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Meet the Belfast barman who makes the best margarita in Ireland

Conor Brennan has been crowned Taste of Mexico Margarita champion

By Valerie Edwards

Published 03/12/2015

Conor Brennan barman at Birdcage in Belfast
Conor Brennan barman at Birdcage in Belfast
Conor Brennan barman at Birdcage in Belfast
Conor Brennan barman at Birdcage in Belfast

Tequila fans, form an orderly queue... a Belfast barman has been crowned winner of the best margarita on the island of Ireland.

Conor Brennan, 27, works at The Birdcage in Stranmillis, south Belfast.

He was named champion after competing in the Dublin final of Taste of Mexico Margarita at Lillie's Bordello nightclub, using Jose Cuervo tequila.

The mixologist said: "I was just expecting an intimate cocktail session with like 10 people, but there was at least 100 guests, maybe more, and that made it daunting.

"We had to explain our drinks to the judges before we made them and include all the ingredients. I was the only guy from Northern Ireland. I was really nervous and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but once I started making the drink I calmed down."

Conor, who's winning drink was named 'Somewhere Between Nowhere and Goodbye', said that he originally came up with the name after watching a movie the night before the competition.

"I heard the quote on this movie and it stuck with me so I wrote it in my phone. I thought it was romantic and since Margarita is a girl's name, I thought it fit, in a love-lost type of way."

Conor received a score of 27/30 from the three judges, which was based on creativity and originality.

He picked up a two-week all-inclusive trip to Mexico City and Cancun as his prize.

Conor has been bartending for five years and joined the staff at the Birdcage in Belfast four months ago. He has since helped develop most of the classic cocktails on their menu He said he's helped "the guys develop the right process and technique that will bring out the right taste and flavour in the drinks".

Bonnie Turkington, owner of Birdcage, said: "We're just delighted that he brought this award to Belfast and especially to Birdcage. We're very pleased with his work and he's helped develop most of our classic cocktails, which are amazing."

His award-winning cocktail is now on sale at Birdcage in Stranmillis for £6.95.

The cocktail, Somewhere Between Nowhere and Goodbye, consisted of the following:

  • 50ml Jose Cuervo Agavero Tequila Liqueur
  • 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 15ml fresh pomegranate syrup
  • 5ml agave
  • 5ml Rioja
  • 2 coins of fresh ginger

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