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Jose Cuervo names new Don of Tequila

Following an intense final in Mexico, Jose Cuervo has named Japanese bartender Koji Esashi its next Don of Tequila.

Koji Esashi has been named the new Don of Tequila by Jose Cuervo

In what has been described as the “first challenge of its kind”, 17 bartenders from across the world travelled to Jose Cuervo’s distillery, La Rojeña, in Tequila, to compete for the chance to harvest, blend and bottle their own Tequila on the brand’s estate.

More than 1,800 bartenders initially competed for the prize by uploading an image of the own Tequila cocktail to

Selected entrants then competed in a national final where they had to demonstrate their “passion, grit and cojones” to a panel of expert judges.

The global final saw the entrants take part in three rounds: a mystery ingredients round, aroma challenge and speed challenge. Judges then selected five bartenders to take part in the grand finale, where the finalists presented a signature serve, the Dons of Soul (see below for details).

The Dons of Soul

“After an exciting final we are pleased to announce Koji Esashi as our new Don of Tequila. From thousands to just one, we found someone with the passion and creativity needed to become our next Don,” said Juan-Domingo Beckmann, CEO of Jose Cuervo

“Don Koji displayed the grit, expertise and an uncompromising passion for quality that has represented Jose Cuervo for over 250 years.”

Esashi impressed a panel of esteemed judges, including Esther Medina Cuesta, Benjamin Padron Novoa and Julio Bermejo, as well as Jose Cuervo’s maestro tequilero Francisco Hajnal Alfaro.

“I’m so happy to have won the Dons of Tequila competition and to join the Jose Cuervo family,” said Koji Esashi. “This was an amazing journey and I’ve learnt a lot. As a Don I’m looking forward to educating others on the great drink that is Tequila”.

Dons of Soul


Jose Cuervo Especial 48ml

Fresh lime juice 20ml

Agave nectar 10ml

Fresh tomato 25g

Paprika (red) 5g

Paprika (yellow) 5g

Hot chilli 1g

Pink pepper 3 twists

Coriander bitters 1 drop




Martini Chiller Glass


Fresh thyme

Fresh mint

Fresh coriander

Crushed ice with three kinds of Mexican herbs

Add lime peel

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