Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.
There’s a love of celebration in Latin culture, just as much as there is a love of food, drink, dance, and all things that are attached to the act of celebration.
We’ve been known to create magic by pulling from whatever is around us, and we’ve also been known to find… well, any excuse to celebrate, from the monumental to the mundane.
When it comes to the art of celebration, a key component to any fiesta is a good mixologist, that mad scientist behind the bar who creates potions out of spirits and herbs and turns them into something far beyond the comprehension of a simple tequila con limon.
These five Latino mixologists have been, for lack of a better word, mixing it up around the world, creating award-winning concoctions that are so tasty they’re worth celebrating alone.
Carlos Ruiz, born in Peru, and based in New Jersey, is an award-winning mixologist who was named Mixologist of the Year by the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association.
Ruiz purposefully pulls from his heritage when creating his drinks, using ingredients such as corn, chili, and passion fruit, with bases typically found in the tequila, mezcal, or rum families (along with pico, for a little flair.)
His work has earned him the respect of other mixologists. He now consults for various brands, owns CRSP Media, and has a massive following after combining his love of cocktail mixing and dance on his social media platforms, causing Ruiz to go viral during the pandemic.
There are few women in the world of mixology that are as lauded for their talents as Fatima Leon Cruz. Known for creating cocktails that push the boundaries of the imagination, Cruz takes the drinks she creates seriously. For her, they are not just drinks but short stories that she tells of her cultural heritage, life experiences, and travels throughout Latin America.
Cruz was once dubbed the Best Bartender in Mexico during the 2017 World’s Best Competition, and she ended up placing 8th in the entire world. Her placement was the first time a Latina had ranked among the best bartenders in the world.
The drink that won her the praise? Her signature Cor Cocktail, which among the ingredients, includes fresh cow’s blood. She currently offers courses through Diageo Bar Academy.
Marcio Silva, based out of Brazil, is a renowned mixologist and owns one of the top-ranked bars in the world as of 2020, Guilhotina. Raised by a family known for creating small, artisanal batches of cachaça, one of Brazil’s most famous spirits produced from fermented sugar cane, Silva followed the family’s footsteps in his own way.
Blazing trails through the bartending world inevitably positioned Brazil for a meteoric rise in the mixology world. His work, inventive cocktails, and fun personality have made him a constant mixologist to watch.
Another mujer on the mixologist’s best-of list is Alba Huerta, the Mexican-born and Texas-raised bartender, business owner, author, and educator who has traveled the world with her credentials and has left a lasting imprint on the world of mixology.
From being named one of Food and Wine’s rising stars to being named Imbibe’s Bartender of the Year, Huerta has created world-class cocktails and a best-in-class mezcaleria before opening her flagship bar, Julep, in Houston. Julep is also the title of her first cocktail book, which is available in stores now.
Named 2020’s Bartender of the Year by World’s 50 Best Bars, Argentina’s Tato Giovannoni is one of the reasons that Buenos Aires became looked to as ‘South America’s Cocktail Capital’ with its flourish for both revitalizing long-forgotten drinks from generations past, and creating new drinks destined for the future.
Giovannoni is not only known for his mixology skills; he is one of the creative masterminds behind Floreria Atlantico, named the best bar in Latin America and the number 5 bar in the world.
Olivia Monahan Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.
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