This week, regional bartenders competed in the 2017 Bartender Legends, sponsored by Tequila Herradura, where Shaun Gordon and Kyle Law’s original tequila cocktail recipes were named the best in Atlanta. In addition to creating their own version of the original Horseshoe Margarita, participating bartenders were tasked with creating and presenting a twist on a classic cocktail made with Tequila Herradura. Bartender Legends, a national cocktail competition conducted by Liquor.com and the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), allows bartenders across the country a chance to showcase their creativity and expertise through uniquely-crafted tequila cocktails. Last night’s event showcased nine regional semi-finalists from the area.
After beating out their competitors at the regional level, Gordon and Law will now move on to the next round of the competition, where they will compete with winning bartenders from the thirteen other participating markets. As finalists, Gordon and Law will be given an all-expense paid trip to historic Casa Herradura, the last true tequila-producing hacienda on the planet, where they will compete in the national finale. Using the finest ingredients, including local fruit variants sourced directly from the grounds of the Casa, finalists will have the opportunity to create a truly original Tequila Herradura-inspired cocktail for the chance to win it all. During the trip, bartenders will also experience a VIP distillery tour, receive brand education and training, as well as explore popular and historic Mexico attractions.
“This is a dream come true,” Gordon said “I put my heart and soul into this cocktail. I developed a story of my past and something truly dear to my heart and put those experiences into a cocktail. I look forward to competing to see how I stack up against some of the best bartenders at Casa Herradura”.
“I wanted everything about this drink to be about Savannah and the culture down there.” Law said “I can’t wait to get down to Casa Herradura to compete, meet new people, rekindle friendships and learn as much as possible which is what I think this industry is all about!”
Here are the winning concoctions:
Crafted Cocktail by Shaun Gordon
2 Parts (Blueberry Infused) – Herradura Silver
1 Part – Lime
½ Part – Moxie Reduction
2 dashes – 18.21 Grapefruit & Lavender bitters
Topped with Sea Salt Foam
Maine Blueberry Infused Herradura Silver: Take 1.5 cups of Maine blueberries, simmer on low/medium heat in a saucepan until they soften and juices start to flow. Pour contents into a food safe container, add 1L of Herradura Silver, stir, cover, and seal. Let sit for 3-4 days at room temperature. Strain tequila back into the bottle using a fine strainer and discard blueberries.
Moxie Reduction: Take one 12oz can or bottle of Moxie, add 2oz of agave nectar, reduce to 50% (or until a syrup) over a medium/high heat Sea Salt Foam: 32oz of water 1oz of fresh lemon juice 1.25oz Sea Salt 1 tspn Soy Licithin Powder Add all ingredients into a container and use a hand held immersion blender to create foam.
Add all ingredients except the foam to a shaker, add ice, hard shake, strain into rocks glass over fresh ice, top with sea salt foam, add garnish.
Crafted Cocktail by Kyle Law
1.5 Parts – Herradura Silver
1/2 Part – Madeira
¼ Part- Hazelnut Liqueur
1 dash – Saline
1 Part – Savannah Red Rice Horchata
¾ oz – Lemon Juice
Begin with 1.5oz of Herradura silver. It’s smooth and bright so it pops in the cocktail without taking over. Add 1oz of Savannah Red Rice spiced horchata. I used a blend of red rice, sugar, cayenne, red pepper flake, thyme, and smoked paprika. Very traditional and true to the original dish. Next is 3/4oz Verdelho style Madeira which has strong roots, not only in our nation but specifically Savannah. It’s a dry wine with notes of sea salt, honey, and spice. Finish with 1/2oz of fresh lemon juice, 1/2oz hazelnut liquor and a dash of sea salt (20 to 80 saline solution). Shake well with cubed ice then you want to fine strain the cocktail over crushed ice into a Mayan inspired tiki mug. Our garnish will be a lemon cheek floating on top of the crushed ice and a mint sprig. This garnish represents the man-made mounds set beneath a tree that were used for spiritual enlightenment and worship in the ancient Native American village of Cofitachequi. This chiefdom spread from the north Georgia mountains into South Carolina. And there you have it, my locally inspired Herradura Legend: The Lady of Cofitachequi. Must be served upon a “This is a big kids bar.” coaster.
As with any event involving bartenders, there was plenty of fun, with a unique competition thrown in for good measure.