@the_garnishguy: Cocktail Stylist & Influencer
This stylish cocktail savant is taking garnishes to the next level.
You might not expect a former finance professional behind this bar, creating cinematic creations at the Florida bar where he works, but Josue Romero is that character.
He has strong vibes of possibly being the most interesting man in the world. Once you talk with him, you realize that you weren't wrong, and that he's a lot more than that.
A relatively difficult yet seemingly simple question I ask bartenders: what is a craft cocktail?
Josue's take is that you need three parts for a craft cocktail: 1) Fresh ingredients 2) A skilled person 3) Beautiful presentation. Hard to argue with that.
Do's and Don'ts
Josue advises when you're at his bar to respect your bartender. This includes controlling any urges you might have to hit on your bartender who is just there trying to make an honest living and keep all of his or her patrons happy (look but don't touch! ...or say anything dumb).
His next little piece of advice was surprisingly simple:
I've been hearing "trust your bartender" quite often these days, all from bartenders who work at the best bars in the country. This advice really makes sense only if you're at an establishment that has that level of quality.
Josue's Take on Current Trends
Trending up spirits: mezcal, Japanese whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin
Trending up brands: Montelobos Mezcal, Italicus Liqueur
Trending down spirits: vermouth, vodka
Trending down brands: Bulleit whiskey, creamy cocktails and fizzes
Rapid Fire Questions
Craft cocktails on draft here to stay? Yes. They have mass appeal because they're easy and efficient.
Do you consider "craft" or "local" spirits for your cocktail programs? Definitely. It's all about new and providing different spirits for your customers.
Tiki here to stay? I'm not a big fan, but this will stick around.
"Craft" cocktails at chain restaurants (i.e. prob not so crafty) are good or bad for the industry? I think it's good because it helps spread consumer awareness about craft cocktails.
"Trust your bartender. "
At Josue's bar, Odd Birds, most of the cocktails are "bartender's choice". This means you're trusting your bartender, and we can't imagine a better man to trust.
At a different top-secret bar he's consulting for (he didn't specify), we can surmise that potentially all of the cocktails will be concocted in a similar way, allowing for the bartender to create new menus on a whim, and further elevating the craft cocktail experience.
This seems to be the direction of the best cocktail bars in L.A and around the globe. Parallel to some of the finest dining experiences in the world, this gives the most talented bartenders the ability to curate new menus, create novel cocktails that can't be replicated anywhere else, and to truly delight and surprise every person who shows up that night.
Just like Josue, we find that truly interesting and impressive.