Did an Oakland Bartender Make 2019's Best Margarita?

Samuel Jimenez's Pasifika Margarita features pineapple and coconut.


Image: Kristan Lawson

An Oakland mixologist is one of eight international challengers competing in Patrón Tequila's "Margarita of the Year" contest.

The annual competition kicked off on Feb. 22, with the winner set to be announced just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Samuel Jimenez, affiliated with Oakland's Blind Tiger, entered the contest with his Pasifika Margarita, which includes pineapple juice, coconut water, Patrón Silver, Patrón Citrónge Orange, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup, and simple syrup — garnished with pineapple fronds.

Jimenez is one of eight mixologists that Patrón selected for the contest, asking each to showcase their most unusual, artistic interpretations of the classic cocktail. Each challenger was urged to draw inspiration from their local regions in selecting ingredients and flavor themes.

Fans can vote for their favorites here.

The highest-voted margarita will be crowned on April 25 at Hacienda Patrón in Jalisco, Mexico. The bartender who created the winning cocktail will be awarded a trophy.

"There's tremendous merit in a bartender who can craft a simple, classic margarita with the finest quality and freshest ingredients, but these eight bartenders have truly transformed them into masterpieces," said Patrón Tequila chief marketing officer Lee Applbaum.

"Using inspiration from local ingredients, stunning garnishes and of course the perfect tequila – Patrón – these globally inspired drinks are elevated into true works of art," Applbaum said.

Here's a list of the other contenders, their cocktails, and their key non-tequila ingredients. 

• "Paseo Margarita" with coconut and basil, by Jacyara de Oliveira in Chicago, IL
• "Golden Hour Margarita" with turmeric and pineapple, by Natalie Jacob in New York City, NY
• "Flamingo Park Margarita" with grapefruit, by Tyler Kitzman in Miami, FL
• "Margarita Caliente" with passionfruit and chipotle, by Adrian Martinez in Guadalajara, Mexico
• "Margarita Amore" with apple and chili pepper, by Cristian Bugiada in Rome, Italy
• "Dynasty Margarita" with lychee and ginger, by Jay Khan in Hong Kong
• "Wild Rose Margarita" with juniper and rose, by Makina Labrecque in Calgary, Canada

"What bartenders around the world are doing to elevate the beloved margarita is nothing short of awe-inspiring," said José Luis León of Mexico City, whose Verde Margarita was crowned as 2018's Margarita of the Year. 

"I've witnessed firsthand the unbelievable riffs these Margarita masters can come up with, and I'm excited to see what's in store for this year's search."

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