Who is she to judge? Ivy Mix is the co-owner and head bartender at can’t-miss cocktail bar in Brooklyn, but it’s not the only thing that makes her qualified. Mix also co-founded Speed Rack, an all-women bartending competition that raises money to fight breast cancer.
What is she looking for? She wants to learn something new in the competition or at least see something different. “The great part about competitions is that we can expand our knowledge of not just the spirit but of anything,” she says.
Her advice to bartenders: “My favorite bartenders are absolutely genuine, and this is what I want to see in the competitors,” says Mix. She has seen a lot of competitions through Speed Rack and finds that nothing beats personality. “It’s not just about the drink in the glass but also about the person who makes it and how they make it.”
Who is he to judge? Julio Bermejo has amassed and curated an unimpeachable tequila selection as beverage manager and restaurant owner in San Francisco. In recognition of his expertise, Bermejo was named Ambassador of Tequila to the USA by CNIT and the governor of Jalisco.
What is he looking for? To Bermejo, this isn’t simply about finding the best Margarita. It’s an opportunity for bartenders to learn about and connect with Tequila Herradura and then, of course, channel that knowledge into an unforgettable cocktail.
His advice to bartenders: There’s no need to choose between telling your story or Tequila Herradura’s story. It takes true creativity, but it’s possible to weave those stories together.
Who is he to judge? Kevin Vanegas is Casa Herradura’s national tequila ambassador. He has traveled the globe, gaining and sharing expertise about tequila. USA Today even calls him a tequila sommelier.
What is he looking for? As someone who represents Tequila Herradura, he’s excited to show off the world’s last true tequila-producing hacienda. He’ll be keeping an eye out for bartenders who respect that legacy and have the talent and expertise to build on it.
His advice to bartenders: Vanegas urges bartenders to “not only embrace our stories but to share with us theirs.” This can be reflected in their style or “how they source and use local ingredients to modify their recipes.” Bringing out the best in Tequila Herradura and oneself will make bartenders successful in the Road to the Hacienda Challenge and beyond.