Alma Dorada – Courtney Francis’ winning cocktail for Hacha Bar’s Britain’s Best Tequila and Best Mezcal Cocktails 2021 competition
3 Fresh Ginger Slices
Add each ingredient into mixing glass and stir.
Add a chunk of ice to a rocks glass and strain the mix on top.
Garnish with a fresh ginger slices.
About the drink
Alma Dorada was created by Courtney Francis for Britain’s Best Tequila and Best Mezcal Cocktails 2021 competition ran by Hacha Bar in London.
Here’s our chat with Courtney about their winning entry:
What is the inspiration for the Alma Dorada cocktail?
This serve appreciates the king of mixto tequila, El Sueño.
With its 70% tequila ratio to 30% piloncillo, it admirably respects the agave’s harvesting period unlike some other mixto’s available on the market, and champions sustainability within the ‘agave boom’.
With El Sueño putting aside 10% of its agave to support the sustainability of the maguey and protect its future generations, it also safeguards the surrounding ecology and environment with this movement.
With barrel aged agave spirits being ‘liquid gold’, the ingredients used compliment the spiced, nutty and toasted notes within the barrel ageing process which coincide with El Sueño gold’s flavour profile.
To promote the tequila’s pride in sustainability, I have decided to use tepache in order to reduce kitchen wastage and boost the caramel and pineapple notes within the El Sueño gold.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I come from the Garden of England, Kent and first moved to Bournemouth back in 2016 for my final year of law at Bournemouth University.
I fully settled here 2 years ago as I love the beach time when winding down from work.
How did you get into the drinks industry?
I’ve always been interested in flavours since a young age, from creating bright blue, orange flavour cupcakes at 11 to batching up a 15 litre water cooler with Woo Woo cocktails for late night parties at the stables at age 18.
I have only been slinging drinks seriously for just over a year now, before that I had been working at Las Iguanas on the side of studying Law with the view to go into the police and specialise in counter terrorism.
I also took a gap year between 2016-2017 to work at Rocksalt in Folkestone. This really gave me the buzz for bartending and made me fully fall in love with.
Little did I know that I’d pack up my law career and bartend for a living.
I came to a realisation in the first lockdown that I was at my happiest when behind the bar, challenging my creative side.
I experience such a great sense of freedom when doing so.
This last year I have studied drinks everyday and have been pushing myself to understand different processes, flavour pairings and experiences… I’ve surprised myself a lot along the way!
You work at Ojo Rojo Bournemouth – tell us a bit about what you do there?
I have recently taken on the role as Head Bartender for Ojo Rojo – home to all things agave on the South West coast.
It is great as I’m working with my OG industry icons, Gemma Terry and Alex West.
I’m very excited to be developing my first menu with my master mind colleagues!
We are currently creating a full conceptual menu which will be launched in the new year, the best thing is that it will be helping various communities.
I can’t say too much about it, however definitely keep your eyes peeled on our socials for the reveal.
It’s going to be very exciting.
Alongside this, I am a Social Media Manager at DrinkswithHebe and have just finished my Double Dutch Scholarship, all whilst getting involved with other drinks competitions!
What made you want to enter cocktail competitions?
I have always been a competitive person; not against others but with myself!
I always want to ‘one up’ myself and develop myself further.
I come from a competitive equestrian background and won 3 British titles at the Royal London Horse Show in 2011.
A few years ago I retired my horse and wanted to get out challenging myself again with a new focus topic
There is such a great sense of industry community with competitions! It’s great to support each other than be ‘competitive’, you can always learn from your peers, and make great friends along the way!
What is your advice for people looking to get into creating their own cocktail recipes?
Research, taste and more research.
Try those weird flavour combinations and get inspired by them, broaden your palate. Blue cheese, strawberry and chocolate?
Try it, trust me.
Don’t overcomplicate your cocktails, less is more sometimes – some of the most famous drinks have only 3 ingredients.
Focusing on the main six classic cocktails, develop your recognition of balance between sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.
Every ingredient must have a purpose within the drink and pair well. If you want a themed drink, dive into study mode and understand the culture and inspiration surrounding the theme.
All of this will help you develop your own signature serves.
Sometimes you can think of a drink and it sounds incredible, then when you make the drink it is a total flop….so do not be disheartened by it.
Laugh to yourself and see the positives of trying to incorporate these flavours in another way.
Every day I find myself looking at the work of other bars alongside reading articles, recipes and cocktail books.
If you put your mind to it you really can achieve great things!
Always ask for feedback….even if your drink wins, there is always room for improvement.
One important thing I say to myself and when teaching people: “No one is ever the best at something, we are constantly learning”.
However, the most important thing is to just have fun with it. Let your imagine go wild.
You can find more of Courtney’s cocktail creations over on Instagram @_courtney_francis_