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Hpnotiq "Break the Mold" Competition 2022

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Not Too Sweet Presents Break the Mold Sponsored by Hpnotiq took place in Houston on Monday, September 19th 2022 at the brand new POST Houston complex. 6 local bartenders were selected to compete during this day long competition in two unique challenges.


Hpnotiq, we all secretly love it and now is the time to break the mold! Our competition was designed to push the competitors outside their comfort zone while showcases how hpnotiq can be used in cocktails. This competition was another ideation in partnership with Courtney Peel from Heaven Hill Brands in the Houston market. It took place over the course of one day on Monday, September 19th at the POST Houston, a mixed used property in the old post office building in Downtown Houston. The competition ran in two phases. Our first phase was the online entry round, bartenders were tasked with creating a one of a kind serve utilizing Hpnotiq as their base. The “Breaking the Mold” challenge also required a short essay explain how this cocktail represents them and how they are breaking the mold in their lives. From there, they were narrowed down to the Top Six who moved onto the live rounds. The Top Six for Season 2022 were:

Sabrina Poe from Kau Ba (Nicole Devilla as a sub in) with her creation “The Feaver Dream” – Hpnotiq, Green Chartreuse, Rittenhouse Rye, Maple, Lemon, Pineapple. Her serve was a throwback to her college day memories and how Hpnotiq used to represent one thing but it now pushing the boundaries in today’s bar scene.

Jubin Shah from Clarkwood with his creation “The Glass Ceiling” – Hpnotiq, Charanda, Cotton Candy Shrub, Lime, Ginger. His serve was inspired by defying the norms with boundless creativity and how in his own journey he has broken the mold with his family.

Marc Estil from Better Luck Tomorrow with his creation “Mandela Effect” – Hpnotiq,

Christian Brothers Brandy, Plum Soju, Plum, Butterfly Pea Blossom Tea. His serve revolved around his culture and how he is trying to innovate within his career.

Devin Jason from Loft 18 with his creation “”Frostbite” – Hpnotiq, Deep Eddy Vodka, Jalapeno, Lemon, Mint. His serve was a rework of one of his past creations but added a twist with Hpnotiq.

Jared Chavez from Two Headed Dog with his creation “I’m Blue Daba Dee Daba Die” – Hpnotiq, Lime, Super Syrup. His serve was inspired by his pursuit into bartending and finding his place in the industry.

Sergio Daniel Garcia from Miss Carousel with his creation “Powers and Stuff” – Hpnotiq, Deep Eddy Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Clarified Orange, Lime, Soda. His serve was inspired by art and balance.

After the Top Six announcements, the competitors received a second challenge titled “Highball Sessions”. They were tasked with remixing the iconic Hpnotic Highball with a song of their choice. Both challenges took place on the same day concurrently. Our esteemed judges from the live rounds were:

Lynn House, National Brand Educator, Heaven Hill Brands

Alba Huerta, Owner, Julep

Kristen Nguyen, Bartender, Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar

Thomas Marsella, Assistant General Manager, 13 Celsius Wine Bar

Stephen Caronna, Craft Collection, Southern Glazers

Robby Cook, Craft Collection, Southern Glazers

They were put into teams between the two challenges and tasked with evaluation each competitors’ cocktails and presentations. Scoring was weighted based on each individual challenge parameters. The competition ran for three hours after which scores were tallied. You never know when a tie will happen in competitions but in this case, we had a tie! Devin Jason and Jared Chavez ended up tying for the win. During the announcement party, they were informed that we would have to perform a tie breaking speed round. The speed round would consist of four classics utilizing the sponsored brands. The person who finished first would be awarded bonus points, but the taste of the cocktails was the most important part. It was an extremely close match with Devin finishing first and Jared right behind him by 5 seconds. The judges deliberated and the winner was…..Devin Jones from Loft 18! He took home the prize and title of 2022 Houston Break the Mold Winner.

We will see everyone in 2023 from Season 23!

Photos: Cocktail Manual and Zach Cross


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