Bartenders from across the UK paid tribute to the late bartending legend and Tahona Society co-founder, Henry Besant, at the UK final of the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition last week, with Chris Mosey of Hula Bar in Manchester walking away with the honours for his ‘Olmeca you a Boss Martini’ cocktail.
Mosey will represent the UK as he competes against bartenders from across the world at the grand final of the fourth international Tahona Society Cocktail Competition in Mexico this September, having beaten competition from nine of the country’s best bartenders to win the UK leg.
Held in London at Wahaca Soho, the final was judged by an expert panel including Olmeca Altos brand ambassadors, Matthias Lataille and Pedro Garvoa, last year’s winner of the UK Tahona Society final, Gareth Evans of Pollen Street Social, and as a nod to Henry who passed away earlier this year, his close friend and fellow industry stalwart, Jake Burger, was the honorary chairman of the panel.
Nerves were running high amongst the 10 bartenders as they competed to make the best cocktail using Olmeca Altos 100% agave Tequila. Chris Mosey’s winning cocktail was a unique blend of Olmeca Altos Reposado, Muscat and Strega. Judges praised the interesting combination of bitter liqueur and sweet wine, which they said “combined perfectly” with the Reposado Tequila.
Mosey had close competition for first place, with Dan Priseman of NOLA Bar coming second with his ‘El Chapolin’ cocktail, a twist on the grasshopper cocktail, combining Manzanilla Sherry, Dark Cacao Liqueur and White Crème de Menthe with Olmeca Altos Reposado. Dan impressed the judges with his engaging, creative performance, which included getting his rivals to shake his cocktail as he chatted to the judges, before revealing the collaborative drink was just for him.
Speaking after the UK heat, Olmeca Altos brand ambassador Matthias Lataille, said: “The quality of the cocktails at the UK final was once again of the highest standard, so the judges had a tough time choosing a winner. Chris delighted the judges with his banter and produced a very well balanced cocktail, recreating a Vermouth using a Bitter Liqueur and a sweet wine. His creation was a great example of how a brave and creative approach to a traditional cocktail can produce an exciting new drink that really enhances the natural flavours of Tequila, complimenting the flavours of Olmeca Altos Reposado perfectly.
The competition celebrates such creativity in mixology, and we keep our rules to a minimum to allow the bartenders licence to have some real fun. It’s great to see the UK bartender community continuing Henry’s legacy with the Tahona Society and really embracing Tequila with such passion and enthusiasm. All of us at Olmeca are looking forward to welcoming the winning bartenders from each of the participating country to Mexico next month for the grand final and helping them take their Tequila expertise to the next level.”
Chris Mosey, winner of the UK final, said: “Taking part in the Tahona Society Cocktail competition has been an amazing experience so far – I’m so proud and happy to have won the UK final and I can’t quite believe that I get to go to Mexico to compete in the grand final! I’ve learnt so much about Tequila since I became involved in the Tahona Society so I’m really grateful to Olmeca for supporting this initiative and making it possible for bartenders like me to get involved in such a fun and creative cocktail competition and to simply get together to share our passion for great Tequila. I’m really looking forward to representing Manchester – and the rest of the UK – in Mexico next month; I’m sure it’s going to be a memorable week!”
The Tahona Society is an exclusive global community of the world’s most Tequila-passionate, professional bartenders. Set up in 2009 by Olmeca and Worldwide Cocktail Club founders, Dré Masso and the late Henry Besant, The Tahona Society already has more than 1,500 members from around the world. Members have benefited from expert training from world-class authorities on Tequila, which includes insight into the origins of the spirit, its industrialisation and the history of the authentic Tahona process, as well as exploring the art of bartending with Tequila.
The International Tahona Society Cocktail Competition, which is open globally to members of The Tahona Society, was set up to complement the association’s goal of offering bartenders the chance to showcase their individual skills and gain international exposure. International heats have also taken place in key markets such as Russia, Turkey and Greece, and heats in the US will take place in early September.