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Cointreau reveals Margarita Challenge champion

US mixologist Jonathan Stanyard has been named the winner of the Cointreau Margarita Challenge with his entry The Lovely Rita.

The Cointreau Margarita Challenge final was held in Angers, France, home to the orange liqueur brand.

After inviting the world’s most talented bartenders to create their own take on the classic Margarita, Cointreau received more than 500 entries from 47 countries for its second edition of the challenge.

It was Seattle-based bartender Stanyard, of Il Bistro restaurant, who won over the jury at the final, held in Angers, France, home to the orange liqueur brand.

“This cocktail is inspired by local ingredients, a song from the past, and flavours of other countries,” said Stanyard, who as part of his prize will enjoy a week-long trip to Paris along with a trophy. “I built on top of the classic recipe with local flavours of the Pacific Northwest: rhubarb, strawberries, and rosemary.

Stanyard said: “Winning this competition is a significant milestone in my career.”

“Winning this competition is a significant milestone in my career. To compete among the world’s best bartenders and their Margaritas was thrilling. Overall it was such a humbling experience, and being called the winner of the Cointreau Margarita Challenge is a spark I can still feel.

“The Margarita cocktail is special to me for many reasons. I am originally from California, which is rich in Mexican culture, so Margaritas were often integrated into my life.”

The 10 finalists were judged on their storytelling skills, technical feats, including crafting a sustainable cocktail and making four cocktails in 60 seconds, and the taste of their Margarita recipe.

The judging panel consisted of Alfred Cointreau, sixth generation of the Cointreau family; Rory J Shepherd, creative director of Paris bar Little Red Door; the Cointreau master distiller, Carole Quinton; Cointreau’s international brand ambassador Kevin Sueiro; influencer and stylist, Margarita Mum; and the winner of the inaugural Cointreau Margarita Challenge, Miguel Ángel Mora of Colombia.

Alfred Cointreau commented: “Given the great originality, diversity and quality of these reinterpretations of the classic Margarita, choosing just one first-place winner was an almost impossible task.

L-R judges Miguel Ángel Mora, winner of the inaugural Cointeau Margarita Challenge, and Alfred Cointreau, sixth generation of the Cointreau family.

“A Margarita needs balance to be perfect,” Alfred Cointreau continued, “and it was this balance, consistency and coherence in Stanyard’s entry that so impressed the jury – from his choice of ingredients to his rationale and answers to our questions, his technical ability and, of course, the taste of his Margarita, which is the ultimate test.

“It really had the right balance, which again is something essential for Cointreau. I should also mention how impressed I was by the tremendous expertise we saw in this very close final, in which second-placed Jose Alejandro Chirinos Gil from Colombia and Jose Antonio Dominguez from Dubai, who took third, were close contenders for the title.”

The winning serve: The Lovely Rita

The Lovely Rita recipe consisted of:

25ml Cointreau L’Unique

45ml Roca Patrón Silver

25ml Lime oleo citrate

15ml Salted vanilla rhubarb shrub

10ml Strawberry-infused Campari

All of the finalist’s recipes can be found at

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