21 Restaurants and Bars to Compete in Inaugural San Diego Cocktail Championship

A group of 21 San Diego County restaurants and bars will take part in the inaugural San Diego Cocktail Championship at a downtown San Diego block party, and you get to sample them all and vote for the champion!

The group includes Del Mar’s Monarch Ocean Pub, Kensington’s Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant, Oceanside’s Cococabana, South Park’s Fernside, and others from Chula Vista, Encinitas, Hillcrest, Mission Beach, North Park, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Downtown San Diego.

Multi-venue Block Party

The Cocktail Championship block party is hosted by Rustic Root, Swing Social, and Tiki Annex—all on Gaslamp Quarter’s 5th Avenue, which will be blocked off from Market Street to Island Avenue for the event.

All voters are automatically registered to win $2,100 worth of gift cards—$100 from each of the 21 restaurants and bars. If you aren’t able to attend the event, you can visit each establishment on your own through April 28 with voting available online here.

Here’s a list of participating restaurants and bars, along with their featured cocktails:

  • Captain’s Quarters (Pacific Beach): Captain’s Beach—Hendricks Gin, Drambuie, apple brandy, cinnamon-spiced pineapple, lemon, roasted chicory, and evaporated milk
  • Cococabana (Oceanside): Jaguar Verdita—Milagro Reposada and mango liqueur. This trip to Tulum in a cocktail glass stems from Mexican green juice (“verdita”); jalapeño adds the Jaguar bite
  • Fernside (South Park): Romantic Comedy—Hendricks’s Gin, Aperol, lemon juice, simple syrup, and muddled cucumber, shaken, strained, and poured over rocks with a cucumber garnish

  • Gilly’s House of Cocktails (North Park): Capt. Bernard’s Cure All—Tullamore D.E.W., crème de pêche, vanilla simple syrup, lemon, lime, and a dash of Angostura bitters
  • Huntress Steakhouse (Gaslamp): Shoot to Kill—Hendrick’s Gin, strawberry shiso shrub, Amaro Nonino, falernum, lemon, and egg white
  • insideOUT (Hillcrest): Homa’s Nectar—Reyka Vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, prickly pear purée, pink guava purée, and fresh lime juice

  • Lumi by Akira Back (Gaslamp): Asatsuyu—Hendrick’s Gin, Soto Junmai Ginjo sake, house-made melon liqueur, cucumber rice syrup, lime, and cantaloupe ice
  • Moe’s (Mission Beach): Finding Nori—Nori-infused Hendrick’s Gin, lemon, kiwi, elderflower, ginger, honey, coconut, and cucumber
  • Monarch Ocean Pub (Del Mar): Life’s a Peach—Hendrick’s Gin, lemon juice, peach nectar, egg whites, and orgeat
  • Moonshine Flats (East Village): Hennie Smash—cucumber, Hendrick’s Gin, lemon juice, rosemary, and a splash of soda water

  • OB Surf Lodge (Ocean Beach): Hang Loose Mickey—Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum cocktail comprised of fresh ingredients including agave, lavender, coconut, and lime
  • Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant (Kensington): Piña Ranchero—sweet pineapple, fiery serrano peppers, and fresh lime, shaken with smooth Milagro Silver Tequila; served with a jalapeño sea salt rim
  • Rustic Root (Gaslamp): Caspian Dream—caramelized-pear-infused Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, clove-infused local honey, and fresh lemon. Paired with mezcal and fresh ginger-caviar pearls with a dehydrated pear slice

  • Swing Social (Gaslamp): Jerry Sponger—Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, crème de cacao, orgeat, banana meringue and walnut bitters in a caramel-and-almond-rimmed Collins glass
  • Tavern at the Beach (Pacific Beach): ImaGINary friend—Hendrick’s Gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar water, lavender syrup and egg white; topped with a rose water spritz and lemon zest
  • The Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse (Gaslamp): The Butcher’s Cut—Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum-based espresso martini with Licor 43, espresso liqueur, and Kahlua. Topped with Drambuie espresso foam

  • The Holding Company (Ocean Beach): BDE—Milagro Reposado Tequila, muddled jalapeños, carrot juice, orange juice, passionfruit syrup, lime, agave, and turmeric
  • The Whiskey House (Gaslamp): You’re Smoking Hot—Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky, chili-infused Aperol, vermouth, float of scotch, and orange bitters; garnished with dried orange and red chili
  • Union Kitchen & Tap (Encinitas): Bad Moon Rising—cucumber-and-serrano-pepper-infused Milagro Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, agave, tajín, and celery bitters

  • Union Kitchen & Tap (Gaslamp): 1419—With Hendrick’s Gin as the base spirit, this tart, sweet, refreshing cocktail uses Limoncello for a citrus punch. Finished with fresh meringue and candied citrus swirls
  • Vogue Tavern (Chula Vista): Sour down South—Hendrick’s Gin, Chambord, Goddard Pamplemousse, simple syrup, lemon juice, and foamer; garnished with fresh cucumber and jalapeño

See you there!

General admission tickets are $49 and can be purchased here.

The price includes mini cocktails from each of the 21 establishments. VIP tickets are also available for $79, which includes food offerings and early access beginning at 1 PM.

You can also cast your vote on Instagram by making an on-site visit to any of the participating establishments and posting a photo with tags of the establishment in a post. These votes also automatically enter you in the gift card contest.

Keep up with the San Diego Cocktail Championship through Facebook and Instagram. More info can be found here.

See you there, San Diego!

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Event Details
  • Start Date
    April 28, 2024 1:00 pm
  • End Date
    April 28, 2024 6:00 pm
  • Status
    All done
  • Location
  • Address
    Rustic Root + Swing Social + Tiki Bar | 535 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Tickets
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  • Location
  • Address
    Rustic Root + Swing Social + Tiki Bar | 535 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
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