After a grueling competition in beautiful Key West, Miami-based mixologist takes home the grand prize

Following months of anticipation, planning and stiff competition amongst some of the best bartenders in Southern Florida, Michael Parish was named the winner of the first-ever Tequila Partida Spirit Bird Challenge with his cocktail The Loco Coco Smash. Second place was awarded to Audrey Levy with The Key to Your Coconuts. Third place went to Cameron Scholderer with the Marita Sangrita. With the consumer choice vote, Rich Bagbasarian was honored for Orchata Margarita.

“My inspiration for the cocktail really came from Partida. It is passion as it relates to the earth. Partida is a gift from the Tequila gods, and it pairs well to make such a great cocktail,” said Michael Parish who took home the winning title and the grand prize of $500, courtesy of Tequila Partida.

On Sunday, June 12, thirteen mixologists from around Southern Florida battled for the grand prize on the roof of The Rum Barrel, overlooking the island of Key West. The contestants’ recipes were all original, with the only requirement being that the cocktail have the contestant’s chosen marque of Tequila Partida as the base ingredient. Each contestant was given up to 10 minutes to create his or her cocktail. Points were awarded based on presentation, originality and taste, with extra points awarded for going over and above in any category. The judges included Partida Brand Ambassador Jacques Bezuidenhout, Celebrity Chef Cindy Hutson and co-owner of Ortanique on the Mile Delius Shirley, and Pat Sullivan, Wine and Spirits editor of Dine Magazine. Laura Cullen, owner of Clarkes in Miami, emceed the evening.

The competition process involved bar chefs throughout the South Florida market. Original recipes were submitted through email at recipe@spiritbirdchallenge.com from April-June. Contestants included some of the best bartenders from the hottest cocktail spots in South Florida including Juanita Butler from Ortanique, John Wells from Southern Wine & Spirits, Jack Terry from Bagatelle, Audrey Levy from Pete’s Café, Rich Bagdasarian from Southernmost Resorts, Henry Hidy from Southern Wine & Spirits, Josh Goldurs from Rick’s & Durty Harry’s Nightclub, Michael Parish from the Living Room at the W, Cricket Nelson from The Stage, Freddy Diaz from AlembiQ Inc., Tim Schwarz from Michael’s, Rhianna Morris from the Rum Barrel and Cameron Scholderer from The Mondrian.

“The caliber of recipes submitted were phenomenal and really showcased Partida’s versatility,” said Gary Shansby, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Tequila Partida. “Michael Parish’s winning cocktail is particularly delicious, and we are proud to include The Loco Coco Smash in our cocktail repertoire. Congratulations to all the contestants.”

About Tequila Partida

Tequila Partida (www.tequilapartida.com) is an authentic, all-natural, estate-grown ultra-premium Tequila, made from 100% blue agave in the Tequila Valley, the heart of Mexico’s historic Tequila Valley region. From cultivation and harvest to cooking, distillation and aging, Tequila Partida maintains exceptional standards of quality and consistency, making Partida “the finest tequila that money can buy,” according to F. Paul Pacult, the leading spirits authority in America.

Tequila Partida produces four distinctive Tequilas: Blanco (not aged), Reposado (aged six months), Añejo (aged 18 months) and Elegante (aged 36 – 40 months). Tequila Partida is now distributed in Mexico and the United Kingdom, as well as Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, DC, Washington and Wyoming. Partida will continue to expand aggressively and strategically in the United States.