Mixing the Mixologists of the Future


When I was in school, way before the Internet was even a thing, we were taught to stay away from the bottle. Drinking was strongly discouraged because alcohol was the devil. Being caught with a hip flask on campus was grounds for suspension and an uncomfortable sit-down between the school administrators  and your parents. And then you would get it.

Thank the Lord we live in more enlightened times.

These days, colleges, even some of those strict Catholic ones, recognize that people drink, drink responsibly even, and that people who can make good drinks are in great demand. Mixology is marketable, profitable and fun to watch. The drinks are a plus, of course.

Enter the GSM Blueniversity Skills Showdown, a collegiate mixology competition now on its 9th year. Open to Hotel and Restaurant Management students from participating NCAA and UAAP schools, GSM Blueniversity is a chance for mixologists-in-the-making to showcase their skills, outperform their rivals and win glorious glory for their school.

This year’s Blueniversity Skills Showdown was held last March 7 at the San Andres Complex in Malate, with 15 schools participating. Students spent the entire morning being schooled in the various aspects of tending bar, with seminars in basic cocktails, current mixology trends and innovations, career, even first aid for bar related injuries (best to cover all bases if you want to be a professional, no?).

It was in the afternoon when the real competition started, with each school fielding one representative for each of the four categories: Best Trick, Garnish Making, Sensory Testing, and Flairtending. Three winners per category would win moolah, with the overall winner of the Flairtending category being sent to reprazent the country – naks! – in an international mixology tilt later in the year.

The big winner of the night was the Lyceum of the Philippines University, which took home ALL of the gold awards, a clean sweep by the 64-year old school founded by Dr. Jose P. Laurel. Here’s a photo of the winners.


(L-R) GSM Blue assistant brand manager Winchie Tobias, Gold awardee students Alexis Cabugao, John Caballes, Charmaine Dela Paz, Noel Reyes, and GSM group brand manager Marvin Dancel

Congrats, you guys and gals! I’d drink to you, but you have to mix me a drink first, heh heh.