Bartender competitions have become a major driver of bartender advocacy globally. While there are countless bartender and cocktail competitions put forth by brands, every now and then, a program is created that genuinely hits the mark in the true meaning of advocacy. Casa Dragones created Jamming Sessions as a virtual cocktail competition during the pandemic to support the bartender community during a time of need. Earlier this month, Casa Dragones held their Jamming Sessions competition finale live for the first time during Barra Mexico in their hometown of San Miguel de Allende. The magic that was created during the Jamming Sessions Finale far exceeded anyone’s expectations.
After an open call in the U.S., Mexico and the U.K. for submissions, over 400 bartenders entered their original cocktails with Casa Dragones Blanco inspired by the theme “For the Love of San Miguel.” Enlisting the expertise of phenomenally talented and world renowned Judges, Yana Volfson and Jose Luis Leon, 18 Semi-Finalists were selected and the voting public helped decide the final 8 Bartender Finalists to travel to San Miguel de Allende to compete in the Finale during Barra Mexico.
Not only did all eight Finalists win a trip to Casa Dragones’ magical hometown of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, but they also were able to experience several days of events during Barra Mexico, Latin America’s most important bar show. The competition was intense, starting with on the fly original cocktail challenge with a beautifully curated market of ingredients. The field was then narrowed down to the top three finalists – Daniel Kaizen of the UK, Isa Padilla of Mexico and Amber Leyba of the US. The finalists were then challenged to make a batched cocktail for the entire audience using the market ingredients and Casa Dragones Blanco, inspired by a specific theme. We tried all the cocktails and they were phenomenal but after all the scores were tallied, the judges announced Daniel Kaizen as the winner and champion of Jamming Sessions 2022!
I have attended many bartender competitions and taken part in countless cocktail challenges, and every now and then one comes along that you know is very special with a brand that truly cares about the bartender community. Casa Dragones cares about the bartender community and we are so excited to see how they continue to grow and create opportunities to make space for more bartenders around the world.
JAMMING SESSIONS FINALE 2022
BERTHA GONZÁLEZ NIEVES, CEO/CO-FOUNDER CASA DRAGONES
“We are so thrilled to bring Jamming Sessions back to our spiritual home of San
Miguel de Allende and welcome our eight talented finalists as part of Casa
Dragones’ Bartender Exchange Program. Our goal is to bring a community of
bartenders together who are passionate about tequila and Mexico, and
empower them to showcase their craft and creativity.”
DANIEL KAIZEN, JAMMING SESSIONS 2022 CHAMPION
“This competition was probably the most exciting thing I ‘ve ever done because
it’s just so beautiful. The place [San Miguel] we are is honestly one of the most
beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. And you just get carried away, you get
swept into the culture. Being there with the Casa Dragones team…these are
people that love this place and want to show it off. I absolutely love everything
that these guys [Casa Dragones team] have done and everything that Bertha
has put together.”
YANA VOLFSON, JUDGE JAMMING SESSIONS
“It has been a beautiful journey to be part of the Casa Dragones team as a judge
of Jamming Session. Casa Dragones’ hometown of San Miguel de Allende is a
mecca for Mexican culture, gastronomy, craftsmanship and architecture. It is a
place we call home and what better place to unite a community for some healthy
Stay tuned for more on Jamming Sessions and follow along all the latest on Casa Dragones at @casadragones
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