Last night was the grand opening of the new location of La Taqueria at 2450 Yukon Street (Scout previewed it here). Though often distracted by passing tacos and churros my attentions were mostly on not getting accidentally hammered while helping to judge the party’s friendly, celebratory cocktail competition, the victor of which would win a trip to Mexico.
The battle saw bartending talents Jeff Savage from Botanist, Simon Aukett from The Keefer Bar, Declan Long from La Mezcaleria, Nick Holmes from Fairmont Waterfront, Chris Chuy from Lavish Liquid, and Phillip Karatsyupa from Ancora. I thought they all handled themselves superbly, explaining their drinks thoughtfully and methodically (sometimes philosophically) and seeking feedback when all was sipped, said and done. I hadn’t previously met some of the competitors, so it was really a thrill to see and taste what they were capable of. Across the board, their drinks were really impressive, a fact reflected in the super tight marks they received from the small panel, which also included importer Enrique Quintana and sommelier Diana Claxton.
Many congratulations to Jeff Savage, Head Bartender at Botanist, who took home the prize for his delicious, beautifully balanced “El Embajador” cocktail, which I hope he’ll be able to recreate the next time I visit his bar (it’s been too long). From my notes and recollection, it was a mix of aged tequila and Tio Pepe with lime juice, Palo Santo wood-infused agave nectar and a tiny thimble of mole, all on ice in a rocks glass spicily rimmed and garnished with tarragon. It is pictured as a foursome at top.
Thanks for the drinks!
– photos by Michelle Sproule –