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November 2020

Gardenia Santos started her passion for Yoga and Bartending at the same time. When she moved to Miami, the Bar Scene gave her an opportunity to grow but also took more of her time.  When COVID-19 demanded to close the Bars, she felt the need of supporting the industry with her Yoga Classes. Today, she’s running weekly Yoga Events and Private classes.  

When did you start your bartending career?

I started about ten years ago in Fort Hood, Texas. When I first started, it was more because of the money. But then I ended up falling in love with the concept of serving others. I began to understand more about the industry. I decided to invest more of my time into it create my own cocktails, and learn more about different types of spirits. 

How did your journey as a Yoga instructor begin?

I was married to a Sergeant First Class. He was always working and being deployed. I started filling up my time by taking yoga classes and wanted to understand more about what was going on with my body and all its changes. I took the 200TT AT Breath and Body Yoga in Austin, Tx. After that training, I knew my life had changed in so many aspects. For me, knowledge is power. I took as many certifications as I could like 300TT at wanderlust, SUP yoga, and many more. During all the training, I was still bartending (to be able to pay for them) I was bartending, teaching yoga, and studying. Love and gratitude have been real for both worlds. 

Gardenia 9How do these passions inform one another?

I moved to Miami after a very difficult divorce. I moved here by myself. I did not know anyone. I just came with hopes and dreams and lots of faith. Every job I applied to as a bartender called me back, but I decided to take the job with the Falsettos Companie Ariete Hospitality Group. It was supposed to be part-time, but that didn’t happen. Bartending in Miami is a whole other level. I had to keep up with the industry. The next thing I know, I was already the General Manager of one of the most popular Craft cocktail bars in South Beach, The Scapegoat.  At The Scapegoat, I leveled up my skills with training and certifications such as BarSmart. BarSmart is where I met so many wonderful and very talented people who supported me and who still support me here in Miami. I didn’t have time to teach yoga. Then Covid-19 happened and all I could think about is how can I now give back to all these people who have been supporting me here in Miami?  Yoga was the answer. I started giving live classes online for free on my Instagram. I was also teaching free classes on Zoom. I wanted people to feel supported and loved, even though there were so much negativity and uncertain things going on. I wanted them to have a positive outlook, something to help them escape. Then a beautiful friend of mine, Juliana Arango from Bacardi USA, called me asking to do a yoga session at the beach. We had a conversation about it. Our first Yoga class was just for friends but it felt so good. We wanted to share with others.  20 people signed up for the next class. That’s when Yoga Happy Hour, Yoga Brunch, and all the other events started coming into place.

What kind of Yoga classes do you offer and who are they targeted to?

I offer all types of Yoga classes: Yoga for beginners, Chair Yoga, PTSD Yoga, Aqua Yoga, SUP Yoga, Guided Meditation, and many more. These classes are all focused on your breath; We call it Vinyasa Flow. It is a movement with consciousness, one breath one movement. The target audience is everyone who is looking for a better understanding of their body and who wants to have a better connection with their inner self.

What can we expect from your classes? Gardenia 5

I always start all my classes with intention. Intentions set us up for a better connection with the present moment. I finish the flow with a little guided meditation. We are offering positive energy, uniting us to what exists within the NOW, the present. At our events, we offer all that I just mention plus it’s a different way to connect. Rather than sitting at the bar and having a cocktail, you can enjoy one hour of yoga. You can also gather with friends, connect with yourself and others, and still enjoy a nice low abv cocktail afterward. In each class, I like to leave people feeling better than when they walked in, so I think that’s what stands out with my yoga class or events.

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally?

Covid-19 has helped me come back to my purpose and align me with what matters which is helping people believe in themselves.

Where do you see yourself next?

I see myself in my own space teaching and helping people with yoga. I see myself teaching at my own yoga retreats and creating more events with other people that have the same mentality to help and outgrow people’s fears. I want to spread more love and light into our community because right now, we need to unite the good ones to make sure the negativity has no more room to grow. 

Where can we find your next classes?

You can always find all my classes and events at my IG @yogardenia. 

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Los Altos is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the team, Lead Bartender and cocktail BOSS, Ray Guzman- Ray has been using this down time to re-vamp the already STELLAR cocktail menu.  Some new drink additions guests can expect to find on the menu are the Canta Rico $14, made with tequila and fresh blend of citrus juices, inspired by the classic Cantarito commonly found in the bars and cafes of Jalisco, Mexico, along with the TLC – (Tamarind, Love & Chile) made with scotch & bourbon, tamarind and habanero chiles.   Ray’s bartending expertise is extensive, having starting his hospitality career in Mexico as a teenager in the Los Altos region of Jalisco he brings an authentic Mexican touch to each cocktail he creates.

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Canta Rico by Los Altos

To comply with all social distancing measures and to make sure guests are safe they have rearranged the space to a more intimate cocktail lounge design with plush seating adding an extra cozy vibe.

In addition to the more intimate lounge concept, Los Altos is excited to announce they will now have a food menu featuring Mexican fare bar bites and small plates including three types our fresh made-to-order guacamole, six variations of burritos, and of course, our famous tacos where guests can mix and match choosing from eight different options.  Let’s not forget some staple Antojitos including flautas, gorditas, elote loco and quesadillas are also available on the new menu.

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Los Altos Lounge

Los Altos will now be open from 5 PM to Curfew on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  

HAPPY HOUR: Given the new hours, Los Altos is excited to offer a happy hour from 5 PM to 8 PM Thurs-Saturday where cocktails and appetizers will be 50% off during those hours.

Reservations are encouraged and bottle service will still be offered.  Groups of up to six are welcome and large parties up to 10 people.

Los Altos 6

Image by Blazin Visualz

 Our Favorite new Cocktail: “Piña Ahumada”  Mezcal union, beefeater gin, pineapple, ginger, lime, angostura. $14 

Los Altos is located at 521 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33130.

LosAltosMiami.com

IG: @LosAltosMia

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Before becoming a brand ambassador for Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo, Alex Bartfield spent nearly eleven years working for the three biggest distributors in Florida: Southern Wine, Republic National, and Breakthru Beverage. As a brand ambassador, Alex currently maintains a professional relationship with Breakthru Beverage with whom he worked for six years, demonstrating his ability to make meaningful and sustainable connections. Alex is the Brand Ambassador of Florida which means that he is in charge of visiting all the accounts statewide. Alex values servicing his community, meeting new members of the hospitality industry, and being the number one guy to call for all things hospitality in South Florida. 

What is your connection to the hospitality industry? How did your journey begin?

I started in 2009. My previous experience is with a distributor. I worked for all three of the big distributors in Florida. I got a chance to experience the retail side and also the on-premise side. I even worked for a distributor on the west coast in Vegas for about a year. That’s been my experience, so coming onto the supplier’s side after being on the distributor side for ten and a half years was a huge change for me. 

How does your previous role as a distributor differ from your new role as Amaro Montenegro/Select Italian Liquor’s Brand Ambassador?

I went from selling 10,000 different products, and now I’m selling a handful of products-we sell about three or four products. You have to take the supply on your own. When you’re working for a distributor you’re selling cases and cases. You’re not initially building a brand. You’re there to help out, so there’s a huge difference. My connection to hospitality now is that you have to get to know the person and get in touch with them more. You have to be friends with them. You’re not just going in on a sale’s call or taking an order. Now, you’re part of the hospitality crowd. 

What led to your role as a Brand Ambassador for Amaro Montenegro and Select Italian Liquor? What do you enjoy about your brands?

I wanted to get over to the brand side for a while. What really caught my attention for these products is what they are doing in today’s market, it’s versatility. The Amaro Montenegro is traditionally known for being a digestive, an after-dinner drink. It’s low proof and low ABV it works well in various cocktails. It redefines a lot of classic cocktails. It can go into any drink. It’s all about the balance of bitterness and sweetness. It’s becoming very popular. It’s not going anywhere so it drew me in. I love that these products are with my previous distributor, Breakthru Beverage, as well. I grew with that distributor, so it was fun to work with all the same people again. I’m half Greek, and my family always told me that I have to work for a European company because they are the best, they are nice people, they are lovely, they are genuine. That struck me when I began working for this company based out of Bologna. Select Aperitivo is one hundred years old, and it is known for being the original ingredient for the Venetian Spritz. The only difference is that they garnish it with a green olive. The Venetian Spritz is more luxurious, and it elevates the spritz more. This drink is an introduction to someone’s night. It is an aperitivo but the Amaro is a digestivo. Both are versatile in drinks.

What are the key characteristics of being a successful Brand Ambassador?

You have to get in touch with your brand. You have to be yourself. You have to have fun with the brand, get to know it, and also get to know who you will be working with as well. It’s a different world. Now, you’re working on a bartender’s schedule. You’re sitting down with them when they’re starting. You’re asking them questions. You’re engaging with the hospitality people a lot more. You have to be out at night, that’s where people see you. 

We all bring different values and skills to the table. How do you differ from other BAs?

Everyone is different in their way. Like I mentioned before, you have to be you. Everyone has a different personality and a different way of bringing that into their products. I would say that my biggest thing is being out in the market as much as I can. Some brand ambassadors love to do videos on camera and interviews. Even throughout Covid, we’re active. Then we have brand ambassadors who get out in person as much as they can and show their faces. That way everyone knows who you are. That is what I have been doing. I’m a street guy at heart. I like to go out. I had to adapt during Covid with the Zoom meetings and being on camera. I like to let everyone know who I am and what I can offer. 

What are Amaro Montenegro’s values? How do these values intersect with your principles and standards for yourself as well as for the industry? 

Amaro Montenegro, as a company and as a whole, is very familiar oriented. We’re all about liveliness and fun. We do a lot of trips throughout the year.  For example, next year I’ll bring my wife with me when I go to Italy. They’ve been able to give us more downtime. This company has given me a lot of life and a lot of value through that.  

Alex

Image by Blazin Visualz

What is it like to work for Amaro Montenegro and Select Italian Liquor? What do you enjoy the most about your job (education, partnerships, events, etc.)?

You can be you. You can be freer. I like the fact that these brands are versatile, you can work with everybody. That is what I love about this. When I worked for a distributor, I was selling certain goals and certain brands. You really can’t go out of your boundaries as much as you want. I work with the whole state, so I have so many options. I try to work with everyone. That is the most important thing at the end of the day. Being the product that we are, I love the freedom that I have to just go out there and be me. I can bring this product anywhere I want. 

What are some challenges of being a BA for Amaro Montenegro? How has COVID-19 impacted the industry?

With Covid for the last seven months, it has been rough on us because we’re a hospitality brand. We’re not a consumer brand yet. In Italy and Europe, we are. In America, we’re still becoming. With hospitality, at the end of the day, these products cater to people.

What’s a significant goal of yours?

I want to make sure that the whole hospitality industry gets to know me and knows that I’m the guy for them. I am there for them. I am the person to call when you need something. I would love to be the person that everyone calls out and have them say hey, Alex, can you support this promotion I have coming up? Hey, do you want to be a part of my Halloween party, my Christmas party, etc.? I want everyone to know me in my backyard. I want to get out there and meet as many people as I can from the top of Florida to the bottom of Florida. 

How may we follow your journey?

Follow Alex on Instagram @Alex_bart0520 and on Facebook as Alex Bartfield. 

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