Darwin Ng of Kuala Lumpur’s Jann Bar

[Malaysia, 6 October] – Darwin Ng of Kuala Lumpur’s Jann Bar has emerged victorious in the Malaysian edition of Monkey Shoulder’s 2022 Ultimate Bartender Championship (UBC).

A global competition platform, the Ultimate Bartender Championship aims to develop the next generation of bartenders and tests essential bartending skills that are crucial to being a good well-rounded bartender.

Combining high-energy fun with various challenges, this objective bartender super-league comprised six rounds that tested Skills that Pay the Bills.

This month, over 40 of Malaysia’s best bartenders battled it out, but only one has emerged victorious. Despite being relatively new to the scene, Darwin Ng’s passion and hard work saw him walking away with eternal bragging rights and the UBC winner’s ring.

What started as sheer appreciation for a really good drink kicked off his bartending career two and a half years ago. Since then, Darwin has been relentless in perfecting his craft and went into the Ultimate Bartender Championship with a strategy in mind. Parting words of wisdom for future UBC participants, Darwin said, “Know your classic cocktails and come in with a game plan. Everything else will fall into place!”

As part of the prize, Darwin will also be rewarded with a trip abroad, joining other 2022 UBC winners from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

A Test of Skills that Pay the Bills

Putting the usual ten-minute cocktail-making showcase to the side, the Ultimate Bartender Championship had participants battling it out in six high-energy challenges to prove their competency in all aspects of what it takes to be at the top of their game.

The fun ensued as the competition kicked off with the Quiz round, a quick-fire multiple choice section that tests bartenders’ industry know how. Up next was the Pouring round, which saw competitors accurately dishing out five drinks in the shortest amount of time possible.

The third and arguably the most challenging round was the Nosing Challenge. Using nothing but memory and their sense of smell, the bartenders were tasked to identify five different spirit categories in three minutes. Additional props were awarded to the sharpest noses that could identify specific brands.

Following that was the Table Service Challenge. Meant to establish a clear standard of service, participants had the tall task of taking an order, collecting the drinks and then serving them in the right order to the right person as quickly as possible without committing any blunders.

Finally, in the ultimate test to prove they’re #madeformixing, the Perfect Serve Challenge had the bartenders make and serve two Monkey Shoulder cocktails – the Rob Roy and a Ginger Monkey – as quickly and as accurately as possible. Participants were judged based on speed, balance, taste, and most importantly: if it leaves a paying customer happy.

Only the contestants with the four highest scores from the previous challenges progressed in the competition, where they faced off in the Round Building challenge comprising the semi-final and final stages. The finalists raced against the clock to make six drinks in the semi-finals, and 10 drinks in the finals.

Determining the champion depended on only the highest standards of the judging panel, who were asked if they would pay for the drink based on the accuracy of ingredients and method, speed, and of course, taste.

For more information on the competition, visit. https://www.ultimatebartenderchampionship.com/.


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