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Juan Tapia - Top Notch Mixers

Top Notch Mixers Creator, Juan Tapia, was always built for entrepreneurship. From working multiple jobs throughout his adolescence and adulthood to doing side projects, it was only a matter of time before one of Tapia’s endeavors became a sensation. Recently, Tapia, a bartender and liquor consultant, has actualized his ambitious goals and created his own business, Top Notch Mixers. Top Notch Mixers brings the best aspects of the bar experience home: quality drinks crafted with expertise, creativity, and love. Further, Tapia personally crafts these mixers and delivers them to communities throughout Miami-Dade County and Broward County, demonstrating his passion, dedication, and appreciation for his creations.  

How did you go from being a bartender to being an entrepreneur?

I have had a little bit of entrepreneurship in me. I was always trying to start businesses and come up with different programs. They weren’t very successful because I was young, inexperienced, and focused on other things. But, for the most part, this led me to learn from my mistakes and take my time. I learned to focus on one specialization which was bartending. I excelled in it and when it got to a point where I was getting compliments from big-name people, organizations, and owners, I had to take a step back, pause, think, and realize that I was doing something right. I thought that there was a way to make money out of this or at least start my own business and become my own boss…I’ve always followed social media influencers that were their own bosses and took mental notes. Most of these influencers have their pros and cons. I try to take the pros of everyone I meet. That is how I started this project, doing what I am doing now full, focus, and full throttle. 

What inspired you to create Top Notch Mixers?

Through the years, you go from being a “drink maker” to learning science, chemistry, tools to help you alter the cocktail creation experience that people expect when they walk into a bar. I started considering Mixology. I saw people choose the Mixology experience over the basic quick drink experience. Sometimes people want a quick drink. They want to get in and out but most people want an experience, so that highlighted my work. I felt like I was doing something right, something that was not average. I had something on my hands and I started wondering how to take these high-quality bar experiences home. I have a bar where I work and a company that pays for everything: the produce, the equipment, the tools. But when I want to bring the experience home or show someone how to make a drink at home, I wondered how to make that possible. That was the question I asked myself many times. Then, I started developing concepts that would work. Coronavirus happened and that forced us all to either figure it out or quit and figure something else out. For me, the pandemic put pressure on me to figure it out. I came up with Top Notch Mixers and it’s pouring the love of making something with fresh ingredients, craft, high-quality products, and effort. 

How do your mixers stand out from other mixers?

Top Notch Mixers does not offer alcohol. It’s just a mixer but the approach that I took towards it takes into consideration the bar experience. It’s called a “mixer” and people who usually think of mixers think about cranberry juice, pineapple juice, Sprite, or Coke. Top Notch Mixers are actual pre-mixed cocktail recipes that are just missing the alcohol. When I make these recipes, I take into account all types of ideas. I think: Is it exotic enough? Is it different? Am I opening their minds? Is it a new flavor that they have never tasted? Is it a flavor that they have never heard of? When the client reads the ingredients, I try to make their eyes open wide. I want them to think, “Wow, that sounds delicious!” or “I’ve never thought of those two flavors together, but I love those two flavors individually so I’ll try it.”

I also use fresh ingredients for these gourmet cocktails and we make our own garnishes. I do my due diligence to go around the city and get fresh ingredients that are 100% fresh. There is nothing artificial in anything that I put into these bottles. The mixers are also in glass bottling and since I am using fresh juices, there is a shelf life. My products have to be refrigerated and sealed tight. But what is the best part is the handmade feel to my mixers. There is a love that I pour into my mixers and you can tell when you look at the product because of its quality. 

You cannot get the same quality of product at my prices. Usually, you’re looking at $10-12 a cocktail at a bar. My first bottle is about 18 oz so it accommodates 3-4 people for $30.00 (delivery fee included). I also offer a 33.75 oz bottle, I call it a party size, and it accommodates 6-8 people for $55.00. I also started creating shots for $5.00. If you want to do a flight, a sample of all four flavors, that is $15.00. For someone who wants to try the flavor first, or if they want to buy a specific product but also want to try another one without committing to buying a whole bottle, they can get a sample. This helps people try different things without breaking the bank, especially during these times. 

Top Notch Mixers LineUp scaled
Image by Blazin Visualz

What has been the most memorable experience so far?

The most memorable experiences have been the mistakes and errors I had to overcome as well as the walls and obstacles that I had to jump through. I experienced everything from finding a company that would deliver produce to me to figuring out how to manage a business. We’re a small business and usually, most businesses require a minimum amount of ordering so it was a process to do that. Then, we had to figure out a delivery schedule, figuring out the customer base, and coming up with a product. We also had to put our products together, make them look nice and authentic because they’re all done by hand. There’s no factory pumping out the product. That’s been the most prideful thing. I notice myself as I’m doing it and I’m excited. I’m cooking stuff and I’m excited as I look at all the ingredients. I look at my orders and the sales keep growing. It’s humbling. I didn’t think it would go as well as it has. I’m also eager to have strangers that don’t know about Top Notch Mixers find us and give our products a try. I want people to give it a try and if it’s not for them, it’s not for them. I’m very confident that the moment they try it, they’ll realize the product’s high quality and over the top taste. If this unmatched experience is something they’re looking for, Top Notch Mixers will be the company for them.

What has been the biggest challenge/reward of creating Top Notch Mixers?

The biggest challenge is staying consistent, especially during these times. Look at this week alone. We have a pandemic going on. We have even more requirements. Now, they’re fining people for not wearing masks. Then, on top of that, we just had a hurricane scare. I can’t take time off. I have responsibilities to do every week. Staying on top of things is one of the hardest challenges. The challenge is to stay consistent and consistently deliver the same product, the same taste, the same everything, which is difficult considering that everything is handmade. But the biggest reward has been all of the testimonials. People give me great feedback. Everyone’s telling me how incredible the mixers are. There’s nothing more rewarding than an authentic compliment. I’ve never once asked anybody to repost anything about our product and every single person is reposting. They’re taking amazing pictures and tagging us. I’ve even had a Tequila brand approach us. They wanted to work with us and do a giveaway for a bartender which we did. 

What’s next for Top-Notch Mixers?

Every month, I am bringing in a new flavor. We already have something spicy, something that is fruity, something sour, and something exotic. I’m going to bring a new mixer that’s going to reflect a feel for the holidays. It’ll be something more dark and sweet. I cater to the client’s specific drink preferences. I suggest what liquor would go well with the mixer that we make. For example, the Funky Fresh goes better with Rum or Vodka. You can do Tequila with it but there are specific spirits that will match better. You don’t see the dark liquors as much in Miami but I don’t want to ignore the people who like those either. I’m always coming up with a new mixer for people who might not be a Vodka, Rum, or Tequila drinker. I have something that goes well with Scotch, Cognac, whiskey…The mixer that I am releasing soon will be good with either of those. I want to keep growing in that sense. As well as the evolving menu, I want Top Notch Mixers to grow to the point where we can start, shipping out nationwide and then internationally. 

What’s another service you offer?

In addition to individually buying the mixers, Top Notch Mixers also offers a service in which small businesses, bars/restaurants, can buy wholesale from our company. Through the procurement service, Top Notch Mixers will provide small, private businesses with mixes every week to create a more elevated experience. These recipes can be offered however in another form of business if they want. If these businesses want to make the experience a step further, I also offer menu curation as the consultant and I will sit down with businesses to create an exclusive mixer recipe just for that establishment. If businesses want to pursue consulting, Liquid Chef Hospitality is the company that umbrellas Top Notch Mixers. 

www.topnotchmixers.com
Mixers Menu

How do we order your product? 

You can order our product on Instagram or our website: www.topnotchmixers.com 

To contact Juan or follow his journey:

Instagram: @TopNotchMixers @juan_in_a_million_5 @liquidchefhospitalityllc

**All the images credits goes to @blazinvisualz

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Helen Kim - Oori Bakeshop

Image by Blazin Visualz

A flair for business runs in Helen Kim’s blood. The local bartender, baker, and businesswoman grew up watching her parents work in their restaurant so it is only fitting that she has now started her establishment. After the pandemic hit, Kim, like many people around the world, took to baking as a labor of love. However, unlike new bread baking fanatics, Kim used her passion to open up Oori Bake Shop––Oori which means “us” or “our” in Korean. Although it may seem like Kim wears many hats (bartender, baker, businesswoman), there is a lot to learn about the way she pursues her passions and continues to infuse joy in all aspects of her life. 

How did you go from being a bartender to becoming an entrepreneur?

Baking is not my first endeavor. I own a consulting business called Liquid Culture as well. I consult with any service industry related item: beverage programs, hospitality training, product training, branding, etc. I have been in the bar industry for a long time. I started in restaurants. My parents had a small restaurant and then I started bartending when I was about 19 or 20 years old. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. Then, about three or four years ago, I realized that I didn’t want to be a manager or work for someone else. I wanted freedom. I like doing events and I wanted to do more events. I wanted to have the freedom of doing the nerdy cocktail stuff but also the fun events. Forming my own company was my way of trying to appease both sides of my life. 

How did you start Oori Bake Shop? What’s your baking journey?

To be honest, I was just doing the bakeshop as a hobby since March. I was like, oh, I’m at home. Why not? I started baking and doing little projects and then it took over my life. I would schedule my entire days around baking. I would schedule it around dough making and fermentation. I would wake up and start baking. A lot of my close friends, who I used as my guinea pigs, told me that I should sell my products. People would message me and ask if I sold my products and if they could buy them from me. I did a little here and there but nothing serious. One day I just woke up and I was like I should just do this. I’ve grown up in the kitchen my entire so I was like, why not? My family owned a small deli bakery. We did like Brooklyn style water bagels. My dad baked all the bread so we did hoagies and croissants. He did all the baking and I loved it.  I like the early mornings and the smell of fresh bread. Then, remembering all those aspects of life that I enjoyed while doing my hobby, I could see myself doing it for a living. Here I am three-four months later.

So you are a bartender, a baker, and a businesswoman. How do your passions inform one another?

It’s a full-circle thing. I started in the food industry with my parents. Then, I started working as a server because there’s more money there. There’s always more money in front of the house. I was cocktailing at a bar and I wanted to start bartending. I wanted to learn. It just seemed so fun. I started as The shot girl. From there, I started bartending and I’ve been doing that since I was 20. Now, I am back into food. I construct cocktails the way that I would construct food. I am always thinking about my base flavor or the main component of something. It’s like a layer of flavors. That’s how I do cocktails and now that’s how I do food. It’s like one full circle.

What are your favorite aspects of the job? What are some challenges?

I’ve been in the bar and restaurant industry for quite some time.  I love being a bartender.  I love the culture, the people… I get to meet awesome people. It gives me so many opportunities and it’s such a people industry. But there is the flip side to it. It is a booze industry. As I’m getting older, I’m thinking about the late nights and the constant drinking. Although the mindset is changing and becoming more health-conscious, I am starting to look at other things. I’m working on my yoga certification right now. For people like myself, and I think a lot of people are in this position, I feel like the pandemic has allowed me to just try to change my life without having a schedule to abide by. I have all the time in the world. Why not? Let’s just try it and see what happens. 

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally?

Professionally, I’ve been officially unemployed since March. I am now self-employed. I guess I was always self-employed…I still have my other company, but it’s event and hospitality-based, so there is not much work coming in right now. But personally, it’s been great because I was working as a brand ambassador. I covered all the southeast. I traveled a lot so personal time was very little. Even if I did go out, like dinner with friends, when you work in accounts or for a brand, it doesn’t ever turn off. The pandemic has allowed us to be able to do different things. You can say to yourself, “You know what I’m not working right now, like literally not working, and I am just not gonna look at social media for like two or three days” and be totally okay with it. I love that. At first, it gives you anxiety but once it settles in, I love it. I love doing my own thing. I love making my own schedule. I don’t answer to anyone. It’s awesome. 

What, if anything, do you hope a Post COVID-19 Word resembles for you as a person and as a member of the hospitality industry?

I’d like to continue doing what I’m doing. I just started. I am in my first week and let me tell you there are a lot of learning curves. Hopefully, my baking becomes a profitable business where I can sustain myself without having to work the late nights. That’s what I’m trying to avoid. I was working at jobs where I was up till 5:30 in the morning. Now, I’m getting up at 5:30 in the morning to start my day. It’s opposites and it’s an amazing feeling because I get so much done. I feel good. When you live the vampire life, even if you don’t drink, it takes a toll on your body and your spirit. It feels very weighing. I don’t want to go back to that so I’m in a really good space right now.  I want to keep this energy and take it forward and see where it goes.

What are your favorite pieces of bread to bake and why?

I love a true sourdough loaf.  That is my favorite thing because it’s so technique-driven. I wouldn’t say that I’m a master sourdough baker but I am just obsessed with it. Sourdough is one of those things that is ever-changing. You’re constantly learning new things. Then, your environment changes and that changes your bake. It’s just like when life throws you a pandemic and you have to pivot. Sourdough does the same thing. Somehow, for some reason, it is five degrees warmer in my house and now everything is proofing so much faster and now I’m doing this, and this all at the same time. It’s fun. The Japanese milk bread that I have on the menu right now is also one of my favorite things to bake. It just reminds me of childhood. In Asia, most of the breads that we eat are fluffy, soft, white breads. For me, it’s very nostalgic and the little loaves are pretty. 

How may we order your product?

You can order mainly through Instagram. I’m handling all my orders through direct messages on both my personal and the big shop account.

Oori Menu
Helen Kim - Oori Bakeshop 164

To contact Helen or follow her journey:

Instagram:  @helenkimchi, @ooribakeshop, @liquidcultureco

**All the images credits goes to @Blazinvisualz

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Anthony Lopez - Bar Consultant

Image by Karbannation

Local Bartender Anthony Lopez is no stranger to innovation, hard work or curiousity. These three characteristics are the pillars of his success in the service industry. After working unfulfilling jobs, Lopez decided to enter the world of food and beverage services. His first job was at The Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach where he was noticed by Carlos Moreno Rossi. Rossi, who is currently an event Coordinator and Beverage Director at The Delano Hotel/SLS South Beach, approached Lopez because of his unparalleled work ethic. Rossi was so impressed with Lopez that he welcomed him as a part of his bartending team. Lopez began working with seasoned bartenders who trained him and got him interested in the craft. 

What do you enjoy about bartending?

Bartending is an ever evolving industry. I love seeing new takes on the craft. Some bartenders are doing the same thing that I’m doing but, in other parts of the world, they have access to different ingredients, different spices and different spirits and so there is always something new coming up. People are always coming out with new techniques and so you can never say that you know how to do everything. Bartending constantly challenges you so it is something that is always changing and I really like that. 

As a bartender, what have you learned from people in this industry?

In the industry, people can tell whether or not you’re motivated. People can tell whether or not you like what you’re doing or if you’re just doing it as a job. People noticed that I started paying attention to what they were doing. I would ask certain questions. I constantly tried to figure out more about my craft and I wanted to continue to expand my knowledge. Those around me saw my passion and realized, “This kid actually cares about what’s going on and we’re gonna show him everything.” The bar would close around three or four in the morning, but I would often stay after we closed to learn. Back when I worked at The Raleigh, I hung out with another bartender named Peter Bocskor who had been bartending for over 14 years. He took me under his wing and showed me how to make different drinks. He would show me how to make cocktails, like Manhattans Vieux Carre and Rob Roy’s. I told him that these are the best drinks and I asked why no one ever asks for them. He let me know that not a lot of people know of them. 

What are your favorite drinks?

I like Manhattan and Brooklyn cocktails. They’re both take on classics and they’re honestly some of my favorite drinks. The Brooklyn cocktail is not something everybody appreciates because it’s a little on the stronger side. It’s very spirit-forward and very straightforward.

Do you have any remarkable opportunities/ stories that have happened because of your job? If so, what are some of these experiences?

There are many stories that I take with me and that I’ll probably never forget. Some of my favorite events have been when I was bartending at The Raleigh. I’ve done a lot of events like food and wine festivals. I’ve met high-profile Michelin Star chefs and I’ve worked alongside the clientele that they’re catering to so I’ve met a lot of famous people. I’ve taken care of Tommy Hilfiger and Sam Nazarian (Creator of SBE and Owner of SLS Delano Hotels ) when they would hold meetings at The Raleigh. I met Snoop Dogg. I’ve worked a lot of concerts with DJs like Anjunabeats, Marshmallows and Thomas Gold. Those crowds were something! I am really happy that I got a chance to experience those events, especially with everything that’s going on now. 

What are your current projects?

I recently started a consulting gig with a good friend of mine named Rudy Abreu. Rudy and I are partners in our consulting agency. We are beverage consultants for bar programs and for at home bars. It’s a side gig to bring the bar to people. We bring the craft to their house instead of teaching people how to make a Long Island or a mojito, we make the fun stuff and teach people how to make craft cocktails at home. We make the experience approachable. I’m also heading the bar program at the Albion Hotel in Miami Beach. 

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally?

We are all trying to survive in this market. We have all gone back to the drawing board. We cut costs down and worked to figure out how to change menus but also how to stay alive. We still need to keep people coming in the door, so that’s when we fall back on the classics. I obviously feel bad for everybody that’s having a hard time. It’s also been a  huge struggle because like there’s kind of this bias versus stand-alone bars and restaurants. Restaurants are okay but bars have been struggling to open. People don’t want to encourage gathering right now. Avoiding crowds has been the biggest challenge for me. All I know is how to fill up a room. I am trained to fill a room and I’ve perfected this craft to be able to get a lot of people to want to come in and enjoy it. But, you just have to take what you are given and roll with it. I don’t think that this pandemic will completely disrupt the cycle of the bar industry or stop it in its tracks. We got through prohibition. There are also families suffering and I wish people would be a little more safe. It’s important to take care of ourselves so we can get back to what we were doing and live a normal life.

Where can we see more of you? What’s your next move?

After working eight years in the hospitality industry, I’ve been inspired to create my own business. My business is called Cosa Nostra Cocktail Club. Cosa Nostra, or “Our Thing,” will also be the name of my bar. Although it reminds some people of the mafia, I chose the name because I’m Cuban-Italian and I’m from New York City (which is considered a birthplace of true craft).  I’ve created this LLC with Rudy Abreu who also bartends at SLS. Cosa Nostra will be a cocktail club to set us apart from the dive bars and from the regular bars. Once you’re considered a cocktail club it’s because you offer a little more variety not just mainstream classics as far as the cocktail programs. We use our knowledge of pre and post prohibition styles of bartending to create this brand because we realized that we care more about the craft cocktail side of the industry. We keep up to date with all the spirits that are coming out and we notice how our guests really experience drinks. We are also happy to show them how these drinks became staples in the craft. “Our thing” goes to show that we’re going to be different from everybody else. Cosa Nostra will not be an experience you can get by going into any other bar

To contact Anthony or follow his journey:

Instagram: @tony_cosanostracc

Email: A042393@hotmail.com

Phone number: (786) 218- 6309

 

 

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Barbara Peña - Bartender @ The Local

Local Miami Bartender Barbara “Barby” Pena has been positively impacting and servicing patrons for over a decade. Before the 2019 Coronavirus Epidemic, you could have stepped into The Local Craft Food & Drink and Pena would have crafted you a drink that is individualized, creative and inspired. However, Pena, like others in the service industry, can now only hope that she will be able to continue fulfilling her passion for bartending. 

What inspired you to become a bartender?

A long time ago, there was a spot called Clandestino Pub on South Beach. Working at Clandestino was my main introduction to the craft cocktail world and ever since then I have fallen in love. Bartending is like cooking but with liquor and I love to cook. 

What are your favorite aspects of the job?

From the type of people that you meet to the conversations that you have to the cocktails you make…Every day is a new adventure. There are so many different worlds that come with bartending. You can work in different atmospheres. You can work at a place where you have conversations and make bonds with people. Some of my regulars have become my friends. Some of them have gone to my kids’ baby showers. There’s something special about the industry that I work in. There’s something magical.

What have you learned about the people you serve? How has this knowledge influenced your craft?

 I learn something new every day. It truly is incredible to experience things through my guests and my regulars. Also, I make different types of cocktails for people and decipher what kind of drink they would like. You can walk up to me and I will make you something that you like. I have played that game with a lot of people who never had a real cocktail and are intimidated about ordering a drink. One time I had someone tell me that they want something “witchy and romantic.” I made her a smokey drink that had a flower tea that changed color once you added lemon to it. She was blown away. It is crazy how you can change someone’s day so easily, someone who could be going through a lot. I’ve talked people out of doing dumb things and I have heard people out. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatrist but my prescriptions are drinks. 

What are your favorite drinks?

My favorite drink is a New York Sour. They are delicious. It’s both boozy and refreshing. It’s a funky cocktail and it’s very pretty too. It has egg whites in it and it has a very beautiful process. I really enjoy making it for people who never had it. Every time they say, “Oh my God! It’s amazing!” 

The Local Barbie 44 1 scaled
Images by Blazin Visualz

Do you have any remarkable opportunities/ stories that have happened because of your job? If so, what are some of these experiences?

I met the love of my life through working in this industry. You never know what the future holds and it was very sweet how I met him. He walked into The Local and was like, “ You are the bartender that used to work at Roll Call a long time ago!” Roll Call was a 24 hour bar that was open in Miami. It was wild. As a bartender, I have had very beautiful and touching encounters, very emotional moments. This industry has taught me how we are all so different but it is beautiful to be able to have a moment with all these different humans. 

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally?

I have always had two jobs. I work at The Local and the crew is like a family. Everyone has been there for five or six years. We all have seen a lot of each other but this has changed since the pandemic. My second job was at 1-800 Lucky and they are running a tight, skeleton crew there. I haven’t gone back to work. The pandemic has definitely brought a lot of questions: How permanent is this? Is this going to affect the service industry unlike jobs where you can work from home?

What, if anything, do you hope a Post COVID-19 Word resembles for you as a person and as a member of the hospitality industry?

In a post-COVID-19 world, we are going to be more aware of washing our hands and personal space. I honestly don’t know what to expect. I just hope all of us as humans try to become better humans. I think this whole experience is very awakening. I hope we can take all the positives and create a better, healthier world. The uncertainty of the service industry is scary for all of us bartenders. I don’t know if things will go back to normal and whether we can rely on the industry as the main source of income as we have done for years. I do have a fall back plan of going back to school if all else fails. I was thinking about becoming a dental hygienist. I know it is so different but I would be going for job security. Let’s hope that things take a turn for the best and that our industry survives. 

If you had your own drink, bar or business, what would it be like and why?

I would have a little coffee shop. Maybe I would make it a speakeasy during the night with wine and poetry. I would want a Mom and Pop shop that my family could visit. 

To contact Barby or follow her journey:

Instagram: @lepetitdinosaur

Email: barbarapenam@gmail.com

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Marco Balza - Bar Market

 Born and raised in Venezuela, Marco Balza goes all the way back to 2006 when he was still living in Caracas and he had his first Bartender experience. “My friends and I had a party called ‘El Guarapazo’, we used to rent the party halls from the buildings and charged a cover for All you can drink ‘Guarapitas’, with DJs and security included, we even had a logo” remembers Marco about his beginnings.

Moving to Miami was not in his plans, but on a change of heart, he drops his Automotive Mechanic studies to start working in the Hospitality Industry. He started at the Hilton Hotel in a service bar inside the kitchen, then as a barback in a night club, and 13 years later, he recently opened his own consulting company. Bar Market. with an organic sense of sustainability, the consulting company is dedicated to delivering freshness and rich flavors in its products as well as the compromise to build top of the league Bar staff.

When do your love for Mixology started?

My parents had a little dispense in the kitchen with all the liquors. I remember there was a small book called “El ABC de los cócteles” I really like that book, it was the first time mixology caught my attention. When I started bartending in Miami, I wanted to create new cocktails, but since I was working in a nightclub, I started flipping bottles and don’t get me wrong, I loved it, I just wanted to learn more about the art of mixing drinks. I joined USBG around 2011 and from the first seminars I knew I’ve found my passion.

You just started your own business, tell us about Bar Market

Bar Market is a consulting company that looks forward to changing the Bar scene, making every bartender shine on stage every shift. I’m looking forward to improving Miami Bartender’s service by providing great staff training. I started this company after realizing I was working like a Robot all the time, even taking double shifts. It wasn’t making me happy.  I decided to get out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. 

My latest venture is the creation of a super organic handcrafted line of mixers for cocktails with super fresh, natural ingredients and no preservatives. I use the herbs from my own garden and they’ll be sell by pre-order only, in 25oz batches. At the moment I’m offering Mojito, Pina Coladas, Daiquiri, Old Fashion and Fit Spritz (low sugar) 

Bar Market will bring more exciting news to everyone in the industry or for those bar and kitchen aficionados, unfortunately, it is secret at the moment. I mean it. Stay tuned.

What do you love the most as a consultant? Is it the creation or education?

The satisfaction when I see the progress in each bartender, server, manager, or each person I’m training. I will say creation and training go hand by hand, you can create a masterpiece but, if the bartenders as ambassadors of your cocktails can’t replicate it, your job is pointless, with the right training, those bartenders will be artist, Ninjas, and stars behind the bar.

Do you have any favorite spirits when creating specialty cocktails?

I like all spirits on a menu, but for making cocktails my top 3:

  • N1. Gin
  • N2. Rum 
  • N3. Mezcal 

Is there any style that can represent you o a signature essence?

Life needs a balance, art needs a balance. you have to take care every single detail to make a great cocktail, but in my personal opinion flavor is most important, presentation it is very important too because is the hook that catches just by looking at it, but if the cocktail doesn’t taste good, is just a sad waste of juice. 

 What should be in a perfect cocktail menu?

  • Variety. Even if it is a Tequila or Rum bar, variety is the key.
  • Every cocktail menu should be seasonal.
  • Classics are the blueprints for new cocktails, if you don’t have a Classic list on the menu, every bartender should know how to make then perfectly, at least the most popular. It is unacceptable for a bartender to shake a Negroni (it burned my eyes. True story).
  • Every bar should have a famous signature cocktail, the one that every customer wants to try.

If Miami were a cocktail, what would be the ingredients? and how would you call it?

“Miamian Tales” 

Definitely Rum, Miami is a mix of a lot of rum countries. Lime, Mango because we are from the Caribe, Jalapeños because the people in Miami are Hot & Spicy and champagne as Miami Beach sparks through the night.

 Tell us your most memorable experience working as a Bartender?

Working at the Miami Rum Renaissance, and the Hukilau in Ft Lauderdale, All day talking about Rum, making cocktails and having fun.

 What’s next in your journey?

Keep doing my thing growing with Bar Market, working hard opening a Bartending Academy.  Trying to leave a mark in this life.

What’s the best way to contact you?

you can email at barmarketllc@gmail.com and follow me on Instagram at @Barmaket_ @Macoeche

You can email Marco or DM him to order the pre-batched Mixers starting at $25 per Botlle (25oz) or 2 for $40. When you buy 5 bottles you’ll get a green gift. If you return 5 bottles to support recycling, you’ll get a free bottle in your next purchase. Let’s support #smallbusiness #shoplocal

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Images by 52 chefs

 

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Eric Tillis - The Traveling Bartender

Eric Tillis, a Mixologist from Houston, Texas, decided to Venture off on his own, creating the brand The Traveling Bartender. A Mixology and Flair mobile Bartending service.

“Partnering with local DJs and party promoters, I began bartending small college parties and events. This led to meeting people from all over! They would fall in love with my drinks and insist I bartend for them, even though they were 500 miles away!”

Meet Eric Tillis and his story in this 10 questions interview.

Describe yourself in 5 words

Intelligent, adaptable, humble , creative, intuitive

What made you venture off your own and create your brand The Traveling Bartender?

After doing my first private event I loved the experience so I stayed at it studying hours on different concepts and styles, traveling around the United States experiencing different styles of craft cocktails.

How would you better describe your service?

A global brand started in east Texas now based out of Houston we provide a very unique experience to every guest. You want to see an ice block cut down into cube then stamped with a compass- our symbol that defines the brand “limitless direction”. Inspired from “The Blue Blazer” we roll flame cocktails from tin to tin , make drink spark like fireworks, and great show indeed. My favorite is flairing watching bottle twirling through the air, landing gently on my palm spinning perfect as I pour into tins. 

What do you enjoy the most as a bartender? creating the drinks, flair, or customer service?

I’d say customer service is first, a guest experience is very important to us. Following Japanese hospitality or omotenashi. The entertainment portion such as flair has taken years of practice.

What has been the best experience on the road so far?

Meeting great people from around the world, with a love for the craft of bartending.

Where do you find inspiration to create the cocktails? are they customize to each event? or do you have a cocktail list?

Rosemary, baby breath, lychee from Asia , bamboo leaves , elderflower, lavender, rhubarb , star anise, dragon fruit, ginger root and even truffles for us is either a perfect garnish or a the start of a delicious cocktail 

As an entrepreneur, you are not only a bartender but also a business owner, how do you manage to do it all?

God and a great team behind me

What has been the most challenging thing about starting a new business?

“First impression matter” when potentials clients first call us we make sure to listen to their every request. Then my team sit down and draws out the details of the event from ice selection, glassware, taste profile. We have set a high standard as far as the service of our guests! We make sure that every drink is uniform and consistency is key! 

What is the next step for you? 

 I’m currently working on a line of Hawthorne strainers that might be available by the end of August.

If you were a cocktail, which one would you be?

My favorite a cigar smoke infused old fashion with hand crafted bitters.

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You can contact Ellis through his social media accounts or a call.

CONTACT:

Phone number: 346-217-0102

IG: @officialmixologyandflairig

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTravelingBartenderMixologyAndFlair

PRICING:

$1 per person/per hour

Contact him for out of the state fee.

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