Olmeca Tequila13 Jul 2016
Meet South Africa’s Tahona Society Competition Winner
The Tahona Society is a global network of bartenders with a passion for tequila – and we’ve just found our latest South African tequilero, or tequila expert
Tucked away just above Cape Town’s bustling strip of bars on Long Street is one of the top bars in the country, the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. One of the bartenders at this establishment is Christian, a friendly, happy go-lucky guy who, like most of us in our early twenties, got into working behind the bar in order to make ends meet. “I started out cleaning glasses, cleaning the bar – that sort if stuff.” But it wasn’t long before Chris started training to make cocktails and really began to make his mark in the bar area. It doesn’t take long to realise why, he’s got an infectious positivity and attitude that makes him feel like a bartender from a sitcom who everyone loves. You just want to hang out and share a drink with him. And that’s because for Christian, it’s not just about the cocktails but the people too. “For me it’s not just about working behind the bar making cocktails but being in the industry, meeting cool people and growing with the industry.”
Earlier this year Chris got the chance to show off his skills during the South African leg of the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition. The Tahona Society is the world's leading tequila education programme for bartenders. It’s organised by Olmeca and Altos Tequila, aiming to promote and widen the culture of tequila, to celebrate the drink in all its glory and versatility. It is also about creating a global network of passionate professionals, of people who share deep interest in one of the most rich and complex drinks in the world. To this end the Tahona Society has attracted the top bartenders from around the globe. And what does it take to be part of this network?
“I made a cocktail called La Meta, it means ‘The Goal’.” An apricot-spiced tequila with chilli, an unusual pairing with flavours of spice and wood that’s not easy to forget. It was so good in fact, it’s given Chris the chance to compete with the rest of the winners from around the globe in Mexico later this year.
But before he jets off, we wanted to know: does he have any advice to help us get served quicker at the bar? Apparently not. “Hospitality is about giving people a good time but because I’m there I want to make it a good time for everyone.” So, flashing a fifty won’t work, but if want to try the La Meta, which is worth waiting for, head to The Orphanage on Cape Town’s Bree Street and taste what all the fuss is about.