* Bartenders Challenged to Focus on Guest & Offer Omakase Nikka Cocktails to Judging Panel

* Two Regional Competitions – East Coast & West Coast; Winners Compete at Global Finals in Athens, Greece

* Deadline to Enter: Friday, July 13, 2018


(SAN FRANCISCO, July 6, 2018) – Calling all bartenders! Nikka Whisky debuts its Perfect Serve Bartender Competition in the U.S. this fall, and the opportunity to enter is around the corner.


What:              Unlike other bartending competitions, The Nikka Perfect Serve encourages bartenders to place the guest at the heart of the bar experience. Bartenders must be attentive and aware of their guest’s presence, state of mind, and palate in order to offer the most suitable service and cocktail at that specific moment. The process is as important as the cocktail itself. The Perfect Serve contest will focus on Omakase: “I leave it to you.”


The Judging:   Judges play the roles of indecisive customers, acting as different characters, and asking the bartender to improvise a bespoke Nikka cocktail. Experienced bartenders have a large repertoire of cocktail recipes in mind at all times, and will be able to choose, twist and adapt them to serve the most appropriate Nikka Whisky cocktail for each situation played out by the judges.


How To Enter: The 2018 Perfect Serve draws on certain aspects of the Japanese Kodo Ceremony, which encourage participants to “listen” to the scents, or give them a personal meaning and imagery, through traditional exercises involving incense. To enter, bartenders must submit their idea online for a serve of pure Nikka whisky, gin or vodka (straight, rocks, etc.) in a special way that somehow features the spirit’s unique aromas. They have the choice among the Nikka From the Barrel, Nikka Coffey Grain, Nikka Coffey Malt, Nikka Coffey Gin or Nikka Coffey Vodka. This should not be a cocktail, rather a special serve or experience based on the straight spirit.


To enter, go to:


Key Dates:       Deadline to submit online is Friday, July 13.


10 regional finalists will be selected Friday, August 3 (and notified by Monday, August 6), to participate in the New York regional finals, which will take place at Angel’s Share Annex on Monday, September 10; 10 regional finalists will also be selected Friday, August 3 (and notified by Monday, August 6), to participate in the San Francisco finals, which will be held at Trick Dog on Wednesday, September 12.


One winner from each city will be selected to compete in the global finals in Athens Greece in November.


The Prize:        The two winners of the U.S. competitions will represent their country in the Global finals on Monday, November 26, 2018 in Athens, Greece. The winner and runner up of the finals will be invited on a trip to Japan to experience the Japanese bar scene and visit the Nikka distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo!


For more information on Nikka’s U.S. Perfect Serve Cocktail Competition, please visit: or watch this video:




About The Nikka Whisky Distilling Company

The founder of Nikka and the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru, received his training in Scotland before founding Nikka in 1934 with the establishment of the Yoichi Distillery on the island of Hokkaido. Taketsuru’s early successes prompted the development of a second distillery, Miyagikyo, in 1969, this time built on the island of Honshu in the foothills of the Miyagi prefecture.


About Hotaling & Co. (pronounced ho-de-ling)

Hotaling & Co., formerly Anchor Distilling Company, is an importer and distiller of fine spirits headquartered in San Francisco. Originally established in 1993 by beverage visionary Fritz Maytag, fueled by the bold realization that there were no pot-distilled whiskies or high-end craft gins being made legally in America at the time. As a result, Anchor Distilling Company is credited with creating America’s first craft whiskey (Old Potrero) and gin (Junípero Gin) after Prohibition. In 2010, Fritz Maytag retired and sold Anchor Distilling Company to a business partnership that included Tony Foglio and London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd.  With the sale, Anchor Distilling Company expanded beyond production on Potrero Hill to incorporate importing a collection of super-premium craft spirits from around the world. Today, newly named Hotaling & Co., has earned a nationwide reputation for its curated portfolio of premium craft spirits imported into the U.S. that is made up of over 300 specialty products from 23 countries.  The Hotaling name remains a part of San Francisco drinking culture as the distillery celebrates 25 years of production, a proud tradition that will continue into the future alongside the other core business pillars: importing and consumer education.


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