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Branca Games 2022 Preliminaries Hit Houston

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

On Sunday, September 11th 2022, The Branca Games Hosted by Fernet Branca hit Houston. 8 bar teams converged on Two Headed Dog to show their skills mixing with the brand portfolio which includes among Fernet Branca, Borghetti Coffee Liqueur, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouths, and Punt y Mas.


What a fun event! We had seven teams competing for the chance to represent Houston in the Texas Finals. It was a classic hot and humid day but our hosts at Two Headed Dog kept the hospitality going for all the team and attendees. We were joined by Brent Falco, National Brand Ambassador for Branca USA, for the day who also had some limited edition Texas Fernet Coins for attendees. After online entries, we selected 7 teams to compete. The teams were:

“Gristworkz” Danny Leal and Dave Sorrel from Gristworkz

“Damp Dandelions” Noel Martin and Dillion Carpenter from Rosewater Clearlake

“Cowboys & Indians” Jubin Shah and Fredy Nunes from Clarkwood

“Startenders Worldwide” Matthew McEwan and Esteban Reyes from Trash Panda Drinking Club

“Team 86” Jennifer Guerrero and Caden Gracia from Miss Carousel

“Drink Witches” Liz Bacerra and Rachel McQuitty from Winnie’s

“Shake it, Don’t Brake It” Jason Garcia and Jonathan Dilan from The Davenport

The team challenge this year was called “Life on the Fly”. The description read: “We are bartenders. Sometimes we are four people deep and someone throws a wild card cocktail at you. Our job is to deliver something that tastes great and hits the mark for the guest. This challenge will test your ability to make a great serve and your communication as a team. Oh, there is also a twist to this challenge! “.The teams were given 30 minutes to shop in the market provided to them to create a shaken cocktail utilizing a half ounce of Fernet and limited to four ingredients only. Once the time was up, they submitted their recipes with no changes allowed and it was off to the live rounds. Teams had 5 minutes to make 3 serves of their creations but the twist was that one was blindfolded and building the drink while the other could only direct them during the round without touching anything. Our scoring was split 50/50 based on their presentation (name/knowledge/communication) and cocktail skills (taste/balance/accuracy). Of course, we couldn’t do it without our judges:

Brent Falco, National Brand Ambassador, Branca USA

Lindsay Rae, Owner, Two Headed Dog

Jaime Alvear, Writter, The Drunken Diva

They had the hard part of tasting and evaluating all the creations for our competitors! After the first live rounds, the judge’s top two teams moved onto a Fernet Daq’ Off where speed and taste was key but there was a twist. Each bartender could only use one hand to create 3 cocktails as fast as they could. The top two teams that moved on were: Startenders Worldwide from Trash Panda Drinking Club and Shake it, Don’t Brake It from The Davenport. They both made a round of unique daiquiris but there was only one winner. After the scores were tallied, the judges made the final decision. The winners were Shake it, Don’t Brake It from The Davenport! With the win, they went to represent Houston a few weeks later in Austin at the Texas Final round. Cheers!


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