The Tequila Herradura Road to the Hacienda Challenge has reached its conclusion, making it the ideal time to look back on all the incredible cocktails the competition produced. Bartenders from around the country submitted their best tequila cocktails. These were the 16 recipes that stood out—sending their creators to the last true tequila-producing hacienda.
Chicago Fire by Egor Polonskiy (Chicago)
One taste of this cocktail and it’s easy to see why Egor Polonskiy won the whole competition. This smoky marvel was inspired by the fire that destroyed Polonskiy’s city more than a century ago, as well as the gangsters who ran Chicago in the era that followed.
The Farrier’s Daughter by Nic Wallace (Sea Island, Ga.)
Nic Wallace put his own Southern spin on the Horseshoe Margarita by using locally sourced honey from the Savannah Bee Company. It’s perfect for sipping at sunset, whether you’re in Georgia or Tequila Herradura’s home in Amatitán.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, citric acid solution, winter white honey, egg white and tamarind mist, garnished with violets and pansies
Elixir of the Gods by Les Baker (Denver)
Colorado may be more associated with mountains than deserts, but you’ll still find plenty of cacti near Denver. Baker feels that cactus juice is woefully underused. Based on how it elevates his original cocktail, he’s probably right.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, fresh lime juice, galangal syrup, fresh cactus petal and gentian bitters, garnished with dried sage lit on fire
Homestead Margarita by Cody Fredrickson (Las Vegas)
Fredrickson’s parents inspired this unique take on the Horseshoe Margarita. His mother taught him to cut the bitterness of grapefruit with salt, while his father introduced him to coffee. He masterfully weaves these wildly different flavors together in his Homestead Margarita.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, fresh grapefruit sour, coffee-infused agave nectar and a pinch of salt, garnished with a grapefruit twist and rimmed with sugar and espressoContinue to 5 of 16 below.
Hollywood Blvd by BC Hoffman (Los Angeles)
Hoffman didn’t have to go far to find inspiring ingredients for his original cocktail. He just looked to what’s growing along Hollywood Boulevard, a street the Southern California bartender bikes down all the time.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, balsamic vinegar, avocado honey, Martinique petite shrub, fresh lime juice, olive oil and muddled strawberries, garnished with pink peppercorns, a lime wheel and a dried strawberry
Gardener’s Margarita by Leo Holtzman (Miami)
Holtzman wanted to bring together ingredients that aren’t traditionally combined. The resulting cocktail is a mix of refreshing cucumber, complex bell pepper and bold heat from a serrano pepper. Somehow the tequila continues to shine amid those bold flavors.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Reposado, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, triple sec, cucumber, red bell pepper and serrano pepper
Lady in Green by Alex Gabriel Mendoza (New York City)
Matcha ice cream is New York’s latest dessert fad. It’s also the inspiration behind Mendoza’s standout tequila cocktail. The matcha goes perfectly with the vegetal notes in Tequila Herradura, and it all comes together in a crisp Margarita suitable for any season.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, matcha orgeat, fresh lime juice, citrus bitters, French liqueur and herbal liqueur, garnished with a skewered lime wheel and cherry top hat
El Loco by Jacopo Rosito (San Francisco)
Rosito’s cocktail was inspired by his last trip to Mexico. But he was thinking more about what he ate than what he drank. El Loco is his genius and delicious way of bringing flavors from Mexican cooking, like coriander and serrano pepper, into a Margarita.
What’s in it: Herradura reposado tequila, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, Mexican syrup and ancho chili liqueur, garnished with a dehydrated limeContinue to 9 of 16 below.
Georgia En Mi Mente by Nicholas Vaughn (Atlanta)
This Margarita is about as Georgia as it gets but doesn’t stray too far from the cocktail’s Mexican roots. It seamlessly blends quintessential flavors from the state: pecans, peanuts and peaches with tequila.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Añejo, clarified lime syrup, toasted-pecan-infused agave syrup, 18.21 peach-apricot-vanilla shrub and aromatic bitters, garnished with a lime peel
Little Village by Jarmel Doss (Chicago)
Doss’ original cocktail is a riff on the South Side, with tequila and cilantro subbed in for gin and mint. And in a nod to one of the most defining features of the bar where she works, she added a flavored ice cube.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Añejo, St. George pear brandy, agave syrup, fresh lime juice, French liqueur and Fresno chili ice cube, garnished with a cilantro bundle
Mexican Shootout by Nic Lazzareschi (Boulder, Colo.)
Lazzareschi drew inspiration from the contrast between Colorado’s snow-capped mountains and low-lying desert. He incorporated this into a tequila cocktail by bringing together two different Mexican spirits: Silver tequila and smoky high-altitude mezcal.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, thistle-whistle-rosemary-infused mezcal, fresh lime juice, grenadine and bitters, garnished with a flaming rosemary sprig and lime wheel
Valley of Fire by Gary Schneck (Las Vegas)
Schneck, inspired by hiking trips to Death Valley, used ingredients like prickly pear to give his cocktail a desert flavor. The splash of Champagne is an homage to his constantly celebrating city.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, apricot liqueur, grand poppy, fresh lemon juice, pineapple syrup, prickly pear purée and Champagne, garnished with a long lime twistContinue to 13 of 16 below.
Aloha from Jalisco by Colin Coleman (Playa Del Rey, Calif.)
Having moved from Hawaii to Southern California, Coleman has never strayed far from the beach. The tropical flavors, like coconut and pineapple, and striking blue color give his tequila cocktail a beachy feel that’s true to his style.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, lime, coco-agave syrup, pineapple juice and blue curaçao, garnished with pineapple
Nacimiento del Legado by Robert Mercier (Deland, Fla.)
Mercier got his start in a Mexican restaurant, where he first tinkered with a similar variation of this recipe. Much like the Horseshoe Margarita and Tequila Herradura, it has developed into something special over time.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, house-made shrub, fresh lime juice and organic agave nectar, garnished with a sun-shaped lime
Lucky Apple by Veronica Correa (New York City)
Correa was born and raised in New York, so it’s only natural that she would create a tequila cocktail inspired by the Big Apple—specifically the Granny Smith, which gives the drink a bright, crisp flavor without being too tart.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, fresh-pressed Granny Smith apple juice, agave syrup and fresh lime juice, garnished with a dehydrated apple chip
Suerte en el Campo by Jorge Vargas-Baquedano (Los Gatos, Calif.)
Vargas-Baquedano looked to his farmers’ market for inspiration. He used the beets from a local farmer and California bay laurel leaves from a neighbor’s backyard. It is the ultimate California cocktail and perfectly showcases the lowland-grown agave used in Tequila Herradura.
What’s in it: Tequila Herradura Silver, beet and California laurel bay shrub, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, mezcal and smoked salt, garnished with a dehydrated lime wheel