Home Profiles

Profiles

Maestro Ronero Nelsón Hernandez shares more than his love for rum. He also shares his strong devotion for his country, his culture, and his community. “Expertise, patience, and passion are necessary to be a Master Ronero,” shared Nelsón. “because the important thing is not to do what you love, but to love what you do.” Nelsón’s commitment to be the image of his whole team, fills him with pride to represent those grains of sand that each team member contributes to the final product. Together, they all shine. 

Nelsón Hernandez, in addition to being passionate about distillation, and having immense pride in his work and team, also stands out in his role as an educator. He teaches how rum is prepared in different parts of the world and shares his passion for his craft and his product. “It is not just selling products. We sell Brand-Country, name, values, idiosyncrasy…” said Nelsón.

Diplomatico 12Nelsón went on to explain, “Our business model is closeness. It is familiarity. It is direct contact. We like to be known. To be seated at this table and show who we are.”

Passion is one of the biggest values that ​​he shares with all those who meet him. Despite having had only fifteen years on the market, Diplomático Rum has been within the top 10 international TRIM Magazine for seven years. The International TRIM Magazine selects 50 bars in the world and the 10 best brands with the most impressive sales and trends. “Being there among companies with great experience makes us wonder how we got there,” said Nelsón. “It is because of the quality of our product and our business power.”

Before Nelsón became Diplomático Rum’s Maestro Ronero, he was a mechanical engineer. In 1979, his first professional experience was in the oil industry.  Then, an opportunity arose for him in his hometown. A distiller needed someone to take care of the plant’s total maintenance. He applied for the job and was selected to run the plant. 

“When you work in the maintenance area, you need to know all the processes and equipment involved in the process,” explained Nelsón. 

At the time of Nelsón’s employment, Sigra, the number one Canadian company in the world, served as the founding member of the distillery. The strict quality control that characterized each step in the process impressed Nestor. He began to get involved with distillate, learning about distillates.

In 2002, a new administration took over the distillery and strengthened quality control. The new owners already had experience in the alcoholic beverage industry. Under the steady helm of the new management, the distillery became Destilerias Unidas, SA (DUSA). Today, the company has nine top-of-the-line products. DUSA became a 100% family-owned and 100% national company that opened many doors by leading with heart, compassion, and dedication.

From raw materials to bottling, everything at DUSA is made in-house. The company is a factory in which a family is a team. Within this family, all medical service is free, including medicines. There is a free dining room. There is free transportation. DUSA provides direct support to the community with medicine, transportation, and environmental education. Although Venezuela has its difficulties, DUSA considers the well-being of the family, and that makes them different from their competitors.

We asked Nelsón about the history of Diplomático Rum, and his main inspiration Don Juancho. “Don Juancho was a successful nobleman among the sugar cane world. He was born in Vzla and the son of Spanish parents. He was a Mantuano. He supported the development of the community and he loved to travel. He was also famously a lover of rum and when he arrived he shared his favorite alcohol with his friends.”

The name “Diplomático Rum” comes from the fact that people remarked that “Juancho travels so much that he looks like a diplomat.” Don Juancho had a very exclusive reserve at his house and people always commented about his legacy and how he has been a positive influence. The name Planas represents how Don Juancho helped in the development of the Planas region. Don Juancho is a significant part of Diplomático Rum’s philosophy.

You can visit https://rondiplomatico.com/ to learn more about their products. 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

Tremendo Garnish Founder and Bartender Angel Gomez, aka Angel de la Blanca, originated from Ecuador. In 2009, before becoming a bartender, Angel pursued a postgraduate degree in Argentina. Looking for work while he completed his studies, Angel became a cook in a restaurant. One day, his manager asked him for assistance in bringing supplies to the restaurant’s bar area. After seeing Angel’s hospitality skills at work, his manager gave him an opportunity to be his assistant at the bar. His manager explained everything he knew about the bartending profession and how the career had a lot to do with service. Angel had a lot of potential because of his own value of helping people and tending to their needs. Angel’s manager also taught him about wine and Gin because he was English and Gin was a part of his culture. It was this friendship that introduced Angel to the world of cocktails. He was so enamored with this world, with the hospitality industry, that he forgot about his graduate degree and became a bartender. He is currently the founder of Tremendo Garnish which he started during the pandemic and he sat down with 2ozMag Founder Helena Jose to discuss his booming new business. 

Screen Shot 2021 11 04 at 9.48.09 AMDespite the pandemic’s previous threat to the hospitality industry and its professionals, Tremendo Garnish has been a successful business because of Angel’s passion, ingenuity, and dedication. However, it was a long, difficult journey to that point. “It was a crucial moment,” said Angel, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The bartenders and the cocktail union suffered a lot as well as other unions.” Angel’s job also suffered because they were used to receiving customers and generating an entertaining environment that could not reach its full potential during the pandemic. In fact, Angel went straight into survival mode during the pandemic. He got a job at a construction company, but quickly realized that his heart and his expertise remained in hospitality. “I saw many colleagues developing their own ideas,” said Angel. “Based on my experience, I had the opportunity to create a brand called Tremendo Garnish, which is a product that bartenders use to decorate cocktails.”

Screen Shot 2021 11 04 at 9.55.23 AMAngel noticed that there was a need that existed in his profession that he could offer and thus improve life for his fellow bartenders. He developed his idea and created Tremendo Garnish. With Tremendo Garnish, Angel created a series of garnishes, decorations that bartenders place on cocktails, to satisfy the need for bartenders to create unique, artistic drinks. According to Angel, Tremendo Garnish works on the design and modification of garnishes and makes artistic proposals through dehydrated fruits and other elements for the bartender. “We massify the creation of the bartender, which usually takes time to create and replicate that detail,” explained Angel. “We save him a workload, because many times that detail is aimed at up to hundreds of cocktails, through Tremendo Garnish, we can save [the bartender] the extra work and time he spends doing it. We deliver the garnish ready to use.”

Tremendo Garnish offers aesthetic solutions for cocktails. Dried, seasonal, and exotic fruits characterize their garnishes. They have dragon fruit, golden dragon fruit, kiwi, macadamia, blood orange, limes, oranges, and many other flavors. “The first line we took was with dehydrated fruits which is an ancient technique that currently takes us to another level,” said Angel. “The dehydration technique allows us to preserve the fruit. Previously, there was a problem in the cocktail bar because perhaps the fruit was beginning to rot and we did not know, or we had to waste it and throw it away.” As a result of the dehydration, the fruit garnish maintains its condition better and lasts up to six months. The dehydrated fruit also maintains its appearance because it is not wet or decomposing. With this garnish, the bartender has an opportunity to add more elements such as spices, syrups, etc. They can place gold on the garnish, or other herbs and have a more captivating finished product. Angel added, “We also have our own creations, such as edible gold lamination, CBD gums, emulsions, and soon a line of 6-7 salts inspired by Mexican culture, such as “Sal de gusano” (worm salt), Sal de Hormiga (ant’s salt), chipotle salt, and others.”

Angel and his success as the founder of Tremendo Garnish reveal the payoff in trusting one’s intuition and developing one’s passion. Find Tremendo Garnish at around 70% of the bars in Miami or visit their website at www.tremendogarnish.com for more information.

0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

Jassil, the first woman to become Maestra Ronera for Brugal and the youngest Master of Rum in the industry, grew up listening to her family tell the story of Ron Brugal. She has always known that she was a part of his legacy. When she realized that she could make a career in rum, she became fascinated with the industry. With a skilled nose and refined palate, Jassil began acting on her fascination and training as a “Maestra Ronera”. (Master of Rum) 

In a recent interview, we asked her about continuing the legacy for Brugal Rum, and Jassil said, “Becoming Maestra Ronera gave me the opportunity to open new doors in the spirits industry for women of my generation and of future generations to enjoy the wonderful world behind rum creation. It has also given me the opportunity to honor and be part of the legacy of the Brugal brand.”

“At the same time,” continued Jassil. “It’s difficult and intimidating to combine tradition and innovation because it’s a big responsibility. It requires originality and confidence to take risks while respecting the history of “the process…” It’s a welcome challenge because I’m doing something I love.”

Creating a product with positive international reception also feeds into Jassil’s love for her craft. “I have been able to create great products that people love and admire globally, and have been able to represent my country, Dominican Republic, with indescribable pride,” said Jassil. 

After creating Brugal 1888, Jassil has another accomplishment of which to be proud. The current Maestros Roneros, including Jassil, created Brugal 1888 in honor of their ancestor’s innovation and long-established goal to create quality rum.  The rum benefits from the skills and expertise passed down through five generations of the Brugal family Maestros Roneros. 

“There are secrets that are to this day still kept in the hands of the family rum masters,” teased Jassil. 

Brugal Family 1Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado is a rum that is produced in the Dominican Republic. It is created by combining the full flavors of bourbon and sherry casks through a double-aging process. The double-aging technique, though usually reserved for high-end, single malts, allows consumers to sip Brugal 1888. The smooth, balanced rum also has notes of vanilla, red fruits, and toffee intertwined with cocoa and natural oak spice. Finally, a long-lasting aftertaste leaves a desirable hint of honey that is both elegant and divine. 

Brugal 1888 inspires consumers to reimagine their favorite stirred, spirit-forward cocktail. They can discover a Rum Negroni or Old-fashioned with a memorable and distinct taste. Or rum enthusiasts can enjoy the spirit neat to stimulate their senses and witness how the rum evolves in the glass.

Screen Shot 2021 08 20 at 8.15.09 PMAccording to Brugal’s website, Don Andres Brugal Montaner had one idea when he moved to the Dominican Republic. He dreamed of perfecting the art of rum-making. In 1888, Don actualized that dream by creating the Brugal company and thus the Brugal legend.

Five generations and nearly 130 years later, the Brugal Family continues to craft the $40 rum. Only family members become Maestro Ronero. Jassil Villanueva Quintana and Gustavo Ortega Zeller currently hold the honor of living out their family legacy.

Jassil, what do you enjoy the most from all the processes as Maestra Ronera? 

As a Maestra Ronera, I am involved in all aspects of the rum making process but most of my focus and work is within the Ageing and Formulation of Brugal. Quality cask and wood is so important for the development of Brugal rum’s flavor so overseeing this and inspecting quality is a key part of my role that I really enjoy. Also leading the development of new products and trying to create new flavors through the combinations of casks and blends is a really rewarding part of the role.  

How do you differ from other Master Rum Makers? What qualities should a successful Maestra Ronera possess?

Maestros Roneros is the name given to Brugal’s Master Rum Makers,  every rum master should have as a member of the Brugal family.

 To be a Brugal Maestro Ronero independently for being a member of the family we need to have sensory skills, a deep knowledge of the products based on the development of the senses, as well as an excellent gustative capacity to define the mixtures in the elaboration of the rums. It is an art that requires great talent, dedication and passion for the world of rum.

What do you think are the new challenges into creating new spirits? 

One of the challenges for new generations in the rum industry is to keep the spirit of innovation and creativity that characterizes our industry alive and to continue sharing a passion and appreciation for the craft of rum making with the world.

In the case of Brugal, the 5th generation of Brugal Maestros Roneros continue to work on developing new products for the years to come. The best contribution we can make is to add our own personal touch and continue to serve as role models and advocates for rum and the generations to come. That is the most important legacy we will leave.

Where do you see the Rum industry today and in the future?

I believe the Rum Industry is permanently in search, and attentive to the emergence of new business opportunities, and tries to foresee the changes that lie ahead. Helping us with the knowledge, experience, capacity and common sense necessary to make good decisions is what anyone needs today and, in the future, to continue making this spirits category full of innovation where brands such as Brugal offer a unique involvement to consumers by adapting the experiences and profiles of rums to the new trends.

What’s coming up for Brugal, anything you can share with us?

There are a few exciting things planned over the next few months, but you’ll have to wait and see! 

For more information about Brugal 1888, visit their website at Brugal-rum.com and follow their journey on Instagram (@brugal1888rum). You may also find updates on Twitter @ronburgal_es , Facebook Ronbrugalrd, and Youtube Brugal Rum USA  

*Images credit Brugal 1888*

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

At Krüs Kitchen, Wednesdays are the best days. Krüs Wine Wednesday Tastings are available every Wednesday and feature wine that Krus Kitchen’s very own Wine expert and Krüs co-founder Josh Hackler has meticulously selected. With exceptional music from Vinyl Djs, Chef Sebastián’s most delicious bites, and a fantastic assortment of wine, Josh provides guests with an excellent atmosphere to wine down.

Josh

Josh Hackler, Co- Founder

As Josh aptly stated in a sit-down interview with 2oz Mag Creator Helena Jose, Krüs Wine is “a place for people to learn and enjoy wine.” Helmed by Josh and his expertise, enthusiasm, and unmatched eagerness for the craft, Krüs wine functions as a place to satisfy curiosity and explore the vast and incredible world of wine without fear, insecurity, or pretension. 

Josh is no stranger to the hospitality industry. “I had a wine business out of college,” said Josh describing his life before Krüs. “I imported Spanish wine. I lived in Spain. I sold that business in 2016 and wanted to go back to my roots in hospitality…I’ve been in the hospitality industry my whole life.”

Josh decided to co-found Krüs because of his past experiences and his present passions. “Given my influence of food and wine, and my background in importing wine, I really wanted to create a program that was both on-premise and off-premise,” said Josh. “Miami laws allow for that which is unique here in the city.”

“We wanted to create a space where we could tell a story and really promote learning and the whole education side on-premise,” continued Josh. “Obviously, [it was also great to] have a good time drinking great wine. But also [it was important to have] a great physical space to promote…a unique wine program.”  

kruskkrusteamkrusw2

According to the Krüs Market website, Josh and his team are intentional about their wine selection. Last week, Krüs ended Season 1 with Zero Zero wine. Zero Zero wine producers remove themselves from the winemaking process and allow nature to shape and improve upon the product. The name of the wine comes from the fact that there is “ zero synthetic chemical input in the vineyard and zero in the winemaking process.”

Further, the Krüs team offers low-intervention producers who not only provide an exquisite product but also express a deep “respect and care for their vines and wine.” There have been over 24 tastings hosted at Krüs Kitchen so far, and individual themes allow each tasting to stand out from the last. For the second season, Josh intends to move from wine tastings to wine events. 

The Krüs wine events will continue educating guests on all things wine while also allowing guests to socialize among themselves. Guests will sample wines and listen to the musical stylings of the vinyl Dj as they meet and greet other like-minded wine novices, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts. In the spirit of the first few wine tastings, Krüs is committed to offering a safe, comfortable environment for guests to enjoy the festivities. Because there are only ten tickets available each week, guests should note that tickets go live for sale each Thursday for the following week’s tasting. 

In addition to the wine tastings and upcoming wine events, guests can join the Krüs Wine Club.  Club members have access to a “world-class curation of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines.” For $100 a month (plus tax and delivery fees), members will receive four natural wines that the Krüs team curated with care. The shipments go out the first week of every month. However, members can save money and avoid the shipping cost by picking their box up from Krüs Kitchen themselves. Other membership perks include 10% off all artisanal Krüs Market items, $10 off WednesdayWinetasting tickets, and 15% off half cases of six wines. Lastly, a complimentary Krüs Market item is available for pick-up during your first month of membership.

The first event is set to kick off the first week of September but keep up to date on upcoming events by going to the Krüs Kitchen website https://www.kruskitchen.com. You can also click the social media icons to get the latest updates on products, tastings, and other exciting opportunities like joining the Krüs Wine Club.

Hours:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Friday: 12-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m.

Saturday: 12-9 p.m.

Sundays: 12-5 p.m.

Location:

3413 Main Hwy, Miami, FL 33133

Website(s):

https://www.kruskitchen.com/ (MAIN)

https://www.krusmarket.com/ (MARKET)

Social:

https://www.instagram.com/kruskitchen/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/Kruskitchen

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

Gorilla Kie is a self-made mover and shaker. Her best qualities as a mixologist, bartender, and entrepreneur are being creative, innovative, and motivated. According to Kie, you have to be innovative to be creative, and to be creative, you have to be innovative. One cannot exist without the other. This Gorilla Kie Mixology motto is the code that she lives by, and her creativity, innovation, and motivation allow her to turn everything she touches into gold. With her Midas Touch and signature gorilla moves, Gorilla Kie pays homage to her ambitious, artist self and her Haitian culture. Kie has also made a name for herself and set herself apart as one to watch as her charisma and charm catapult her to local stardom. Gorilla kie is currently a Bar Manager at Syndicate Wynwood where she also created a cocktail menu with her very own consulting company, Gorilla Kie Mixology.

Tell us your story and hospitality background. 

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for about seven or eight years. I’ve been bartending for about seven years. I have worked for corporate restaurants such as Darden. They have Bahama Breeze and Red Lobster- I’ve worked at both. I’ve also started doing creative cocktail making which is what people know me for today. I’ve only been doing it for about two years. I am self-taught. I never went to bartending school. I’ve taken a couple of classes online as far as certificates to better understand my craft. Everything, for me, is just an art of expression.  I like to say that I am a spirit serving the spirits to spirits. So my spirits need to be crafted and delegated in a manner in which people can respect, enjoy, and understand what it is that I do and why I do it. 

What inspired you to become a mixologist? What influences your mixology?

I have always had a great fascination with people throwing bottles in the air and then making beautiful art. I do not have anyone who I want to be like. If anything, I’m probably going to be the first of my kind. I am definitely paying homage to the people who have been in the industry for many years, especially the Blacks that traveled North to own their own restaurants and bars in the D.C. and Chicago area. Blacks were creating the Mint Julep, for example, which is huge for the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby these days. I definitely pay homage to things of that nature, however, when it comes to my craft, everything is inspired. I’m an artist. I’m a creator. I try to make the best out of anything and everything that I do. 

Gorilla Kie MixWhat are the key characteristics of being a successful mixologist? 

Anybody can be a mixologist. Once you taste something and you fall in love with it, you just start to create ideas. Anyone can do that. What makes me “Gorilla Kie,” what sets me apart from any and everybody else, is that I take it a step further. Mixology is one of my reasons to connect with humanity. These days people are on their phones. There isn’t a lot of social activity going on between one human and the next. When people come to my bar, or when I go to people for private events, it is a perfect opportunity to be able to talk to people. It’s a perfect opportunity to be able to say, “Hey, how are you doing?” It’s great to have a conversation with people for people to open up. Spirits can be a really good thing or a really bad thing. A lot of people like to call it the Devil’s Juice, but I like to call it Gorilla Kie’s Juice because it is a therapeutic, medicinal method. 

How do you differ from other mixologists?

I give a beautiful experience to people. I try to change people’s perspective and understanding of what it means to come to a bar. For me, as a woman, a person of color, and the L in the LGBT, I want to be able to change perspectives. I am the minority in this industry so I want to leave a positive imprint for people. Most importantly, I want people to take a positive message when they leave my bar: they may come in one way, but they will leave another (happy). That is the most fulfilling aspect when it comes to this craft.  It’s not just cocktail making. It’s getting to know people. It’s getting to love people. It’s getting to build those relationships that can last a lifetime!

Is there any advice you would impart to individuals who don’t see themselves in the industry but who may want to be a part of it?

What I would say to people who want to be in this industry, who happen to identify as a minority in any way, is to understand what it is that they love and if they can see themselves doing it every day.  One of the ways to be able to do that is to practice that craft and ask yourself if you’ve become exhausted or tired of it. That is not necessarily to be misconstrued with being burned out because anybody can be burned out with something they love. Everything in moderation. If you don’t feel like it is something you can do on an everyday basis, then it is not your passion. But if it is, find creative ways to make it your best. Have conversations with fellow people about your line of work to see if it’s something you really want to do. Once you figure that out, maximize to your fullest potential.  No matter what color, creed or walk of life people are; ask and inquire about some knowledge to become the best at your craft. Not only will You find this most rewarding, but you will  further understand that this is a great way to becoming your best self. 

You are known as “Gorilla Kie”. What is the significance of the Gorilla?

Gorillas are my spirit animal. My mom is an American educator and my father is an immigrant from Haiti who became a Master Electrician and Contractor. I grew up in a strict household when it came to education and when it came to what my brother and I were fed on television. We couldn’t watch cable during the week. All we were left with was Bill Nye: The Science Guy, the Discovery Channel, etc. Within that process, I used to love watching documentaries about animals. I fell in love with gorillas. You know how they say that lions are the kings of the safari? Well, gorillas are the king of the jungle. I stay true to that. This industry is a jungle within itself so I am that gorilla. I am that king. I am a queen in every way, but I am a king as well. I believe that one and the other are a unit. They are still royalty. They are still top tier. I am an androgynous individual. Yes, I am female, but I have a lot of masculine qualities. I see myself as “king”. Loosely based on that, I put “Kie” for “Kierra” for short.  

2021 04 26 Woodford Reserve Chose FR 14019 EditedYou are also known for your signature Gorilla moves. Where did these moves originate?

My moves developed over time. A lot of people don’t know that I practiced Martial Arts when I was younger. Because of muscle memory, my foot movement carried over to my shaking methods. While shaking or when I scream, I’m literally calling on the ancestors. I am aiming to make sure that, before I give the cocktail, it is gifted with the spirit’s presence. That might be the Haitian in me. I move accordingly depending on what cocktail I’m making or who I’m talking to. It’s not choreographed. I just go with it. I am all about physics and alchemy. It is all a form of energy being put into that spirit. It has to be perfect. If it’s not perfect, it’s unconducive with me. That is the meaning behind ‘the shake’. 

On your IG you say, “I AM, THE Mixologist/Bartender who turns everything ‘TOUCHED’ into GOLD.” When did you learn that you had the Midas Touch and how has it impacted your professional and/or personal life?

I am a very powerful individual. I mean that in a spiritual and a courageous way. I am very confident in knowing that anything I do will be done to the best of my ability. Whether it’s a conversation, making a cocktail, or taking my lovely wife out to dinner, it is going to be a golden moment. Gold, other than diamond, is one of the most precious stones in this world. I am gold. I see myself as gold. I see myself as unbreakable. I am a stone of color. Gold is very powerful and so I want any and everything I do, touch, or say, to be impacted on that next individual equivalently. 

How would you describe Miami in three words? How would you describe the Mixology scene?

I was born and raised here in Miami. If I can describe Miami in three words I would say breeze, hot, and fine. That is Miami. When it comes to the Mixology scene, I’ll be honest, and say that we need a lot of work. I am well traveled when it comes to the Mixology scene in the United States. I don’t really know a scene here. I am not one who has been in the game for a long time compared to some individuals not living in Miami. There are ambitious professionals in the game of mixology. They go to different distilleries and learn how to become Master Blenders- hopefully one day.  I don’t see the same charisma down here in Miami. For me, personally, that is a challenge and I would really like to help change that. 

Discuss Gorilla Kie Mixology LLC. What are some of your services?

I have been asked to start a business for the longest time. I was thinking to myself, “How would I start a business?” I’m the last person in my family to become a business owner. I’m the first person in my family to be in this line of business. I wanted to monetize and maximize my business with what it is that I do. I started to create cocktails for pop up shows. I would pre-package them. I thought, number one, it’s a great way to network. Number two, it’s a great way to get your name out there. Number three, it’s a great way to find out what these Gorilla Kie cocktails are all about and also setting up a safe, creative space for people to come and see me outside of the bar. I can have more personal interactions with them. These were some of the incentives of starting a business. Another incentive was being able to be a cocktail consultant. One of my most recent projects, there is a new bar called Syndicate Wynwood, that is getting ready to open. I was responsible for creating one of their menus. That was a lot of fun so I was thinking that I could make some really good money off of creative cocktail making. I could have conversations and find out what people like. I try to meet those expectations which is something I do on an everyday basis. 80% of the cocktails that I make at my bar are for the first time. Why? Because when people come, I do not like to offer what’s on the menu. I like to talk to them. I like to find out their favorite spirit. I like to find out what kind of flavors and food they like. Then, I make a masterpiece cocktail off of that, right there. I also do freelance bartending at weddings, anniversaries, etc.  For pricing, people can go through my instagram.  

Are you able to discuss your upcoming Cocktail Bar Syndicate Wynwood Miami? If so, what was the process of pursuing this venture? How did you meet your business partner/ creator friend Andres Gill? What inspired you two to go into business together?

Andres Gill has an extensive resume when it comes to bars in Miami. He is very well known within our community. I was introduced to him by my cousin. Once he and my cousin got together, and she let him know who I was, the opportunity for Syndicate Wynwood was later extended to me. Being that over a period of time, I was able to say this is what I have been able to do and these are the pictures I’ve taken. I showed my charisma when it comes to creative cocktail making. When I make a cocktail, this is how intense it is for me and how serious I take it. I think that I was able to hit all the nails in the wall with one strike. That is why they reached out to me when it came to creating the menu. 

On your IG, you write that you are the woman with the hat that dreams. What is the significance of your hat? When did you start wearing it and how does it relate to your approach to your craft?

I started wearing hats on an everyday basis back when I met my wife. That was in 2015.  I have always been a lover of hats. On my mother’s side, who is American (her mom is from Mississippi), these southern women are always known for their extravagant looking hats that they wear when they go to church on Sundays. Even though I didn’t have any hats, I would always wear my grandma’s hats whenever I went to church with her. As far as my Haitian side, my grandfather is known for his fedoras with their feathers. He would have his Hennessy or his Barbancourt while he’s playing dominoes. I just think of the confidence. The way he walks. He is a man to be respected. He has always had this spirit on him. You walk differently when you wear your crown. My hair is my crown. My mind, most importantly, is my crown. I never leave the house without my hat because it is a reminder to carry my mind with me when I walk through the door. For me, that is the reason I take such pride when it comes to my hats. They’re an extension of me. I wear the hat. The hat does not wear me. It is personal. I wear these hats well because they are where my ways of life stem from. 

What is the best way to contact you?

Follow Gorilla Kie on IG @master_gorilla_kie, @go_kie_mix, and @thegorillakieshow

 

*All the images credits goes to @52chefs 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

Give the National Ambassador of Abasolo Whisky and Nixta Licor de Elote, Cesar Sandoval three adjectives, and he will make you an incredible drink. From cooking with his mom and two sisters to becoming a part of the hospitality industry at fifteen, Sandoval has always loved leaving people grateful, happy, and excited for an unforgettable experience. Sandoval, a first-generation Mexican, is no stranger to the power of serving one’s community. As a national ambassador, he continues to bring people a joyous product that thrives from its Mexican heritage and pays homage to its culture in flavor, aesthetic, and production. 

What drew you to the hospitality industry? 

I was born in El Paso, Texas. I am a first-generation Mexican American and currently live in San Diego. Hospitality started with my family. My mom, two sisters and I would be in the kitchen cooking different things together and listening to music. My first job was at a restaurant as a host.  I was fifteen years old, I started there and never looked back; I fell in love, it was addicting. From there, I worked my way up in almost every position in the industry, with the most recent position being bar director for a restaurant group. Hospitality is my passion! I love making cocktails, I love seeing the guests’ instant gratitude. It is beautiful! 

How did you get involved with Abasolo? 

Our Director of Advocacy and dear friend Camille Austin, reached out to me and asked if I was interested in creating a new project that would be revolutionary. We continued to stay in contact and while both of us kept doing our research it became evident that this new brand and myself were a perfect match. When I finally got the opportunity to try Abasolo for the first time, I decided to taste it blindly without looking at any bottle or label design, I sipped it and it instantly put a smile on my face, something I had never tasted in spirit form. The rich corn flavor and complexity was complete nostalgia, it took me back to those days in the kitchen with my mother making atole, tamales and fresh tortillas. It was fantastic!

Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky 5 Photo Credit Abasolo Ancestral Corn WhiskyWhat should we know about Abasolo Whisky? 

It’s truly a unique whisky unlike any other. It embodies the true flavor and expression of corn that has never been done before. It uses an ancestral cooking technique Nixtamalization which is how you convert maiz into masa. Without it we would not have beautiful dishes like tortillas, tamales, tlayudas and many more. It adds amazing flavors and aromas that you simply cannot get without it, and no other spirit has ever harnessed this process. We work with local family farmers that have been growing cacahuazintle for over 200 years. This is an ancestral corn that has been protected for thousands of years. We do a long fermentation process, double distil and age outdoors in the beautiful hills of Jilotepec de Abasolo. 

Would you say Nixta and Abasolo go together? What is the difference between Nixta and Abasolo? 

Abasolo is a new world whisky unlike any other, we use ancestral non-GMO cacahuazintle corn that is native to Mexico. We work directly with farmers, use a Mesoamerican cooking process called nixtamalization, we roast the corn after the nixtamalization, and a part of our corn is malted at our distillery. We then do a long 5-day fermentation, we double distilled in small copper pot stills and finally aged outdoors, really encompassing the full circle of our spirits starting and ending in the fields. 

Nixta was born out of our desire to keep innovating around Abasolo. When making Abasolo and whisky in general there is a grace period while waiting for your whisky to age where some distillers would make vodka, our master distiller Ivan Saldana wanted to do something different and completely revolutionary. We started experimenting with our corn mash, with the same cacahuazintle corn but at a younger stage in its life. Instead of using fully mature maiz we used the tender corn which we know as elote, the same corn used for esquites. It is naturally tender and sweet, and we roast half of it and the other half leave as is. We then macerate it with our unaged Abasolo for around 4 months, and then add our unfermented maiz mash that we use to make Abasolo, and the result is fantastic. Finally, we add a natural sugar in its purest form that is essential in Mexico called Piloncillo. The results are one of a kind, making it perfect for any and every cocktail occasion. They are a perfect pair, they go very well together, my favorite is a Jilo Old Fashioned, 2 oz. Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky, .5 oz. Nixta Licor de Elote, and a couple dashes of bitters. 

Cesar 2How is Abasolo created? 

It all starts with our farmers; they are the soul and spirit of our whisky and we could not be here without them. Juan Carlos Carmona and his family plant our cacahuazintle corn in late February and harvest towards the end of October. Once harvested, every single cob is inspected and hand cut gathering all our kernels that we eventually use for our spirit. Once the corn is perfectly dried it arrives at Destileria y Bodega Abasolo. We then take the corn and nixtamalize it, after we carefully roast the corn giving it another element of aroma and flavor. We also malt part of that corn making this whisky 100% corn. After that we mill the corn into a fine flour and add hot water and add yeast. This process takes around 5 days and once we have a fully fermented mash, we have a content of 10% – 12% ABV “corn beer” We then distill in our copper pot stills and it comes out at 40%ABV, and it is delicious! In order to get more out of our barrels, we need higher proof, so we do a slower second distillation resulting in a “white dog” of about 62.5% ABV. We then add that into our previously used American oak barrels and some new barrels and aged outdoors in the beautiful hills of Jilotepec. 

How is this process different from other whiskey making? 

We have taken the process of whisky making and have sort of flipped it on its head. Our main focus is on our raw ingredient – we care deeply about our corn, trying not to alternate the raw material, but to expose its unique, delicate flavor. We use nixtamalization, which has never been done before in any spirit or category, a long fermentation that is not normally done in whisky. and we open air age. Most whisky is usually aged in temperature-controlled warehouses or basements to control angels’ share. We age outdoors in the high hills of Jilotepec to give Abasolo a sense of place or what we think of terroir, really following our path of it being “Alma de la Tierra” Soul of the Earth

Screen Shot 2021 06 05 at 11.26.35 AMDo you think that because it is a small distillery, it brings the consistency of the flavor, or do you think that it might have a slight difference? 

We have a road map of where we want to go, and it is very consistent but the beauty in doing a craft spirit with a small production is the beauty that every batch can vary slightly. That is why people love agave spirits because depending on the batch there are slight aromas and flavors that are distinct to that specific lot. The other day, I was tasting a batch and I got a little more chamomile and roasted corn than the previous batch.  

What are your recommendations for drinking Abasolo? How would you drink it for the full experience? 

I personally love Abasolo neat or what I like to call “Abasolo Solo”, but it is such a beautiful, complex, yet wonderfully balanced whisky that can be served with a large cube and is so versatile in cocktails. It can do all the whisky cocktails, like Old Fashioneds and Boulevardiers, but because of it’s delicate flavor and the fact that it’s not over-oaked, it works well in cocktails where you’d normally use rum, agave, cachaca, and more. Lots of bartenders are thinking outside of the box and creating wonderful cocktails that may not necessarily use whisky originally, mixing it with tiki and agave cocktails. 

Is this a product that you can also pair with cigars?

Yes, we have had several cigar lovers tell us how well it pairs with cigars, it complements the cigar, the honey, leather, and earthy tones pair wonderfully with tobacco. 

As a brand ambassador, what is the role you like the most? 

I love education. I get nerdy. Knowledge is power. It sounds cliché, but it is true. I love sharing knowledge, sharing stories, and learning from all the experiences. The more I teach and educate the more I learn from all the wonderful people I get to meet. My goal, as a human being and as a National Ambassador representing Abasolo and Nixta, is to empower and inspire other people that may be interested in this industry to say, “I can do this!” or “I want to work for a Mexican company!” Out of all the things that this role requires, my favorite is hosting and doing pop ups. It is my Mexican hospitality. At the end of the day, I am a bartender. I love doing pops, you get to meet a lot of people across brands and networks. Doing distillery tours or when I take someone to Mexico is so rewarding. I love showing people the vast beauty that my beautiful country has to offer.

What are your other hobbies? 

I’m a musician. They kind of coincide music, food, cocktails, drinks. For me, that is what excites me. That is what I live for!

How do we follow your journey? 

IG: @saysar 

Website: https://www.abasolowhisky.com

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

As a sommelier, mixologist, and Co-Founder of Mijenta Tequila, Juan Coronado has been in the food and beverage industry for more than thirty years. Whether serving as the founder and Creative Director for Colada Shop or embarking on a brand new venture, any brand or business that Juan graces will thrive as a direct result of his experience, passion, and community-oriented mindset. So too, as a writer, Master Distiller, and passionate student of all things Tequila, Ana Maria Romero Mena brings her experience, expertise, and admiration for Tequila to the forefront of Mijenta’s aesthetic. As two incredible individuals in the rapidly growing industry, it is no wonder that the renowned Master Distiller Ana and Industry Vet Juan have joined forces to create Mijenta Tequila’s stylish and stunning look. With her impeccable designs, Ana has captured the essence of Mijenta Tequila which is as delicious as it is respectable, as smooth as it is captivating, as versatile as it is celebratory. At a glance, consumers will notice that Mijenta Tequila is a brand for the land, for the people, and for life. 

Tell us your story and hospitality background. What’s your connection? 

JC: I jumped into the hospitality and service industry about 30+ years ago. I have a background in Engineering and Art. I also have an interest in the hospitality industry which led to my curiosity in cocktails, spirits, wines, and distillates. I went to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and became a sommelier. I got interested in diving into wine. I used to be part owner of a champagne bottle bar called the Bubble Lounge in San Francisco and New York. Then, I ventured out and did a Mixology craft cocktail bar. Afterward, I started working with brands through consulting. The whole deal with Brand Ambassadors was not a position that existed. Due to my knowledge, I got into a position as a Brand Master with Bacardi years later. This was a great opportunity because I took part in the production and marketing. I used my voice to design certain rums and to market to different countries. I became the Global person and figure for Bacardi while also being a part-owner of Colada shops, Serenata, and Bresca. I had three businesses in Washington D.C. In the case of Serenata, it is free for all for Latin spirits and Latin-inspired combinations. We cover every distillate from Patagonia to Spain. 

I did approach Ana Maria Romero. For us, it was instant Tequila love. I could tell that she was the right person to create this beautiful, delicate, aromatic, and traditional profile through the phone. That’s the way I like to describe it.

AM: I started studying wines 30 years ago. I studied at Davis University, not as an oenologist but as a sensory evaluation.  It was my passion to know about wines, and as I made visits to different parts of the world, they asked me about Tequila. There is a specific case that happened to me when I was visiting the Martell wineries.  Someone asked me, “Hey, aren’t you from Jalisco? Well, let’s talk about Tequila.” I didn’t know anything, just the basics. I knew that Tequila was a liquor that came from agave. I began to study Tequila. I visited all the distilleries, and I learned that Tequila is sophisticated and complex.  It does not have a unique process. It has several ways of being made. Even if it is a single plant, it behaves differently depending on the region, the climate, and the processes. I started doing Tequila sensory evaluation seminars. A client in 2007 told me, “if you like Tequila so much, why don’t you do one?” And he invited me to work in his factory. That’s when I realized that this is what I liked. I liked to understand Tequila, what happens in each process, the grinding, and each phase of the process. That was how I discovered the olfactory imprint of Tequila. I have an aromatic circle of Tequila. That is how I started working with big brands until I got to know Juan Coronado, who wanted to develop a Culinary Tequila. I said yes, and today I am a Tequila designer.

Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 9.54.08 AM

What inspired you to create Mijenta? 

JC:. Behind the inspiration of Mijenta Tequila is a strong feeling for the land, for what Arandas means. We wanted to create a Tequila that brings and exposes all the biodiversities, aromas, flavors, and colors of the land of Arandas. That unique red soil that governs the whole terrain is unique because of the nutrients and the iron content it possesses. We wanted to bring everything into the production and the design of Mijenta Tequila’s profile. With an eye on sustainability, an eye on the land, and an eye on the people, we can bring it all together and bring it to life. Our motto is por la tierra, por la gente, y por la vida.   

AM: All Tequilas are made from the same plant. However, when a customer asks you for something specific, and you see through their eyes, being able to satisfy that dream is fascinating in the development of the product. If they tell you,“ I want a Tequila that is Mineral, that represents the earth, that speaks of tradition,” you have to know what points you are going to focus on for that product. We implement a much longer cooking time for the agave. We select agaves only from regions close to Arandas, an Alteña region because that is the area we want to know. We know that its reddish color is due to the high concentration of iron that is present. We also know that there are other components that we are learning about to create the Añejo, which has more time in the barrel than another Tequila. We are studying whether the Ph influences that or not. Another topic that we found exciting when designing Tequila was selecting the yeast. We discovered which yeast would highlight all the characteristics of the highlands region. We did a study and chose one. From there, we went on to fermentation. The long or short fermentation process gives us the aromatic characteristics, and finally, the distillation issue. We also decided that this Tequila was not filtered so as not to remove aromatic characteristics. When you take care of all the points of a process, you do not need any fixes. This consideration was part of the philosophy requested by Juan Coronado and Mr. Dolan. Our Reposado is to express everything that we achieve in the Blanco, with very used barrels and very new European and American barrels. We want the barrels to be a framework for our drinks. Let Tequila not become wood. We want to transport people to what Tequila is when they taste it, and we succeeded. 

Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 9.54.51 AMWhat are Mijenta Tequilas Values? How do these values intersect with your principles and standards for yourself as well as for the industry?

AM: The first thing is that it is a real, honest Tequila. It is a Tequila that expresses the naked soul of the agave. This Tequila brings us its letters of nobility through the attributes of the land. We investigate, see, and talk with the agaveros that have good agricultural practices. For us, it is very important that they take care of the soil and land. We firmly believe that without soil there is no agave. We want to take care of it and from my point of view as a Tequila teacher, people fall in love with Tequila.

JC: For us, it is very important to have safe practices when it comes to production. We consider the agricultural methods. We deal with the jimadores. We don’t own the land, but we care so much about the practices that happen on the land. We want to make sure that the voices in our work of the jimadores are understood. We want to make sure, during our process, that the hands of our team, the production team, and Ana Maria and I, the rest, are important. We want to get the final product into the right hands. We also want those with the right hands to come to understand when they taste our product, all the care that was taken during the process. Our motto is por la tierra, por la gente, y por la vida. For the land, for the people, and for life. We take these practices seriously because they involve all the pillars of Mijenta. If we do not have a good agave, we cannot create a great production. If we do not have good production, we cannot have a good product or good Tequila at the end of the day. The land is the most important thing. The hands of the people that work the land are the most important thing. Those are the true values of our brand. The care of the land, the care of the people, and how we celebrate life is our main difference. 

What contributes to a successful business partnership?Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 9.55.30 AM

JC: We believe in doing right. At Mijenta, we believe in doing right by doing well. We want to create a good flavor profile that respects traditions, Mother Nature, and the processes that we are establishing. We always say that we are not in a rush. The product will be ready when it is ready. We cannot force Mother Nature to give us what we want. It happens when it happens, and we take that presence from Mother Nature, and then we turn it into an art. That’s what we are trying to do. It takes time, so we are very patient. Ana Maria and I, when it comes to production, ride the wave with Mother Nature. We cannot isolate the process. We are getting used to spending time and using our senses. When all distilleries smell like Mijenta, we know that we did it. It takes time. 

AM: It is very important to have common points of view about the product and the management of the image. Because in the end, each taster is a taster who will say yes or no to the product, which is a high commitment. We also consider the global vision to make a high-end product and take it to international markets. We selected very successful, capable people with a good track record to carry out this task. They are capable of not only developing a Tequila. They are also, with the correct marketing, capable of making and taking it to the people. We also believe a lot in the educational part of Tequila. We believe that the commitment to lead people to learn about our history, our land, and how to enjoy Tequila is very important. We want to have a community that buys our Tequila because it is valuable and conquers the senses. That is the educational part that we want to achieve.

Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 10.09.32 AM

Ana Maria Romero

What do the two of you bring to Mijenta separately? What do you bring to the brand collectively?

AM: I have contributed my experience and my knowledge of the industry. I have also contributed to doing different things, but at the same time in conjunction with Juan. Juan can understand the tastes of American palates and European and Asian ones because of his background as a world Mixologist. That vision has made this process and this product very enriching. We work together by adding ideas. We talk about creative processes, etc.

JC: In my case, since I have more than 30 years in the beverage industry, I have been able to tame the knowledge of understanding. I have been moving forward when it comes to forecasting. I bring in knowledge from the wine industry. I have made wine. I have made beers. I have consulted for big brands such as King Cognac. I have worked with Gins, Vodkas, Rums. I have experience in production and the knowledge that I have in consumers, the market, and the trends. Each market reacts differently. All of this has given me the ability to be the eyes and ears of our brand Mijenta. 

What have you enjoyed the most from all the processes creating a Tequila?

JC: My favorite part of my journey through Mijenta is the interaction with consumers and bar professionals. I have been doing this for years. It makes me feel like I’m in my grandma’s house with my big family. I love sharing good energies and stories among ourselves. It’s key to foster what is the need, where the trends are going, and what are the challenges that we are facing. I love the communication part of it. Sharing is caring for me. At Mijenta, of course, we have a beautiful product that we would like to spread the gospel of Mijenta. We would like to spread the values of Mijenta all around. Of course, the history and traditions of Mexico are key. We are a brand new brand. This is going to be a long journey. I enjoy it. I am going to be able to go to market and impact others. I  let them know the best part about creating a good brand versus us staying still and waiting to see what happens. I am a go-getter. I am always going to be out on guard when it comes to the teaching of the Tequila and the process that we meticulously create with Ana Maria. I am going to be the guardian of it forever- that is my favorite part of it. 

AM: What I have enjoyed the most is the leadership. I love that people get motivated, do the work, train the staff, share their knowledge with others, in addition to designing Tequila, which is my passion.

Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 10.09.01 AMWhat have been some challenges of being a New Tequila brand next to the others with many years of history?

AM: The challenge is to have your own personality and achieve your own style. This is a differentiating characteristic from powerful brands that may be our competition. That is different. That people can say, this is a Mijenta.

JC: I echo Ana Maria. The real challenge here is not us being a new brand. The real challenge is just us creating a unique profile. We can taste thousands of Tequila, but there is always room for improvement. We have improved and taken Tequila to a different platform because we are hogging the platform of tradition and authenticity. We are also in love with the Culinary experience. We wanted to have a GM that is so smooth and delicious that people can sip it. Or, they enjoy it with ice or in a cocktail. Being able to understand the meaning of that Aranda’s perfume, as Ana Maria said before, is key for us. If there is a challenge, it would be for the other brands looking at us. 

Ana Maria, how do you differ from other Master distillers? What qualities should a successful MD possess?

AM: A deep knowledge about the processes is the differentiating aspect. Know each phase from the agricultural part to the creative part. One of the things that distinguish me is the creativity of not always falling into the same thing that everyone else does. I look for different things, different opportunities. I play with different variables that can occur in the process. This approach makes a difference in a successful MT, but also the part of forming a good team.

Ana Maria, you just recently won Best Maestra Tequilera 2020  by Tequila Aficionado Magazine. What was it like to receive such recognition? Who has helped you along the way? 

AM: It was unexpected. When you love your work and are passionate about it, you don’t expect recognition because you were hired to do something excellent. However, I am very grateful to Tequila Aficionado magazine for giving me that recognition. I believe that it commits me more to doing better than not keeping what I have. Having this type of recognition is a commitment because you have to inspire others.

Ana Maria, what other achievements/ opportunities have you had or hope to have in the future?

AM: I write books. My first book won 3rd place in Le Gourmand Award which is a very powerful gastronomy contest in France. I took third place globally with this book on the theme of the pairing of Tequila. I aspire to continue educating people who want to believe in Tequila, to continue promoting the culture of Mexico and its values. I also want to inspire women who believe in their dreams. Talent does not have a gender. Talent is talent. I believe that when talent is real, it opens doors and tranverses borders.

Screen Shot 2021 05 19 at 10.18.57 AM

Mijenta

Juan, how do you want to position Mijenta in the consumer’s mind?

JC: Mijenta will find its niche in Culinary applications and opportunities such as restaurants, tastings, degustations, etc. In the case of the Blanco, it is the best partner that a cocktail may have. The cocktail will taste like Arandas, and it will have the olfactory sense and taste profile of land that is so unique and pristine. For consumers, I always tell everybody to bring their favorite Tequila and taste it next to Mijenta, and you’ll decide what is good for you. We don’t want to sound cocky because we are humble people. We took all the Tequilas that we tasted in our careers into consideration. 

Juan, What is your vision for Mijenta?

JC: We wanted to deliver something that has an opportunity on a table. Mijenta Tequila is best enjoyed with friends. If my Tequila can pass the test of culinary dishes and be fine with citrus dishes,  cooked stews,  salads, and desserts, we’re somewhere. Everywhere two or three people have a bite to eat, there is room for Mijenta. There is room to enhance their experience. 

How may we follow your journey? 

Instagram: @mijentatequila

Facebook: @mijentatequila

Website: https://shopmijenta.com

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

By launching Unfiltered Hospitality, Co-Creators Gui Jaroschy and Ben Potts boast a consulting company that “make experience better.” In addition to creating Unfiltered Hospitality, Jaroschy has designed menus or collaborated on products with Williams Sonoma, British Airways, The Smithsonian Museum, and The James Beard Foundation and won recognition as a mixologist, director, and personality. Potts is also the co-owner and creative director of award-winning bars The Sylvester and Beaker & Gray, one of the Top 10 Best Bartenders in Miami as well as the former director of training and bar education for Blackbird Ordinary, Purdy Lounge, and The Bar in Coral Gables. Their process-driven, experience-focused hospitality development strikes a balance between the professional and the personal to find sustainable, applicable solutions to problems within the industry. Their approach stands on four pillars: process, people, product, and performance. These pillars suggest that process and people are as fundamental as product and performance in efficiency and success. Unfiltered Hospitality allows clients to acquire the tools and the knowledge to feel empowered and achieve the best results. There is also an emphasis on coaching and consulting to build and develop lasting relationships that clients then cultivate with their employees and partners. Through their Beverage Consulting, Coaching and Development, and Brand Strategy services, industry professionals Jaroschy and Potts offer a quality investment that stems from a combined thirty achievement-filled years in the hospitality industry. 

How did you two meet? Tell us where your journey intersected. 

GJ: Ben and I met each other as far back as 2008 through mutual friends. I started to manage the Delano Hotel bar in 2009 and around that time Ben had started a hospitality headhunting company. He invited me out to lunch, we hit it off very well, and we became fast friends. Some years later, Ben was bartending and becoming quite good at it. He rose through Blackbird and some other places. He was leaving those places to open Beaker & Gray and I was managing Broken Shaker in Miami. I thought he needed a job for 3 months tops, and ended up working at Shaker for over a year.

How did you two become the co-creators of Unfiltered Hospitality?

GJ: During the pandemic, we had a little time on our hands. A project came up that [Ben] got and he brought me in this time. We decided that we wanted to do more work together.  

BP: We’ve both done consulting separately over the years. We saw that the traditional consulting model doesn’t always produce the desired effect. When we got first together, we were like let’s just take this on, have a couple of extra bucks in our pocket. We saw that there had to be a better way. It started with consulting and it’s something that we still do but that consulting led to a revelation that we had. That revelation was that management, and hospitality professionals in general, are severely underserved from an educational standpoint. 

What inspired you to create Unfiltered Hospitality? 

BP: We found that there is a great opportunity for us to share our experience and knowledge, from the years that we’ve had working behind bars, with those management and hospitality professionals. That led to the second arm of Unfiltered. We still have our consulting practice. We try to make it a much more comprehensive process. We’ll get into something that we called the four pillars. Every part of our business goes through the four pillars which are process, people, product, and performance. These pillars are ingrained in each of the things that we do. For the educational component, right now we have one product that helps people make better menus because the menu-making process is a nightmare. It is all over the place. If you don’t have an organizational system and you don’t set it up right or engage the team, you end up taking on all the work yourself, forgetting to do a ton of things, and being out of the product.

GJ: To a lot of people in hospitality management, it feels like a dead-end job. For me at least, when I was managing my first hotel bar, I was working my ass off six days a week to make 45,000 a year and two promotions ahead of me were my worst nightmare. At that time, I wanted to get a brand job and bartend again. At Shaker, one of a couple of things happened. One, there was a product that I was passionate about and I was working with people that I was good friends with. Two, because Shaker is such a big name, I was invited to participate in a business development program. That process was super good for me because I got to see how to balance professional and personal and how to set goals for myself to move forward. That changed my career forever because if you’re making it, you ultimately choose how fulfilling your job will be. The more you set goals and work on improving the business, you have a reason to go to work every day. 

How do you distinguish Unfiltered Hospitality from other consulting companies?

GJ: We  are set on changing the conversation, not just being paid to fix a problem and have that same problem pop up in six months. The first part of education asks how we can invest in management to where the ownership and the business get a better product but the managers themselves can have a life and see a sustainable version of a long-term career in hospitality. That’s what is exciting to us. We are still figuring out day by day to make that a reality. As Ben said, it has kind of taken its shape when we do more traditional consulting because we spend all of this time figuring out how to help people develop systems to keep things moving forward. Now, when we do consult, we approach it in a different way. We develop the team and the management to embrace the consulting and take it a step further. 

BP: It’s not something that lasts three to six months. It lasts three to six years. Not to say that the cocktail menu should last three to six years, but making sure that [management and hospitality professionals] feel empowered enough to create their own next menu. Everything that we do is with the idea and intention of making the hospitality experience better. Everything on our website is better _____ because that is the intention behind our company. We know that there is a better way. We know that we can help people get there by doing some of the work ourselves which is essentially what we are doing with consulting but then also helping them figure out their own path. We always use the term “coaching” in a lot of our materials because you have to do the work. 

Why the emphasis on education?

BP: I was very fortunate with my upbringing. I went to good schools. I was able to go to college and graduate school. I received a ton of education. Before working in hospitality, I worked in investment banking. I was in Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory for a long time. To get to that point requires training and education. When I started in hospitality in 2009, I got the standard bar back training. I didn’t get anything about what the company is about or what my role plays in the grand scheme of things. It was basically like ‘these are the tasks that you have to accomplish.’ As I progressed through the industry, I noticed that that never really changed. Even when I had experience working in smaller organizations and large hotel groups–––the training is all the same. With my experience of having so much education going into the finance industry, I was like maybe if there were better education and better training in the hospitality industry, the whole industry could get better. People could have a better experience, not 1 out of 10 times, but 5 out of 10 times which would be an incredible improvement. The lack of education was a systemic issue that we could work toward solving.  

What inspires you to create (Bar design, menus, etc.)?

GJ: Connect with people. What we try to do when we are making a menu for someone, or if we are teaching someone else to make a menu, is to understand the concept. There’s the What, Why, and How. The Why is that beautiful thing that connects with people. It is why you’re doing it in the first place. If you can make your offering near that, or best accentuate that, or tell that story…that’s what really connects with people. Shaker is such a strong brand because they get that. The Why is the same and the four properties could not be more different. There’s an outdoor bar in Miami with a garden. In Chicago, it’s indoors in a basement. But they all have the mission statement: create an extraordinary experience that connects on a personal level. Go higher with the details but make sure it connects with people personally.   

In addition to Consulting, what other services does your company provide that you would like to highlight and promote?

BP: We are very excited about the human development of hospitality professionals. We also offer Brand Strategy for companies and suppliers that are trying to launch a market. Gui and I have both been buyers for six-plus years. We have been approached by thousands of brands over the years. We have found that experience to be lackluster. We wanted to find a better way to improve a product launch. We’ll help with anything from product launches to how to enter the market in a more effective way and how to talk to buyers. We apply the four pillars to just about everything that we do. It works in Consulting. It works in Education and Coaching. It works in Brand Strategy. 

To follow Gui, Ben, and Unfiltered Hospitality’s journey or sign up for their services:

Website: https://www.unfilteredhospo.com

Instagram: @guibme, @benpottsbenpotts, and @unfilteredhospo



0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

Entrepreneurs and power couple Ana Luis Monis and Richard Monis understand that resilience, perseverance, and passion are the keys to a successful business. After bartending for sixteen years and creating his own craft cocktail catering company called Craft Cartel, Richard realized that for his side of the hospitality industry to survive the pandemic, he had to offer a product that championed the best parts of the craft cocktail business. With her Psychology background, Ana infused a sense of positivity, wellness, and jubilation that gives Jolly Hour boxes their vibrant, inspirational, and aesthetic appeal. Jolly Hour is a craft cocktail company that packages the taste, the excitement, and the joy of the cocktail industry into its boxes. Richard and Ana also support local businesses.  They locally source their ingredients  and their team consists of bartenders who have been disenfranchised by Covid-19. Jolly Hour boxes are an affordable way to bring delicious mixers into homes, corporate Zoom calls, and date nights from industry professionals who want to spread happiness and elevate everyone’s quarantine experience. 

How did you get started in the Hospitality Industry in Miami?

RM: I’m from the Northeast. I moved to [Miami] eight years ago. When I started Craft Cartel six years ago, I looked into the market to see what was out there. There were craft cocktail catering companies but, not to my surprise, there was one in San Diego, one in Hawaii, one in Chicago, one in New York, and nothing in South Florida. Nothing against South Floridians, because I love it, I live down here. We’re about eight to ten years behind every major city in America. When something trends somewhere else, it takes a long time to start happening down here. I think it’s important when new companies try to make a splash in a big market pop-up down here and try to make Miami, South Florida their home. Supporting these companies in the biggest and best way possible is immensely important. 

AM: I don’t come from a food and beverage background. Richie and I met in Mexico, while I was working at the beach for a summer, once the summer was over I went back to my city SLP, to work in the hospital -I am a Psychologist, but then when Richie and I started dating, and we moved to Miami, that is when I had to reinvent myself. I started working in hospitality because it’s Miami, and there are so many opportunities in the hospitality industry and I also have always liked working with people. From hospitality, I started focusing on marketing. There is so much psychology involved in marketing. I found a way to do my passion and connect with people. I started working in JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa for events and sales. Then, Covid hit. 

Vodka Box S

What inspired you two to co-create the Jolly Hour?

RM: This whole thing came about because I had this craft cocktail catering company, and I suddenly couldn’t do events. We just had a baby girl in January. We just bought a house in March. Everything went to shit the second week of March. I’ve been doing this for six years, so I knew that we had lost the rest of the season. I knew what the summer was like so I’m staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. I have eight months until I maybe see a dollar again. My wife was on maternity leave, and she wasn’t going back. She was an event manager for JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa. They weren’t going to take anyone back in events. They laid everybody off because no events were happening. Now, we’re two people who doubled all of their expenses, a baby, and no business that I can operate. I didn’t have consumers because the market wasn’t comfortable with events. I benefited tremendously from the person [Ana] that I’m married to because my wife is a very positive-minded person. It’s all positivity, whereas I take things as they come. My wife made me realize that lots of good things have come out of really bad situations.  

AM: Everything goes in a perfect direction. We started Jolly Hour, and I said we could do this. It’s a great idea. It’s something that [Richie was] passionate about.  I like marketing and figuring out the look for Jolly Hour. I wanted the box to be pretty. There is so much love in the recipe that it had to translate in the box. Everyone likes when you have a present, and the gift is pretty on the outside too. We really try not to cut corners. We make a product that we believe in from start to finish, even in the packaging. Everything is well thought out, and that is where my input goes. You get the whole feel that we intend to share with everyone.

You are also the founder of Craft Cartel. How does that company differ from Jolly Hour?

I have had Craft Cartel, a craft cocktail catering company, for six years. I built a local following because my market is local compared to Jolly Hour which is across the United States. As I built up Jolly Hour, I understood the need to get local awareness, presence, and support. I support other local businesses as well. Even if they’re my competition, I still support them because I want the event industry to be strong in South Florida. With Jolly Hour, we sell things all over America, but we want to have things on lock at home too. I want people in South Florida to know that we are here and that a company like this exists. 

What are some key characteristics of being an entrepreneur? 

A good friend of mine said that business does not make the entrepreneur, the entrepreneur makes the business. It doesn’t matter what you do, Richie. You have a natural entrepreneurial spirit inside of you, so find a way to do the next thing. Just give it your all just like you did the first time. I had to do things differently because Covid has made the world slightly different. That’s literally how Jolly Hour happened. If I can’t go to an event space, set up my bars with my bartenders and fancy glassware, and make you fancy, cool cocktails that you can enjoy, how else could I do that? [The answer] was sticking everything in a box and shipping it to people’s front doors.

Jolly Hour Edited 103What has it been like to create these Jolly Hour boxes?

There was red tape. We can’t ship alcohol. I’ve been doing this for six years with Craft Cartel, and if there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s that the magic in what we do in the craft cocktail industry, those individuals that work behind bars, it’s not the alcohol that is the art of what we do. We don’t make alcohol. There isn’t a bartender in the world who distills his own Rum, Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, or Tequila. Other brands have that job and that is their expertise. Bartenders build a Rolodex of ingredients and information. We understand flavors and ingredients and how to pair those things together, how to properly prep them, and how to put them together intricately and uniquely so that people can add the one element which is alcohol. 

How do your mixers stand out from other mixers? 

The idea behind Jolly Hour boxes is that we are doing everything that you can’t go to the store and buy. We make these boxes from scratch. We work with only seasonal ingredients. We use a book called The Flavor Bible. In the back of The Flavor Bible, there are like a hundred pages of ingredients indexes. We use these indexes to come up with recipes, and then we work ingredients into the cocktails in a way that we think is the best. When we use bitters, we make it ourselves at home. Every single cocktail box on the market doesn’t do this. In other companies, the majority of the items in the subscription box are promo items. The market of craft cocktail boxes is primarily subscription-driven. You get one box, and you don’t get to choose the box. The items aren’t made by the company that sold you the box. At Jolly Hour, every item in the box is made by us. We make the bitters. We dehydrate our own fruits and flowers for garnishes. We make all the syrups in-house. We only use seasonal ingredients, so everything is at its peak. We’re having less of an impact on planet earth by doing so as well. We can also source locally by using what is here. We represent South Florida. When we do cocktail recipes, we want to make people freezing in Ohio feel like they’re in Miami. That’s what we do. We make cocktails that speak to the masses. It’s about tastiness, freshness, and unique, interesting recipes. 

Tell me some characteristics of your product: name, packaging, cost.Jolly Hour Edited 099

RM: We sell you a box that has twelve cocktails for $50.00. When you add a bottle of $12- $30, it costs you $7.00 a drink for a craft cocktail that is prepped, thought out, and just as good as a cocktail that you would find at a brick-and-mortar bar for $13-$14. 

AM: We want our product to be quality and sustainable. We don’t want to do what other companies are doing. We want to do what we like which is good products, good recipes, and good craft cocktails. When you get a box and everything has been sponsored, you don’t see the company’s value in it. We put value into our boxes. We put heart in our recipes. That’s not something you see everywhere. It’s very unique because we are creating everything from scratch. 

What can consumers expect from Jolly Hour Boxes?

You get to try different stuff every month. Different flavors are coming out. We do four different seasons. It’s a great way to take the liquor cabinet in your house and find something to do with it. It’s a great gift. It’s a great thing to do with your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, friends, corporate Zoom calls, etc. We want you to be blown away. We make bitters that no one makes on the market. No one makes Kaffir lime bitters, banana bitters, or salty date bitters. The only way to have those flavor combinations is to do it on our own. We handle the whole process. You don’t wait more than a week or ten days. We do five-season craft cocktail boxes a month- all based on one main spirit. We do a Vodka box, a Tequila box, a Whiskey box, a Rum box, and a Gin box. We do that because, no matter what spirit you like, there is an option for you. 

Why is it important to support new businesses that come to Miami?

We need more of an industry in this city than just food, beverage, and tourism. We can’t just keep selling the dream because eventually, as we see with Covid, things can take the dream away real fast. It doesn’t matter how many days of sunshine we get when you can’t get down here because of Covid. Suddenly, everyone starts struggling. That is actually how Jolly Hour was born. 

What services does your company provide that you would like to highlight and promote?

In addition to the Jolly Hour boxes, we do virtual mixology classes. 

How do we order your product? 

You can order Jolly Hour boxes at thejollyhour.com.

How may we follow your journey? What are your social media accounts?

Instagram: @jollyhour and @craft_cartel

Facebook: @jollyhourbox and @craftcartelcocktailcatering

Twitter: @jollyhourbox

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Your Cart