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Vote for Your Favorite San Diego Mixologist, Presented By Wells Fargo

Written By: Jordan Ligons

Antonio Orozco, Lead Bartender at Florent

I’ve believed in Florent from the beginning, and I know our GM, Jared Vallon, did as well. We have strived to offer great service and a memorable experience. Creating interesting dishes and innovative cocktails that you can’t find anywhere else in the Gaslamp has been a goal that we continue to achieve. I’m excited to be surrounded by so many great people that further my career and expand my idea of what it means to be a master bartender.

Signature drink: It would have to be my Tequila Old Fashioned. On a particularly hot day, I was asked if I could make something spirit-forward with tequila. Because of the heat, I decided to use orange and cherry bitters to bring a refreshing element to the cocktail; then, Fortaleza Reposado as my spirit and Agave nectar to sweeten. Threw on a nice orange zest as my garnish and watched the smile grow on my guest’s face as she took her first sip.


Matt Hunter, Booze Enchanter at Rustic Root

Matt Hunter, known as “Hunter” to his friends and loyal patrons, is the beloved “Booze Enchanter” at the Gaslamp hotspot, Rustic Root. You can find him mixing up classic cocktails and constantly creating new craft cocktail shots. His Timeless Cocktails menu is a collection of classic cocktails, including the 1985, made with tin cup whiskey, angostura biers, ginger beer, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a lemon twist. For a spin on the timeless, try a craft cocktail shot like the Manhattan, made with dickel rye, vermouth, biers, and garnished with a rye soaked luxardo cherry. Hunter brings years of experience in the bartending profession to the restaurant and lounge, most recently as the manager of URBN Coal Fired Pizza, and has a passion for putting new and updated twists on classic cocktails.


Ashley Wardle, Bar Manager at 1919

Bar manager Ashley Wardle’s favorite drink at 1919 is ‘The Mezcal’, which is a mezcal Old Fashioned with agave, orange and R&D aromatic bitters. 1919 is a throwback to what a neighborhood sports bar used to be. It’s designed to be the best place for sports fans to get good drinks and classic comfort food without missing a second of the action. With more than 25 TVs and four different audio systems, the staff can accommodate fans from multiple different teams all at once. Why 1919? It references the year of the World Series Block Sox scandal. Post-game, be sure to ask the staff about the elevator down to Prohibition, San Diego’s original Speakeasy.


Gabe Garza, Head Bartender at Don Chido

No one knows Tequila better than Gabe Garza, head bartender at Downtown San Diego’s authentic Mexican restaurant, Don Chido. Under Gabe’s leadership, Don Chido has developed a progressive variety of over 100 different types of tequilas and is one of the Gaslamp’s first restaurants to implement a comprehensive, regional mezcal program featuring more than two dozen tequila or mezcal cocktails in its “Drink Bible.”

Chris Cheng, Lead Mixologist at barleymash

Lead mixologist at barleymash, Chris Cheng, pours up some seriously delicious drinks. His favorite one to make is an Old Fashioned and his favorite cocktail is a Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon and honey). About barleymash: Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District, barleymash is the fun, high-energy downtown restaurant and bar that celebrates the richness of American culture through its appetizing and progressive bar fare.


Krihste Rhodes, Mixologist at Double Deuce

She has worked for Double Deuce for a long time and made her mark with a following of regulars who love her! Krihste sings, dances as part of Double Deuce’s “Smoking Gun” group, emcees, and she truly is one of a kind! You can find her at happy hour or late night! Cocktail and a ride on San Diego’s only mechanical bull—makes for a memorable night!


Jesse Juarez, Bartender at Brian’s 24

Jesse has been with Brian’s 24 since they opened in the Gaslamp, almost eight years ago. He has an exceptional knowledge of beer and spirits, and, as an insider tip, recommends you ask for the ‘Vault Special’ when bellying up to the bar at Brian’s 24.

Brian’s 24 is the only family owned and operated 24/7 restaurant in the Gaslamp. Since opening in 2008 in the historic St. James Hotel, they’ve been living up to their motto of “The Restaurant That Never Sleeps, ” serving up everything from heaping breakfast platters to late night eats and everything in between, whenever you’d like.


Stevie Root, Mixologist/Bartendress at Side Bar

Stevie Root, a California native, has been in a relationship with Side Bar since 2009. Throughout the years, she has poured her heart out behind the bar, mixing up drinks with more flair and sass than your average bartender. Not only is she stunning, she has a wicked sense of humor, and she knows exactly how to shake things up to keep guests coming back for more.


Ryan Andrews, Lead Bartender at Prohibition

Prohibition is an upscale, sexy, and mysterious 1920s-style speakeasy, featuring live music and exceptional hand-crafted cocktails.


Michelle Redlin, Mixologist at Whiskey Girl

MIchelle is second to none. It is impossible to catch Michelle not smiling! Her awesome attitude behind the bar is infectious to the staff and customers. Michelle is there for you when you need her the most — if it’s a quiet night she will keep you entertained with her vast drink knowledge, to the busiest night in a sea of people she will give everyone top notch service with a smile when others might crumble under the pressure!


Drew Murphy, Beverage Director at Quad AleHouse and Gaslamp Tavern

“What’s your order?” Beez Nuts. Got Eem! Drew Murphy is the man behind the new cocktails at Quad AleHouse, and yes, they are inspired by this year’s popular viral video. As the beverage director at both Quad AleHouse and Gaslamp Tavern, Murphy is responsible for new craft cocktail creations and curating the tap list for Quad’s 28 rotating taps. When not behind the bar, you can occasionally find Murphy in the Wednesday entertainment lineup at Quad, showcasing his extensive musical talents.