Tahona Society names UK winner

Gareth Evans Terroir CocktailGareth Evans (pictured) of London’s Pollen Street Social will represent the UK at the third International Tahona Society Cocktail Competition in Mexico this September.

He won the UK heat held at The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh, against 10 other UK-based finalists competing to make the best Olmeca Altos cocktail. His Terroir Cocktail (pictured) combined Olmeca Altos with sous-vide carrot juice, fresh lemon juice, roast cumin syrup and coriander cress sprouts.

Megan DeMeulenaere from Bramble in Edinburgh finished a close second with her Gran Silencio cocktail, while Daniel Waddy of Milk & Honey in London finished third with Chocolate Jesus. See below for recipes.
They were judged by an expert panel of judges including UK Olmeca Altos brand ambassador Matthias Lataille and tequila expert Steffin Oghene.

Gareth will head off on an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico City in September, where he will compete in the grand final of International Tahona Society’s Cocktail Competition against 19 of the world’s best bartenders.

Speaking after the UK heat, Matthias said: “The quality of the cocktails at the UK heat was truly impressive. It was the highest standard I have seen at a Tahona Society competition to date, but it was Gareth’s creativity that gained him that precious winning point. His cocktail was well-constructed and balanced to perfection, so we’re sure he’ll do the UK proud when he competes against his international Tahona Society counterparts in Mexico later this year.

“We’re thrilled to see top bartenders like Gareth, Meghan, Danny and the rest of our UK finalists embracing tequila and the Tahona Society with such passion and enthusiasm, and we’re looking forward to seeing the quality of the competition in Mexico as bartenders across the world take their tequila expertise to another level.”

The other UK finalists were George Murdoch from The Bon Vivant, James Drummond from Rick’s in Edinburgh, Ryan McDonald from The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, Ben Murdoch from Tonic in Edinburgh, Iain Griffiths from The Last Word in Edinburgh, Mathieu Urbano from El Camion in London, Maxime Le Gal from Hawksmoor in London and Jay Stapleton of The Cellar Door in London.

The Tahona Society is a global community of professional bartenders who are passionate about tequila, with more than 1,300 members. It was set up by Olmeca and UK-based drinks specialists Henry Besant and Dré Masso and provides members with training in tequila including the production process using tahonas – the large wheels used to crush the cooked agave.

Terroir Cocktail by Gareth Evans
50ml Olmeca Altos Blanco
50ml Sous-vide carrot juice
25ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
12.5ml Homemade roast cumin syrup
8-10 coriander cress sprouts
Shake and serve over cubed ice in a slimline highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel, plus two coriander cress sprouts and a violet edible flower.

Gran Silencio by Megan DeMeulenaere
37.5ml Olmeca Altos Reposado
12.5ml Yellow Chartreuse
7.5ml Bénédictine
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Stir over block ice and strained into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest and discard the lemon.

Chocolate Jesus by Daniel Waddy
30ml Olmeca Altos Blanco
4 drops Bob’s Chocolate Bitters
20ml Lillet Blanc
20ml Triple sec
20ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Shake and strain into a coupette, with no garnish.

The Tahona Society Cocktail Competition UK Heat Finalists and JudgesLeft to right: Matthias Lataille, Daniel Waddy, Gareth Evans, Megan DeMeulenaere and Steffin Oghene (Photo by John Need)

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