks will be featured at the Charleston Wine + Food Signature Event, Hipster Cocktail Party on Thursday, March 7 (8:30 PM – 11:00 PM)



– September 24, 2018 – applications open for local bartenders to apply

– October 14, 2018 – applications close

– October 19, 2018 – 10 semi-finalists announced to the local community

– November 1-30, 2018 – semi-finalists feature their cocktail at their establishment and People’s Choice voting is open

– First week of December – Judges’ tasting at Charleston Wine + Food Headquarters



– Recipe submissions should be original creations and scaled for a single serving, keeping in mind that the winning cocktail will be batched for approximately 800+ guests on Opening Night

– Cocktail should include a minimum of 1 oz of American Whiskey chosen from the “blessed list” of American Whiskey notated

– Recipe limited to 6 ingredients (including base spirit but NOT including garnish) and be no more than 9 oz total (homemade syrups, regardless of number of ingredients, will count as one ingredient)

– The ingredients must be expressed in fluid ounces (.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and drops being the smallest quantities

– Homemade ingredients are welcomed, but must be easy to replicate, scale, and available year round

– A picture of the cocktail must be included with the online submission




Date: Monday, September 24, 2018 – Sunday, October 14, 2018

Who: Bar professionals currently working at a restaurant or bar in the Charleston Tri-County area


Portions: Cocktail recipe for 1 drink keeping in mind ease of batching for approximately 800+ guests

Round 1 will be an open call for online cocktail submissions from local bar professionals. Submitted cocktail recipes must adhere to the official qualifications and guidelines to be considered for judging. All applicable recipes will be considered by a panel of judges after the close of entries on October 14. Judges will evaluate each entry based on the following categories: Originality, Use of Product, Taste, and Presentation. The 10 entries with the highest scores will be chosen to compete as semi-finalists in Round 2. Semi-finalists will be announced on October 19, 2018, on Charleston Wine + Food channels.



Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018 – Friday, November 30, 2018

Who: 10 semi-finalists, submissions with the highest scores from Round 1

Place: Semi-Finalists’ Bars/Restaurants

Round 2 will have the 10 semi-finalists feature their cocktail at their restaurant/bar allowing for people to enjoy their recipe and cast a vote in its favor. Semi-finalists, their recipe, and bar/restaurant will be featured on, allowing for people to cast votes. People’s Choice voting will close with this round, and the results will be factored into scoring for Round 3.



Date: First Week of December

Who: 10 semi-finalists

Place: Charleston Wine + Food Headquarters, 635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston SC, 29403

Time: Time slots will be communicated to Semi-finalists

Portions: A total of 4 fully prepared cocktails for judges

Round 3 will be a tasting before four judges. Each competitor should plan to present his/her cocktail within a 15-minute time slot. Semi-finalists are expected to come fully prepared with ALL ingredients (including spirit), garnish, specialty ice, glassware, and recipe card. Semi-finalist will present their cocktail and recipe card to the judges. Each entry will be judged based on the following categories: aroma, appearance, taste, imagination, overall impression and points for People’s Choice. The top 4 competitors with the highest score will be announced that night with the winner crowned as the official 2019 Cocktail Competition winner.



Date: Wednesday, March 6

Who: 2019 Cocktail Competition Winner

Place: Marion Square, 329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

Time: 7:30 PM – 10 PM

Portions: Winning cocktail batched to serve 800+ guests

The Official 2019 Cocktail Competition winner will be featured at Charleston Wine +Food  Opening Night.. Charleston Wine + Food will provide the American Whiskey for Opening Night. All other ingredients (including additional liquors) are the responsibility of the participant. The winner will receive a $500 stipend for Opening Night, pending provided receipts.



Date: Thursday, March 7

Who: Top 4 2019 Cocktail Competition Finalists

Place: Lo-Fi Brewing, 2038 Meeting Street Rd, Charleston, SC 29405

Time: 8:30 PM – 11 PM

Portions: Winning cocktails batched to serve 700+ guests

The 4 Cocktail Competition Finalists will be featured at the Charleston Wine + Food signature event, Hipster Cocktail Party. Charleston Wine + Food will provide the American Whiskey for the event. All other ingredients (including additional liquors) are the responsibility of the participant. The finalists will receive a $300 stipend for Hipster Cocktail Party, pending provided receipts.



  • Please list the name of the person who submitted this cocktail.
  • Your cocktail must feature one of these partnering spirits as its base spirit.
  • Put in instructions that this is a recipe for 1 cocktail but to keep in mind will need to be batched for 800 guests. All ingredients should be measured in oz, 2. Must use 1 - 1.5 oz of American Whiskey that you have selected from the "Blessed Whiskey List" above 3. Limited to 5 ingredients (including base spirit but NOT garnish) 4.The ingredients must be expressed in fluid ounces (.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and drops being the smallest quantities. 5.Homemade ingredients are welcomed, but must be easily replicable and available year round.
  • Please include general instructions for assembling and serving your cocktail, as well as instructions for any special sub-recipes, such as syrups or shrubs.
  • Please include any notes about what inspired the creation of this cocktail.
  • Upload a photo of your cocktail. Supported image types: .jpeg .gif .png. Note: your cocktail will be judged by appearance as well, so make that photo count!