Where are you from?
I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and came to Canada when I was 11 years old. I will always be grateful to my parents for having the courage to move to this country that has offered me so much over the years.
Where do you currently work?
I work at The Old Mill Toronto as a bartender and also own Toronto Drink Factory, a bartender referral business in the GTA. As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I operate a high end Bed and Breakfast in the west end.
How long have you been Bartending?
I started bartending about 16 years ago. I still enjoy every shift for different reasons.
At what moment in your life did you decide to become a professional bartender?
I am not sure if there was an “aha moment” that made me become a professional bartender, but there was certainly a transition from just serving basic mixed drinks to becoming a cocktail bartender. That is when you know you are serious about your craft.
What is your favourite cocktail? Why?
Drinking for me is circumstantial, so I enjoy different drinks for different occasions. I would have to say that I enjoy cocktails made by friends the most. You can taste their passion in the drinks they make for you. That is priceless!
What is the cocktail you despise most? Why?
I don’t dislike a lot of things, but anything made with Sambucca or licorice-flavoured liqueurs is definitely not in my wheelhouse.
What is your go-to/favorite ingredient?
Bitters, hands down! Many different types of bitters used to complement, offset, temper or enhance the flavours of the base spirit. It makes each drink so much more rounded and balanced.
Which alcohol do you take as a shot?
Jägermeister is my go-to. Jameson is my close second.
What is your favourite cocktail bar in the city?
I have 4 or 5 I go to. Some are popular; others are a little off the beaten path. They all have a friend behind the granite making cocktails with love (see above). This business is about people just as much as about the drinks.
Do you have a funny bar story to tell us?
Being a banquet bartender, I meet about 1,000 people a week during wedding season. I have so many stories!!! Like the time I saw a marriage annulled by the end of the reception, or the poor bridesmaid who caught more than she bargained for when she got the bouquet (which still had the pins in it that held the flowers together). I could go on…and on…
What is the most ridiculous cocktail request you had?
Anything blended (piña colada comes to mind) when I am working a portable bar. How exactly would you like me to blend that for you?!?
As a MADE WITH LOVE Ambassador, what is your biggest challenge this year?
My biggest challenge is following in the footsteps of my predecessor. Wes did an amazing job raising the profile of this competition in Toronto. I look forward to meeting many new people and reconnecting with old friends on this journey.