Casa Dragones Jamming Sessions 2023 has been an incredible journey culminating with the 8 Finalists traveling to magical San Miguel de Allende, the home of Casa Dragones, to compete for the first place. For the fifth edition of Jamming Sessions, Casa Dragones put out a global call asking bartenders around the world to create a cocktail inspired by their own personal story using Casa Dragones Blanco. As the submissions poured in, eighteen bartenders were selected by the esteemed Judges – Yana Volfson, National Beverage Director of Casa Mata Group, José Luis León, Beverage Director of Ritual H, and Fabiola Padilla, Founder and Owner of Bekeb in San Miguel de Allende. After a round of social media engagement, eight finalists were chosen by Casa Dragones’ fans to travel to San Miguel de Allende for the finale.
During the two-day Finale at La Casa Dragones, the Finalists were first challenged with creating a Paloma with Casa Dragones Blanco, which narrowed the field down to three Finalists. These finalists were tasked with creating an Old Fashioned cocktail using Casa Dragones Reposado Mizunara. In the end, the Judges, including Co-Founder and CEO Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, decided that local hometown bartender, Bertario “Beto’ Martinez of The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, deserved the title of 2023 Jamming Sessions Winner.
“The inspiration for the Jamming Sessions was derived from the way in which musicians play together, off-the-cuff, to make original works of music,” said Bertha González Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Casa Dragones and the world’s first female Maestra Tequilera. “We are thrilled to directly support the international bartender community and give them a platform to showcase their incredible talent and were very proud to host the finalists in our hometown of San Miguel de Allende.”
“This year’s Casa Dragones Jamming Sessions finale, hosted for the first time at La Casa Dragones in San Miguel de Allende, warmed my heart with Mexican hospitality, humility, and a great sense of pride knowing how far this competition has come since it launched during Covid times three years ago.” It is beautiful to feel surrounded by community from a competition that brings a sense of humanity, camaraderie, and talent to so many people from so many places,” shared Yana Volfson, National Beverage Director of Casa Mata Group.
The two-day Finale event was exhilarating and full of positive energy amongst all the bartender Finalists, Judges and special guests. All of the Finalists echoed a feeling of already being winners having earned their spot in San Miguel de Allende with Casa Dragones. For the Paloma Challenge on the first day, the bartenders were presented with a specially curated market of local ingredients to come up with their unique and creative twist on this classic, Mexican cocktail. The Judges selected three Finalists to advance; Beto Martinez, Achilleas Emmanouilidis of Namas All Day bar in Chalkída, Greece, and Fernanda Méndez, of Aereo Cafe Bar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, who was the highest scorer in the Paloma Challenge.
For the final round, the Judges asked the three bartenders to create an innovative twist on an Old Fashioned using Casa Dragones Reposado Mizunara. When presented with the three Old Fashioned cocktails, the Judges each gave in-depth feedback to the Finalists to encourage them on their journey in bartending. Ultimately, the Judges agreed that Beto Martinez earned the title of Jamming Sessions 2023 Winner. As Champion, Beto will receive $1,000 USD and a Bartender Residency with Casa Dragones.
Casa Dragones Jamming Sessions Finale 2023
Bertario “Beto’ Martinez – Jamming Sessions 2023 Champion
How does it feel to win Casa Dragones Jamming Sessions 2023 in your hometown of San Miguel de Allende and represent the local SMA bartending industry?
I feel very happy to be the first bartender from San Miguel de Allende to win an international competition such as Casa Dragones, being this your spiritual home.
What inspired you to participate in Jamming Sessions knowing that you would be competing against bartenders from around the world?
From the first Jamming Sessions I participated in, independently of competing against bartenders from all over the world, I competed with myself.
Briefly describe your creative process for developing new original cocktails.
I start by considering the occasion for which I want to create the cocktail, and based on that I generate different ideas, either by ingredients, type of cocktail, etc. Once I have the brainstorming I proceed to perform the corresponding tests to corroborate if the result is what I had in mind, otherwise, I continue testing, until the balance of flavors and theme are ideal.
Which of your 3 cocktails (your original entry, Paloma and Old Fashioned) Casa Dragones are you most proud of and why?
If I had to choose one of my three cocktails, I would choose my original entry, because from then on all my energy was to give it my all.
What was your favorite part of the Jamming Sessions experience?
Every moment during my Jamming Sessions experience is in a different way very treasured and fills me with joy every time it comes back to my mind.
As someone who sees Casa Dragones in both of your homes in SMA, how did you feel seeing how much they supported the bartending community through Jamming Sessions?
I was very encouraged to see that through Jamming Sessions, the entire Casa Dragones family supports the entire Bartender community globally.
Get more information & stay tuned to all updates on Casa Dragones at their website casadragones.com and @casadragones on Instagram.
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