The Campari Academy unveiled their AFTERLIFE Agave Cocktail Competition in June, delving deep into Mexico’s captivating history, vibrant culture, intriguing rituals, and the enchanting world of Agave spirits.

The competition offered one fortunate bartending winner the opportunity of a lifetime—a journey to the heart of Mexico!

The national cocktail competition, the first time it was held in seven years, was led by Krystal Hart alongside Jay Lambert, Matt Linklater, and Tom Sinclair, who knew what they were looking for: a drink that embodied the essence of the Oaxacan proverb, “Tequila to wake the Living, Mezcal to wake the Dead.”

The Campari Academy challenged participants to fashion a cocktail using ESPOLON BLANCO, REPOSADO, or ANEJO that celebrated life, exudes luminosity, and incorporated a touch of theatricality. Alternatively, entrants were able to craft a libation with MONTELOBOS ESPADIN, drawing inspiration from darkness, the nocturnal realm, and the afterlife while incorporating an element of ritual. Nice and simple then!

After the competition closed at the end of June, the judges – Sam Bygrave (Boothby Media), Jane Ryan (Diffords Guide), and Reece Griffiths (Agave Cartel) – carefully deliberated over the bartender’s original cocktail concoctions. The trio had over 130 entries received from 87 venues across the country to decide from – thirsty work!

After six finalists were eventually decided upon, one winner eventually emerged: Omar Alvarez for his entry cocktail ‘2 de Noviembre’. The drink’s description was as follows:

“The celebration of the Day of the Dead has great significance in the life of the Indigenous communities of Mexico, the fusion of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Catholic festivals brings together two universes. This is ‘2 de Noviembre’.”

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Omar’s winning cocktail on the night of the national final was his Santo Sepulcro (translating to Holy Grave or Holy Tomb). As winner of the AFTERLIFE competition, Omar now gets to embark on the trip of a lifetime to Mexico courtesy of Campari Academy.

For more information about Campari Academy, head here.

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