Olmeca Tequila15 Jun 2016
Top Barmen in the Country
The Tahona Society brings together a global network of bartenders with a passion for tequila.
There are two kinds of barmen in the world: the ones who, like most of us in university or college, just do it as a means to an end. Then there’s another class of barmen, the ones with a surgeon’s eye for detail and a passion for flavour who aren’t here to mix you up a fishbowl, they’re here to push the industry forward.
The Tahona Society is a network of barmen and woman from around the world who share a passion for tequila. But if you think that means they’re good at pouring shots, you’d be wrong. Well, you might be right but that’s like saying David Guetta is a good driver – he might be but it’s kinda not the main thing. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill drink mixers; the barmen of the Tahona Society are some of the best barmen in the world mixing, muddling, shaking and stirring the sort of cocktails that could be described as 5-star drinking.
“These aren’t your run-of-the-mill margarita mixers; the barmen of the Tahona Society are some of the best barmen in the world”
The Tahona Society hosts an annual cocktail competition that brings together some of the world’s most talented barmen to compete with their own twists on classic cocktails. “I’m excited about the foraging trend going on at the moment, using local, fresh ingredients to make cocktails that are so localised, you can’t get anywhere else,” says finalist Vlad Klaic. “I think the Tequila culture has definitely grown, people are now more interested in more premium tequilas which are great for cocktails.”
The competition gives barmen the chance to take the trip of a lifetime to the home of the agave, Jalisco in Mexico, where they’ll compete to become the 2016 Tahona Society Champion and global ambassador for a year. “Seeing all the industry legends come to make their mark is great because there is so much to learn just from watching other competitors,” says Rudi de Vos.
“There’s been an increase in demand for good cocktails, people are starting to appreciate them and they don’t mind paying for a good drink”
Mike Axcell for one is excited about what cocktails can do for South African bar culture, and as a local finalist, he would know. “There’s been an increase in demand for good cocktails, people are starting to appreciate them and they don’t mind paying for a good drink, and as a result the establishments are starting to put a lot more effort into their menus and staff training.”
And that’s good news for us. The next time you’re out, think about mixing it up a little - there’s a lot more to cocktails than mojitos. And after all, with a bit of luck you might get your cocktail served by one of the best.