WATCH: Albre Marais wins SA leg of the Cointreau Margarita Challenge

Albre Marais | Supplied

Albre Marais | Supplied

Published May 14, 2024


Albre Marais has been hailed as South Africa's Cointreau margarita cocktail master after winning the local leg of the Cointreau Margarita Challenge.

This global bartending contest gives mixologists a platform to showcase their skills and creativity as they strive to perfect their craft.

This year's challenge introduced a fresh theme: capturing the essence of the bartender's city.

Bartenders around the world were tasked to craft margaritas that sublimated the original recipe with flavours reminiscent of their hometowns. The challenge saw expectations exceeded and records broken, with 79 markets involved, 2086 recipes gathered, and 15 markets organising a local competition.

To determine the winner of the South African leg of the challenge, ten finalists came together in two events – at the Time Out Market in Cape Town on April 12 and at Sin + Tax bar in Johannesburg on April 14 – to impress the judges with their skills.

Albre Marais | Supplied

The finalists from around SA were Richie Nahkala, Albre Marais, Liam Gustafson; Eugene Komane, Simphiwe Ndaba, Liam Jukes, Nicole Wasserfall, Thabiso Mabanna, Jason Bezuidenhout and Fortune Munyonga.

Announced as the ultimate champion of the ten was Marais of Insur(gin)ce.

His winning creation, Jardin au Verre, wowed the judges with its individuality and creativity.

“The presentation of ‘Jardin Au Verre’. I think it went well. Thanks to everyone for your support. Let us know what you think,” wrote Marais on Instagram.

Commenting on the win, he said: “I’m proud to have been selected as South Africa’s winner – we have a vibrant bar scene and I think our welcoming culture brings a unique approach to bartending. I’m keen to show this off to a global audience and judges.”

Caitlin Hill, Remy Cointreau on-trade portfolio ambassador for the AMEI region and one of the event judges, said: “We had a lot of entries for the region – there’s been remarkable interest shown.

“And a high level of mixology across the entrants. We’re really happy to name Albre as the ultimate SA winner, and look forward to seeing what he does next, hopefully up against some of the world’s best!”

Albre Marais’ winning cocktail | Supplied

The ten global finalists will be announced later this month, with the grand finale set for June.

These contenders will compete in France, experiencing three immersive days of French art de vivre in Paris and Angers.

Following three intense challenges, the winner will be announced, securing a trip for two to France and a sponsored tour to promote their innovative margarita in a Cointreau-curated selection of top cocktail bars.