The 50 Best Bars The Blend Scholarship returns! Submit your application now and get the inside line from last year’s winner

Josh Ong - 17/04/2023

After a successful debut in 2022, the 50 Best Bars The Blend Scholarship has returned to offer one lucky winner an opportunity to learn at two of The World’s 50 Best Bars in Europe and South America next spring. Apply today and discover what to expect if you win

The 50 Best Bars The Blend Scholarship 2023 has returned to offer one budding bartender the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain experience at two world-class bars through a set of stages (internships) in early 2024.
Created in partnership with The Blend by Beam Suntory, this career-defining opportunity is open to any aspiring bartender across the world aged 21 and over with under five years’ experience in the industry. The winning candidate will be crowned in-person at The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 ceremony on 17th October in Singapore and the final three will be hosted in the Lion City to participate in all 50 Best events.

Between January and April next year, the recipient will pack their bags for Spain and Colombia to gain experience at the high-flying Sips in Barcelona (No.3 in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 ranking) and the multistorey cocktail haven Alquímico in Cartagena (No.10 in the 2022 list and The Best Bar in South America). This will be rounded off by a third educational stage hosted by The Blend’s Global team.

All travel and accommodation for the two-week stages will be provided for the recipient of the scholarship, with an additional £500 per week given at both locations to fully enjoy the host cities.

Have you got what it takes to be this year’s winner? Submit your application below by 12:00pm (BST) on 15th May.

What to expect when applying

Submissions for this year’s scholarship will be assessed in a three-step judging process. Within the first round of the application process, all applicants will be asked to share their ‘Future Positive’ vision of the bartending industry. This will include a short text and video submission explaining their proposals for creating a better future in hospitality. For a full breakdown of what is required, visit the application website. For more information on what ‘Future Positive’ means, check out The Blend’s helpful website.

Once Round One of the application process closes, a shortlist of 25 candidates will advance to the second round of judging, where they will be asked to create a cocktail that heroes a local ingredient.
Round Two will be assessed by a world-class panel of judges, including Jean Trinh, Marc Alvarez, Simone Caporale, Christina Rasmussen and Kelsey Ramage 

All Round Two applications will then be judged by a panel of industry veterans who will create a final five potential winners. These include the stage hosts for the scholarship, Jean Trinh (Alquímico), Marc Alvarez and Simone Caporale (Sips), alongside Christina Rasmussen (Mallow, Singapore) and Kelsey Ramage (The Trash Collective, USA).

The five successful Round Two candidates will then be interviewed by the 50 Best and The Blend teams, a representative from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Jean Trinh, Marc Alvarez and Simone Caporale who will select three finalists. These will then be invited to The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 ceremony on 17th October in Singapore, where the lucky winner will be revealed live.

For tips and tricks on how to maximise your application, visit The Blend’s website.

If you have any questions about the process, visit our FAQs or email

Lessons from last year’s champion

Drew Fleming from the Isle of Man, UK, was crowned the inaugural champion at The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 ceremony in Barcelona in front of an audience of industry titans. Earlier this year, he embarked on his double bill of two-week stages at the legendary Connaught Bar in London and Katana Kitten in New York City. Having since returned to his home island with invaluable experience, here are the five key learnings he took away from his experience:
Last year's winner, Drew Fleming, has used his experience at Connaught Bar in London and Katana Kitten in New York City to improve the bar he operates in the Isle of Man

1. It's all about the hospitality
“The biggest learning for me was that it's ultimately about how you make your guests truly feel. No matter what you're serving or where you are, the ultimate litmus test of a world-class bar is the authenticity of the relationship between the bartender and your guests. Seeing the delivery of this skill first-hand at two of The World’s 50 Best Bars was invaluable.”

2. Discipline and consistency are the dynamic duo
“Though easier said than done, ensuring the entire team is focused on exceeding expectations and upholding the reputations that proceed these venues is critical. It was inspiring to work with people so dedicated to their craft who consistently exert astounding levels of discipline to work towards a collective goal of excellence.”

3. Take in new technical skills
“As you can imagine, the advanced techniques and methods both Connaught Bar and Katana Kitten use to curate their menus are second to none. It was also something that I hadn't had a lot of experience with beforehand. I was involved heavily in aiding preparations and ingredients for service, which exposed me massively to a wealth of knowledge, such as creating fruit leather, lacto-fermentation and playing with agar agar and other compounds.”

4. Silent signals speak loudly
“Small things a server may do – or not do – around the room or at a guest’s table that act as a clear signal to other team members were such a valuable lesson. These can be as simple and surreptitious as moving a used table's candle off-centre to signify to others that it needs to be reset and to not sit new guests there yet. We've been able to implement these back at my bar KiKi Lounge, which has really helped us move up a level.”

5. The industry is a global family
“The level of welcome, warmth and support I felt during my time in London and New York was immeasurable. Not just from the places and people I worked with, but the surrounding industry as a whole. The community really knows how to look after its own and it's definitely one of the best things about working in hospitality. I was lucky enough to meet a fellow top 25 finisher from the scholarship who popped into Katana Kitten while I was working and we ended up heading bonding over our experience with a post-shift drink.”

If you know someone looking to set their bartending career into overdrive, share this opportunity with them today. The application window is open between 17th April and 15th May and can be accessed here. For help and information to craft the perfect application, see Good luck!