What goes better with tequila than the traditional salt and fresh lime? That’s what we set out to discover at our Sunday, November 20 Meet the Bartender finale event. Time Out New York and Tequila Herradura challenged five New York–area bartenders to dream up their ultimate tequila cocktails. They stirred, muddled and shook their concoctions, then let the guests at our event be the judge. Here’s what went down.
First up was Natalie Jacob of The Archer. Jacob modeled her cocktail, Sunny Side Up Fizz, after her love of everything vintage, including old-school luncheonettes. She combined Tequila Herradura Reposado, cinnamon syrup and coffee liqueur with a whole egg for a frothy, creamy mouthfeel.
Kirk Reilly, of Zona Rosa, took inspiration from another part of New York: the Coney Island boardwalk. His cocktail, the Last Kiss of Summer, packed a wallop of beach-ready, fruity flavors in addition to plenty of Tequila Herradura Silver. With the chill in the air, the drink was a welcome reminder of warmer summer days.
After Reilly, our guests were introduced to Bryn Gleason’s smoky little masterpiece There Ain’t No Devil. Gleason, who you can find behind the bar at Chavela’s, first infused Tequila Herradura Silver with burnt hickory chips, then stirred it with Añejo, chocolate liqueur, orange liqueur and homemade chili- and chocolate-infused bitters.
Next up was bartender Norman Strobel. The South House bartender paid homage to the earth with his cocktail called Utilizar la Tierra. It mixed together oaky Tequila Herradura Añejo, vermouth, lemon and his own homemade ginger and black peppercorn syrup for a spicy, earthy drink.
Last but certainly not least, guests met Jennifer Plotzke of Anejo. Her Gold Rush cocktail combined Tequila Herradura Reposado with cava, lemon and honey infused with lavender and thyme for a bright, bubbly drink inspired by her sunny Jersey City rooftop deck.
While the competition was a close call, Utilizar la Tierra ultimately took first place and Strobel was crowned the winner. Wishing you had some tequila to beat the midweek blues? Take a peek at some of the photos from the event below—it’s the next best thing!