2017 Festival Happenings


Live Entertainment

Enjoy a little music with your cocktail?

You’ll be entertained by Meg Smith, Patrick Howard Trampus Band and Bella Grace as they bring the Paddock Stage to life with their eclectic ensemble of live instruments and smokey sultry vocals that will take you from alternative indie-rock to soul singer-songwriter jams.

Meet Your Maker

17 Hands Restaurant Bar, 1:30PM – 5:00PM
Distilled: Educational Series
1:30PM at 17 Hands Restaurant and Bar The Bowmore Islay Oyster Luge Experience
Presented by Joe Jameson, Beam Suntory Luxury Specialist

Sail back to 1779 when the Bowmore distillery was founded in the Village of Bowmore, Islay and a new tradition pairing oysters and single malt started. This bold pairing features Beam Suntory’s Luxury Specialist Joe Jameson to showcase shellfish and the unique smoky, salty, citrus and vanilla flavors of Bowmore’s Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

2:30PM at 17 Hands Restaurant and Bar Creamy and Dreamy: A Tasting of Handcrafted Tequila and Cheese
Presented by Khrys Maxwell of Tequila Fortaleza

For centuries, wine has been paired with all sorts of different foods; meats, cheese, bread, etc. Now as we have begun to understand the beauty and complexity of what agave spirits have to offer, it is Tequila’s time to shine. Khrys Maxwell of Tequila Fortaleza will elaborate of the history and production process of Fortaleza as well as the depth and complexity of the flavor profiles of each of their expressions as they are paired with cheeses from San Diego’s very own Smallgoods Cheese & Provisions.

3:30PM at 17 Hands Restaurant and Bar Cutwater: The Story of San Diego’s Craft Spirits Industry and Largest Distillery
Presented by Yuseff Cherney, Founder of Cutwater Spirits

Join founder of Cutwater Spirits and 2017 Distilled Gold Medal Award Winner, Yuseff Cherney to learn about the story of Cutwater and the growth of the spirits industry in San Diego while sipping on some of Cutwater’s award-winning spirits.

4:30PM at 17 Hands Restaurant and Bar Barrel Aged Cocktails + Handcrafted Chocolate
Presented by Jesse Fanning of Henebery and Johna Nilson of So Rich! Chocolates

This sweet pairing is one you won’t want to miss!

Based in Vista, CA, Henebery Co-Founder and CEO, Jesse Fanning and So Rich Chocolates Founder, Johna Nilson have teamed up to give you this whiskey pairing aimed to transform the neat drinker’s experience. Sip on an innovative barrel aged Manhattan, Old Fashion and Merlot Julip paired with handmade chocolates and learn why barrels are such an intricate part of creating a good whiskey.

Distilled: Cocktail Competition

Red Star Café & Patio, 1:00PM – 4:30PM
The Distilled Cocktail Competition is put on in collaboration by the San Diego United States Bartenders Guild. Cocktails will be judged according to USBG rules and regulations. This competition is designed to celebrate San Diego’s distinguished craft cocktail culture and recognize some San Diego’s best cocktail bars. The Competition Award Ceremony takes place on the Paddock Stage at 4:45PM.
bang-bang Bartender: Jimmy Luttrell

Jimmy has worked in the service industry in San Diego for the last 12 years. Originally from New Orleans, he has a deep, abiding love for good food and great booze and works as the Bar Manager at Bang Bang.

Located in the Gaslamp, Bang Bang is dedicated to providing exquisite Asian-fusion cuisine and a remarkable music venue with world renowned DJs providing entertainment.

Campfire Bartender: Jacob Inez

Jake Inez has worked in the hospitality business for 3+ years and has helped open multiple restaurants. At Campfire, he creates new and unique experiences for the community and his fellow peers behind the bar.

Located in Carlsbad, Campfire is bringing the spirit of live fire technique to their food and drink while creating a warm and friendly atmosphere for the community.

Grant-Grill Bartender: Cory Charles Alberto

Cory Alberto shines in the San Diego mixology spotlight as Grant Grill’s Chef de Bar. Alberto’s unique and creative approach to cocktails calls regular attention to his talent and expertise.

A Cocktail Lounge paying homage to its past as SD’s original Speakeasy, Grant Grill Lounge raises the bar with an innovative food and beverage philosophy fused with a longstanding tradition of excellence.

Iris Bartender: Nick Sinutko

Bar Manager, Nick Sinutko is a bartender & musician based out of Solana Beach that enjoys incorporating non-traditional ingredients into his savory, thematically-driven cocktails.

Located on the edge of the breathtaking Torrey Pines State Reserve, IRIS offers their interpretations of world comfort foods alongside thoughtful cocktails, international craft beers.

Ironside Bartender: Dean Joseph Pryor

An LA transpalant, Dean’s past experiences include running Santa Monica’s Brilliantshine bar program, LA’s Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals and tending bar at Maddison in University Heights. Dean now manages Ironside’s bar.

Ironside Fish And Oyster in Little Italy is THE seafood, oyster and craft beverage destination in SD. Owner and Exec Chef Jason McLeod prepares seasonal local SD seafood with inspiration from the old fishing village Little Italy used to be.

lions-share Bartender: Jason O’Bryan

After coming up at URBN in North Park and a few stints at Seven Grand and Kettner Exchange, Jason now manages and tends the bar at The Lion’s Share.

The Lion’s Share serves meticulously-crafted cocktails with an exquisite menu for your good timery and without the snobbery.

Monkey-King Bartender: Gareth Joseph

Originally from Georgia, Gareth has worked in the industry for the past 12 years, with a passion for creating new and noteworthy cocktails.

New to San Diego, Monkey King is a modern Asian inspired restaurant and lounge located in the heart of the Gaslamp bringing a mix of far east flavors and inspired craft cocktails.

Searsucker Bartender: George Heatherington

Born in San Diego CA, George has lived a life inspired by the ocean. Shaking cocktails has funded that love affair and opened up a beautiful world to food and beverage.

The brain child of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey and later acquired by the largely successful Hakkasan Las Vegas. Searsucker offers an American classic menu paired with exceptional cocktails and fine wines from old and new world vineyards!

University-Club Bartender: Lauren Mapp

Lauren is a craft cocktail bartender and food writer from San Diego, CA. She enjoys traveling around the world and a good old fashioned. 

Inspired by our heritage and dedicated to our future – The University Club is the pre-eminent club for social and business connections in the greater San Diego area. Crowning the San Diego Symphony Towers, it offers an exquisite fine-dining experience with breathtaking views of the city.

whisknladle Bartender: Eddie Avila

“Everyone’s little brother” is how many know Eddie Avila who has had the opportunity to work with many of San Diego’s finest. Eddie brings talent and expertise to the craft cocktail culture of Whisknladle.

Good Food, Good Wine, Great People best sums up our philosophy on food, dining and restaurants. We think our food & beverage are better than good but we subscribe to the “Great Good” Food Philosophy where less is more, simpler is better and it’s the quality and freshness of the ingredients that matters most. 

Meet Our Cocktail Competition Judges

Red Star Café & Patio, 1:00PM – 4:30PM