Cointreau kicks off Margarita Challenge

Cointreau is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Margarita cocktail with its 2023 Margarita Challenge.

The contest invites Australian bartenders to create a twist on the original Margarita, with 10 finalists from around the world to travel to the historic Cointreau La Maison in France to compete for the first place title. 

Professional bartenders and mixologists are being asked to take it back to 1948, the night the Original Margarita was created.

Legend has it that Dallas socialite Margaret “Margarita” Sames was throwing a lavish party at her home in Acapulco when she mixed together her two favourite spirits, Cointreau and tequila, with lime juice to concoct the famed cocktail. Among her well-connected guests was Tommy Hilton, who added the drink to the bar menu at his Hilton hotel chain.

The Margarita Challenge requires bartenders to use only equipment that would have been available in Margaret’s. Their unique reimagining of her original concoction must be created with Cointreau and salt.

The following criteria will be used to judge the cocktails:

  • Techniques 40% – Participants must only use cocktail equipment that was available during the era (1940s).
  • Ingredients 30% – At least 20ml minimum of Cointreau and salt are the only mandatory ingredients.
  • Storytelling 20% – Participants should come up with an evocative name and a vivid story that takes the jury on a sensory voyage as much as their recipe does.
  • Presentation 10% – Each cocktail’s visual presentation, as well as the photo provided of it, will factor into the jury’s decision.

The jury will be made up of last year’s winner Jonathan Stanyard, World’s 50 Best Bars Award recipient Rory J Shepherd, journalist and spirits expert Kelly Magyarics, and Cointreau’s own Master Distiller Carole Quinton. 

Ten finalists selected from global entrants will be flown to France for three days of immersive visits and mixology challenges, with the final to be hosted at Cointreau’s historic mansion in Angers. There, the best recipe will be selected, and the first-place winner will walk away with an additional trip for two to France, plus a €5000 sponsored budget which will allow them to tour and promote their own creative take on the Original Margarita in the best cocktail bars selected by Cointreau. 

Entries are open until Sunday 12th February 2023, and require online submission via Cointreau Australia’s website

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Categories: Lifestyle