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The Tequila and Agave Festival Cocktail Competition Happens on Monday – You Should Come!

Got plans for the upcoming holiday Monday? If not, then how about a margarita and some laughs at a cocktail competition? As part of the Tequila and Agave Festival, Nodo Tequilana Blanco has assembled a line-up of some of Vancouver’s most talented bartenders and challenged them to capture the spirit of Guadalajara, Mexico in a glass – be it highball, rocks, or coupe. The event is open to all on Monday, May 20th, as will be the bar at Cuchillo


WHAT:The Tequila and Agave Festival / Nodo Tequilana Cocktail Competition, inspired by Guadalajara, Mexico
WHEN: Monday, May 20th, 2024, from 1-4pm
WHERE: Cuchillo Restaurant, 261 Powell Street, Vancouver
HOW MUCH: FREE and open to the public!

The Contest

Guadalajara, Mexico – the capital of Jalisco (the state renowned as the birthplace of tequila) – is pivotal to the tequila industry due to its abundant blue agave plants, which are the spirit’s primary ingredient. Backed by Nodo Tequilana Blanco, this competition challenges bartenders to create a cocktail encapsulating their interpretation of the essence of Guadalajara. Whether it’s drawing inspiration from a vibrant yet lesser-known local figure, weaving in elements of regional mythology, or capturing the essence of moonlight over agave fields, the possibilities are vast. Just let your creativity flow and ensure tequila plays a central role in your creation.

This event is free and open to all. You should come! The bar at Cuchillo will be open for affordably priced (and delicious) drinks and snacks, and the combined talent of the participants will make for a good show. Invite your friends and colleagues, and let’s make this an unforgettable event!

The Prize

TWO tickets from Vancouver to Guadalajara, sponsored by Flair Airlines
THREE hotel nights in Guadalajara, Mexico, hosted by Hotel Voco
TOURS of Nodo and Don Fulano distilleries, with Beverage Collective

The winner will be announced during the Tequila and Agave Festival Trade and General Public Tasting event at the Italian Cultural Centre on May 25th, 2024 (4-6pm). Tickets are selling fast, with 70% already sold! Get one of the remaining ones here.

The competition is made possible by Nodo Tequila Blanco, Cuchillo Restaurant, Flair Airlines, and the Government of Guadalajara, Mexico. Additional support comes from Tequila Festival, Welk’s General Store, Cinco Drink Co, and the Consulate of Mexico in Vancouver.

The Competitors

Lacey Roberts
Published On Main

Lacey Roberts – an award-winning bartender, scientist and architectural technologist – combines her diverse experiences into unique cocktails. As a neurodivergent individual, she brings a distinct perspective to her craft. At Published on Main, Lacey’s innovative drinks and warm hospitality make each visit a memorable experience. Will this bartender from a Michelin Star restaurant win the trip to Mexico?

Aman Nijjar
Wildlight Restaurant

Aman Nijjar started his mixology journey as a hobby, which evolved into a passion for crafting exceptional cocktails. With a background in science and business, Aman focuses on balance and precision, creating innovative drinks at Wildlight that pay homage to classic recipes while incorporating local ingredients. His culinary approach ensures each cocktail is a unique and memorable experience. Can Aman dazzle the crowd and judges enough to snag the prize?

Mike Macintyre
El Camino’s

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Mike Macintyre has spent the past six years in Canada perfecting his craft. As the bar manager at El Camino’s, Mike’s expertise spans a variety of spirits, with a particular affinity for agave. His international experience and deep knowledge of mixology make him a standout in the Vancouver bar scene. Will Mike’s love of agave secure him the win?

Thiago Alves
The Acorn Vancouver

Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Thiago Alves brings a passion for mixing drinks that began in his youth. Now a key figure at The Acorn Vancouver, Thiago creates cocktails that highlight local produce and sustainability. His Brazilian heritage and innovative approach ensure each drink is a delightful and environmentally conscious experience. Thiago’s drink card at The Acorn is killer – can he beat all of the other competitors to fly off to Jalisco?

Coulter Noronha

Coulter Noronha, originally from Toronto and raised in Vancouver, is the bar manager at Cuchillo. Currently studying Political Science at SFU, Coulter combines his academic pursuits with his love for mixology. Known for his floral shirts and enthusiasm for agave spirits, he brings a unique flair to his bartending style. Coulter knows his way around the bar like a pro, but will his home ground advantage give him enough of an edge to get him to Guadalajara?

Ivan Rodriguez
La Mezcaleria

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Ivan Rodriguez has dedicated his life to the restaurant and bar industry. Starting as a dishwasher at 15, he quickly developed a passion for bartending. Now at La Mezcaleria in Vancouver, Ivan’s extensive experience and commitment to gastronomy and mixology shine through in every drink he prepares. Does being from Guadalajara make Ivan a safe bet for the prize?

Chey Haima
Reflections at Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Chey Haima, originally from Hawaii and raised in Washington DC, is a senior bartender at Reflections at Hotel Georgia and has over a decade experience in the industry. Moving to Vancouver for university, she discovered her passion for bartending in the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. Chey’s expertise and dedication to the craft make her a respected figure in the industry. But can she create a drink that will dominate her very talented fellow competitors?

Jordan Coelho
The Watson

Born in Paris, Jordan Coelho is the bar manager and co-owner of The Watson in Vancouver. With a passion for travel and cultural discovery, Jordan has spent six years in Canada perfecting his craft. His dedication to flavour and sensory experiences is evident in every cocktail he creates, making The Watson a must-visit destination. We don’t know if Jordan has ever been to Guadalajara, but the question is: what tricks is he willing to bring to the competition to win and get there?

Riley Maggs
The Keefer Bar

Riley Maggs – originally from Drumheller, Alberta – honed his craft at some of Edmonton’s finest bars before settling in Vancouver. With over three years at Keefer Bar, Riley brings a blend of enthusiasm and humour to his bartending, aiming to make every drink approachable and exciting for all patrons. His passion for whiskey, rum and cocktails goes deep, and he’s always eager to introduce new flavours to his guests. Everyone loves Riley, and there is no doubt that he’s got a massive amount of talent – but he’ll be going up against some top shelf bartenders. Can he leave with the prize?


Darryl Lamb – General Manager, Taste of Legacy
Chris Chuy (The Cocktail Tailor) – Owner, @lavishliquid / @barcartbc / @drinklowrider
Michelle SprouleScout Magazine
David Bibbings – NODO TEQUILA

Neighbourhood: Railtown Japantown
261 Powell St.

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