Omar Alvarez wins Afterlife Agave Cocktail Competition

On Monday 28 August, six finalists competed in the Afterlife Agave Cocktail Competition National Finals. Sydneysiders experienced an evening of cocktail making and fine dining before Omar Alvarez of Sydney’s vibrant Mexican bar El Primo Sanchez was crowned the champion.

Hosting its first cocktail competition in seven years, Campari Academy presented the Afterlife Agave Cocktail Competition. The nation’s bartenders were tasked with the creation of an original serve exemplifying the Oaxacan proverb “tequila to wake the living, mezcal to wake the dead.”

For the moth of July, entrants displayed their creations in their own venues, with the brand ambassador team, led by Krystal Hart and consisting of Jay Lambert, Matt Linklater and Tom Sinclair, travelling around to judge the serves in person and determine the finalists.

The competition delved into Mexico’s rich history, culture, rituals and agave spirits, challenging bartenders to take their creativity to the next level using Espolon Blanco, Reposado or Anejo to celebrate life and light with a splash of theatre, or using Montelobos Espadin to create a drink inspired by darkness, the nocturnal and afterlife with an element of ritual.

The competition was supported by a brand new Training Program rolled out across the country and visiting regional centres and capital cities. The program deep dives into the Agave plant and spirits, theatre and ritual, arming entrants with tips and tricks for creating strong and successful competition cocktail entries, with advice from some of Australia’s most influential bartenders.

Competing in the finals was Ana Mitchell of 18th Amendment in Geelong, Judith Zhu of Door Knock in Sydney, Wunna Coleman-Goddard of Maybe Mae in Adelaide, Rezon Juliodionko of Grinners Dive Bar in Hobart, Timo Van Hest of Bar Soma in Hervey Bay and the winner, Omar.

Taking place at Hinchcliff House, the competition kicked off in the basement bar Apollonia where each of the six finalists presented two unique cocktails to the judges. The judging panel included Sam Bygrave, editor and founder of Boothby Media and host of the Drinks at Work podcast, Jane Ryan, a drinks writer and content creator known for her work with London Cocktail Week and Difford’s Guide in the UK, and Reece Griffiths, founder of The Agave Cartel.

Once the six finalists had presented their cocktails, celebrations continued upstairs in Lana, an Italian restaurant with Asian influences. A four-course dinner was served, each course paired with a complementing cocktail using Espolon Tequila as a base.

Once the dinner had concluded, Omar was announced as the winner by host and Campari Academy brand ambassador Jay. Omar spoke about his entry cocktail, the 2 de Noviembre.

“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 sites and Catholic festivals brings together two universes. This is 2 de Noviembre.”

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 competition, Omar has won the trip of a lifetime to Mexico courtesy of Campari Academy.

Send via Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles