Denverites don’t often need an excuse to drink tequila—it’s summertime in our hot city, after all. But starting today, Jennifer Jasinski and her partner, Beth Gruitch, have come up with a pretty fun way to encourage you to sip the king of agave spirits at one of their five Crafted Concept (CC) restaurants (Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia, Bistro Vendôme, and Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen): a tequila cocktail contest.

After returning from a weekend trip to the Hacienda de Patrón in Jalisco, Mexico, Jasinski and Gruitch were amazed by the tequila-making and -aging process they witnessed firsthand, not to mention the flavor and depth of the Patrón añejo tequila they chose to fill the restaurant groups’ custom barrel. That American and French oak barrel eventually made its way to the Mile High City; Jasinski and Gruitch made sure every employee tasted the rich, smoky spirit, which was aged for 31 months. “We like the really good stuff,” Jasinski says.

All CC employees—from bartenders to cooks and servers to dishwashers—were invited to create a cocktail featuring the barrel-select tequila. Bar managers picked two finalists from each restaurant (or, in the case of Ultreia, three finalists “because the drinks were just that good,” says Gruitch). A panel of judges, including Jasinski, Gruitch, and even yours truly, selected one winner from each establishment.

Those five winning cocktails are now on the menu at each CC restaurant and you, Denver drinkers, have until July 31 to order them and vote for your favorite. The cocktail with the most votes and the most sales will win the grand prize: The staffer who created the cocktail will be sent to visit the Hacienda de Patrón, walk the blue agave fields, and enjoy an in-depth tour of the production process.

Here are the drinks:

  • Rioja: From Tequila, With Love (created by server Robyn Leonard)
    Patrón Crafted Concepts Barrel Select Añejo
    Ginger limeade
    Lemongrass simple syrup
    Muddled wild lime leaves
    Salted rim
  • Bistro Vendôme: The Santa Rosa (created by bar manager Cayce Munson)
    Patrón Crafted Concepts Barrel Select Añejo
    Bitter Truth EXR
    Pequin chile Aperol
    Aztec Chocolate Ice Cube
    Mole salt and demerara sugar rim
  • Euclid Hall: Pixie Punch (created by expediter Jill Kavanaugh)
    Patrón Crafted Concepts Barrel Select Añejo
    Lemon juice
    Peach nectar
    Raspberry-vanilla-bean syrup
    Pixie Dust rim
  • Stoic & Genuine: The Pool Boy (created by bar manager Matthew Bennett)
    Patrón Crafted Concepts Barrel Select Añejo
    Violet granita
    Luxardo maraschino
    Lemon juice
  • Ultreia: The Golden Child (created by server/bartender Kael Pierce)
    Patrón Crafted Concepts Barrel Select Añejo
    Green apple juice
    Cucumber juice
    Rose, lime, watermelon

To vote, head to Instagram and post a picture of your favorite cocktail with the appropriate hashtag: #riojapatroncocktail, #bistropatroncocktail, #euclidhallpatroncocktail, #stoicpatroncocktail, #ultreiapatroncocktail.

Bonus: Not only will you be helping send a hardworking food industry employee to Mexico with your vote, but if you sample all five cocktails (preferably not on the same evening), Crafted Concepts will buy your fifth and final drink. Cheers to that, and to a restaurant group highlighting its staff’s creativity and talent in a way we can all celebrate.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.