Booze / Cocktails

Mixologist Katie Loeb Advances to NOLA for Cocktail Competition

The USBG “Make It Exotico” Cocktail Competition has named its Philadelphia semifinal winner. A four-person judging panel named Katie Loeb, mixologist at Kanella South in Philadelphia, the winner with her cocktail, “Javelina.”

Katie Loeb at Make it Exotico Semifinal in Philadelphia

Katie Loeb lights up the competition!

Along with the trophy for winning this leg of the competition, Loeb receives an all-expense paid trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans to compete against five other finalists for the Grand Prize: an all-expense paid trip to Exotico Tequila’s distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.

Loeb’s “Javelina” cocktail recipe:


  • 1.5 oz. Exotico Reposado

  • .5 oz. mescal joven

  • .75 oz. cold brewed espresso

  • .5 oz. Ramazzotti nectar

  • .25 oz. agave nectar

  • 2 dashes of chocolate mole bitters

  • flamed orange peel

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail pitcher. Ice down and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Flame orange peel over surface of the drink, rub rim of glass and drop into glass.

At the Philadelphia semifinal event, which was held at The Franklin Bar on May 9, the audience also crowned Loeb’s “Javelina” as the crowd-favorite cocktail.

The USBG “Make It Exotico” cocktail competition invited mixologists across the country to submit their best cocktail recipe using Exotico Blanco or Exotico Reposado 100% agave tequila as the base spirit. A panel of expert USBG (United States Bartenders’ Guild) judges narrowed down the entries to 10 semifinalists for each of the six competition cities: Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Denver, Colo.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; and Charleston, S.C.

Semifinal participants had a maximum of seven minutes to make their cocktails live for four judges, who judged on appearance, aroma, creativity, taste and overall impression. Judges included USBG professionals, tequila and cocktail experts, and local media personalities.

The USBG “Make It Exotico” Cocktail Competition is organized by the United States Bartenders’ Guild and sponsored by Exotico Tequila. This is the competition’s inaugural year.

  • 2nd place: Catherine Hood of Eight Seas Tiki Bar Pop-up in Providence, RI with the “Bootblack Swizzle”

  • 3rd place: Jacob Lesitsky of Skytop in the Poconos with the “Cerveza Sour”

I was honored to be a judge during this competition.

Make It Exotico Cocktail Competition Philadelphia Semifinal Judges (from left): Adam Schmidt of Drink Nation, Marilyn Johnson of Philly Grub, Catherine Manning of USBG, and Jenny DeHuff of Philly Voice.

It was fierce and all of the mixologists brought their “A” game!

Jesse Dureka of The Rittenhouse Library Bar

Let’s all wish Katie luck in NOLA to bring home a win for Philly!

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