Eight of Atlanta’s finest bartenders put their mixing skills to the test in the regional phase of the Road to the Hacienda Challenge.
The Super Bowl may have been Sunday night, but on Monday, the city of Atlanta held a regional competition for bartenders leading up to the “Super Bowl” of Margarita making.
Regional bartenders competed in the 2017 Road to the Hacienda Challenge, held at Do Restaurant (955 West Marietta St NW), sponsored by Tequila Herradura, where Nicolas Vaughn and Nic Wallace’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. The Road to the Hacienda Challenge, a national cocktail competition conducted by Liquor.com and the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), allows bartenders across the country to showcase their creativity and expertise through uniquely-crafted tequila cocktails. Last night’s event saw eight entries from the area.
After beating out their competitors at the regional level, Vaughn and Wallace will move on to the next round of the competition, where they will compete with winning bartenders from the seven other participating markets. As finalists, Vaughn and Wallace 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 has been an amazing experience,” Vaughn said. “This is only my second competition, and to be able to go to Mexico and represent Atlanta… I’m speechless.”
Vaughn’s winning tequila cocktail recipe was inspired by the history of his hometown in Georgia and the legacy of Tequila Herradura, by combining the toasted oak and vanilla of Tequila Herradura Anejo and Georgia farm-sourced peaches, peanuts and pecans. Wallace’s winning tequila cocktail recipe was also inspired by his home in the South, with locally sourced, simple ingredients that shine through in the cocktail.
“The competition was tough,” Wallace said. “I’m looking forward to getting down to the distillery, going to see the actual hacienda for myself and learning more about this amazing tequila.”
Here were the winning entries:
Georgia En Mi Mente
Crafted by Nicolas Vaughn
2 oz. Tequila Herradura Anejo
1 oz. Clarified Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Toasted Pecan-Infused Agave Syrup
0.5 oz. Peach, Apricot and Vanilla Shrub
1 dash Aromatic Bitters
Add ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Double-strain into a coupe glass rimmed with Peach, Apricot and Vanilla Shrub with smoked chocolate salt. Garnish with a lime peel.
The Farrier’s Daughter
Crafted by Nic Wallace
2 oz. Tequila Herradura Silver
1 oz. Citric Acid Solution
0.75 oz. Winter White Honey
Add Tequila Herradura, citric acid and honey to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double-strain into a clean shaker and add 1 egg white. Dry shake for 10 seconds and double-strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with Tamarind Mist, violets and pansies.