Winning Cocktail Recipes from Tequila Rocks

By Ryan Kelley | 05.09.11

On April 17, 2011, fourteen of the Bay Area’s best mixologists competing in the Tequila Rocks cocktail competition, sponsored by Casa Noble Tequila, at A Taste of Tequila and Tamales by the Bay, an annual benefit event for Benchmark Institute. Each contestant had five minutes to mix an original cocktail using Casa Noble tequila (blanco, reposado, or añejo) as the base ingredient. Tequila Aficionado Senior Editor Ryan Kelley joined H. Joseph Ehrmann (owner/barman Elixir in San Francisco) and Virginia Miller (Bay Area food and drink writer) on the judging panel to select the top three cocktails. The event was hosted by Tres Executive Beverage Director Ashley Miller.

The winning cocktail recipes are posted below. The prize for first place included a bottle of Casa Noble Single Barrel Anejo, two Casa Noble engraved Riedel tequila glasses, and an engraved Tequila Rocks pitcher. (Read Ryan’s blog entry detailing his experience as a judge, including more information on this “a-maize-ing” event.)

First Place:
Council of Four

Brian Means (Bartender at Chow)


  • 1.5 oz. Casa Noble Reposado tequila
  • 0.5 oz. Amontillado sherry
  • 0.5 oz. St. Germain liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. lemongrass syrup
  • 2 dashes lemon bitters
  • garnish: dehydrated Meyer lemon wheels with edible flowers stuck onto it by agave nectar


  1. Add cracked ice, shake and strain into a coupe glass.
  2. Garnish and serve.

Second Place:
Hernan’s Hermanos

Michael Callahan (Bartender at Azul)


  • 1.5 oz. Casa Noble Blanco tequila
  • 1 oz. Txakolina Spanish wine
  • 0.25 oz. St. Germain
  • 2 drops celery bitters
  • 3 drops lime bitters
  • garnish: mezcal-infused dehydrated apple crisp
  1. Directions:
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Stir and strain into coup.
  4. Garnish with mezcal-infused dehydrated green apple crisp and serve.

Third Place:
The Garden Elixir

Jay Crabb (Bar Manager, Walnut Creek Yacht Club)


  • 8 cilantro leaves
  • 4 thin radish slices
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1.5 oz. home-made carrot syrup (chopped carrots in 2 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio syrup)
  • 0.5 oz. Cocchi Aperitivo Americano
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 healthy dashes celery bitters
  • 1.75 oz. Casa Noble Reposado tequila
  • splash of seltzer water
  • garnish: very thin jicama spirals, 1 cilantro sprig, thin radish slice
  • dust with Picositos seasoning


  1. Muddle cilantro leaves and radish slices in bottom of a mixing glass with a tiny pinch of salt.
  2. Add carrot syrup, Cocchi, lime juice, celery bitters and tequila and shake well with ice.
  3. Top with a splash of seltzer water.
  4. Garnish with jicama spirals, cilantro sprig, and radish slice.
  5. Dust with spicy/sweet/sour Picositos seasoning and serve.

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