Chicago’s Charles Joly took top spot in the second International Olmeca Margarita Contest in Mexico City on Friday.
Joly, pictured here, left, with second-place Justin Tisdall, created an apple-themed twist on a Margarita entitled Eve’s Answer, including spiced syrup and Olmeca Altos reposado, and served in an apple. It was enough to beat a field of 14 other finalists from nine countries, in a competition that was the culmination of a week-long trip to Mexico.
Tequila judging panels don’t get much better: Café Pacifico’s Tomas Estes and Phil Bayly, Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s in San Francisco, The Tahona Society’s Henry Besant and Olmeca’s master distiller Jesús Hernández all evaluated the 15 Margarita variations.
UK representative Alan Cartolano, of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, shared third place with Ukraine’s Elya Mykhailenko. Cartolano’s drink, Compadrecita de los Altos, combined a beer reduction with lime juice and Olmeca Altos blanco. The reduction was created using Hawksmoor Spitalfields’ new beer, Devil’s Architect Pale Ale, created with Camden Brewery.
Commenting on the judging panel, Cartolano said: ‘To have the tequila world in front of me has been the best experience of my life. The drink wasn’t perfect, but I got good feedback, and I’m proud of myself.’
Third place was rewarded with a special bottling of Olmeca aged for five years, while Tisdall’s second place earned him a free pass to next year’s trip and competition final. Joly, who works at Chicago’s The Drawing Room, will return to Mexico to spend a week learning to make tequila with Hernández.
The competition is organised by The Tahona Society, a category-wide, international tequila training programme created together with Olmeca Tequila.