Who's the Best? Tequila Launch Party & Cocktail Contest at Malo

— by Caroline on Crack

Who says there are no good female mixologists in Los Angeles? Because there were plenty of them at the Gran Centenario Rosangel launch party and competition Wednesday night at Silver Lake’s **<a target="_blank: href=“https://www.malorestaurant.com/">Malo.

In the Mexican restaurant’s gorgeous new upstairs space, cocktail enthusiasts and industry-folk gathered to partake of the delicious free food as well as the complimentary creative cocktails concocted by L.A.’s finest women mixologists, i.e. Natalie Bovis-Nelsen of The Liquid Muse and Liquid Chef Kim Haasarud to name a few. This was all to launch the newish hibiscus-infused tequila, Gran Centenario Rosangel.

And if guests were still thirsty, there was a cocktail competition where enthusiasts and pros alike competed for the judges’ favor as well as the people’s choice. Marcos Tello of The Edison even got in the spirit of the night by dressing in drag, a fringy little number to be specific.

Although revelers crowded around the main bar area to get to the featured bartender which changed every hour, there was also a dj in an adjacent room to inspire impromptu robot danceoffs and a food room where hungry guests made like greedy goldfish and lunged after freshly put down dishes of tortas and tacos.

Malo’s new upstairs space holds about 150 but the evening’s strict guest list had about 200 on it. Fortunately, folks came and went so it never got too out of hand. On a side note, if you hadn’t already heard, Malo plans to open a downtown location next year on 7th Street near Grand Avenue.

By the end of the night, the winners of the contest were announced.

Judges’ choice was Matty Eggleston of The Hungry Cat and The Varnish for his comforting cocktail which would make a lovely night cap. Despite the use of Nutella it’s not too sweet and the orange zest and grated cinnamon give it the kick it needs.

The Lullaby

  • 4 oz Gran Centenario Rosangel Tequila
  • 3 tbs Nutella
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

In a frothing tin, steam 1/2 cup whole milk and Nutella. Steam until warm and agitate with bar spoon. Add the tequila and steam a moment more. Pour into four tea cups or larger espresso cups. Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated cinnamon and orange zest.

Although this one felt like it took FOREVER to make, it was worth it. Apparently warm cocktails are a new trend in NYC.

Silamith mixing it up

People’s Choice winner was Silamith Weir, cocktail enthusiast and LA brand ambassador for Martin Miller’s Gin. Her Casa Blanco cocktail was a crowd favorite for its exotic ingredients. Mmm, pineapple and condensed milk.

Casa Blanco

  • 2 oz Gran Centenario Rosangel
  • 1/2 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva
  • 3-4 pineapple chunks
  • 4 basil leaves (shredded)
  • 1/2 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

Muddle pineapple and basil together. Add all other ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain and double strain into a cocktail glass.

These were my two absolute favorites of the five competing cocktails so I was really happy they one. Not only were they uber yummy, showcasing the flavor of the tequila nicely but they were so simple and yet innovative.

The other cocktails for your perusal after the jump.

Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, Liquid Muse

Natalie (Liquid Muse) wasn’t a competitor but rather one of the featured female mixologists but here’s the recipe for her cocktail.

Flor de Maria

  • 1/4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce homemade hibiscus cabernet syrup (hibiscus tea syrup with a cabernet reduction)
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces Gran Centenario Rosangel Tequila
  • Spritz orange flower water
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • 1 – 2″ piece orange zest

_Muddle orange zest in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Add maraschino liqueur, syrup, lemon juice and tequila. Shake, with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Spritz with orange flower water. Garnish with a sliver of lemon zest.


And Kylee Van Dillen is an up-and-coming mixologist hailing from Westside Tavern and, like Natalie, wasn’t a competitor either but here’s her recipe.

Per Gazardiel

  • 2-3 torn muddled basil leaves
  • 2 oz Rosangel
  • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz aperol

Shake/strain into a martini glass/garnish with basil leaf.

The following recipes are those by the competing mixologists.

Angel’s Apiary by Cocktail Blogger Mark Blackhart

  • 1 3/4 oz Gran Centenario Rosangel
  • 3/4 oz Three Olives Citrus Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Matusalem Gran Reserva
  • 1/2 oz honey
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Vanilla Bean

Add all ingredients, stir and strain over rocks. Garnish with vanilla bean.

Mark is a cocktail blogger and hoping to get a job as a bar back and one day as a bartender. Although I loved the vanilla bean I kinda found his cocktail too sweet for my taste in that cough syrup way. I had asked him why he used rum and vodka in addition to the tequila but he felt that the spirits complemented the flavors of the tequila.

Ramos Rose by Jason Bran, head bartender of XIV

  • 1 1/2 oz Gran Centenario Rosangel
  • 1 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz creme de cassis
  • 1 oz egg white
  • 5 drops orange flower water

Combine all ingredients into shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into champagne flute with no ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and edible flower.

Lots of other partygoers I spoke with had objected to the use of egg white but to me the cocktail was just OK. Fun to watch Jason make it, though. He moves at the speed of lightning.

Juan Alvarez's St. Rose Cocktail

The St. Rose by Juan Alvarez, United States Bartenders Guild (LA CHAPTER) President, King Neptunes

  • 2 oz Gran Centenario Rosangel
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz grapefruit
  • 4 basil leaves
  • handful of grapes
  • guava juice

Muddle grapes, grapefruit and basil. Add all ingredients except guava and shake. Pour in collins glass and top with guava.

This came in third place for me and my friends. Actually my peeps thought for sure this would win an award. The mix of the guava with basil provided a nice smokey but sweet flavor that went nicely with the tequila.

Pics from the Malo Rosangel party.

Posted on LAist.