HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
I’m creative, demanding of myself, tenacious, adventurous in my intentions, and I’m eager to learn and experiment with new working methods and to innovate, searching for new sensations in my cocktails.
BRIEFLY TELL US HOW YOU GOT YOUR START AS A BARTENDER.
At a very early age, I was lucky that both my older brother Nacho and my uncle Jose Miguel owned clubs and bars in Málaga and Algeciras, respectively, where I had the opportunity to work over the weekends. Later, as I grew older, people such as Javier Caballero, David Arrebola, Javier de las Muelas, Borja Cortina, Jorje Olivay, and many others, came around; even Ferran Adria led me to believe that I could do the same in the cocktail industry. I’ve spent years training and learning from the best every day, whom I listen to, observe, and ask for advice.
WHAT ABILITIES ARE NECESSARY TO BE A GOOD BARTENDER AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IS YOUR STRENGHT?
Be polite and disciplined in your work. I think that you have to know every corner of the bar and its distillates, know what the customers / friends want, continuous training, and you’re your research done on every product that you have in the bar so you can create and innovate. I think that my strength is my passion for what I do.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT “Terraza Night and Day”
It’s a wonderful place in an extraordinary spot in the city of Algeciras, due to its beautiful views of the bay and the lit-up port at night, an open-air space with 5 bars from the city’s fashionable clubs. There are parties and beautiful people Monday through Sunday, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday being the busiest days. I have my little mixology corner there, where, among others, there’s a lot of gin, cocktails, vodkas, I put out some 400 classic mojitos or with Teichenné strawberry or passion fruit purees.
Somebody said “the views of the illuminated port, one of the biggest in Europe, are lovely, but they’re iron cranes…” and someone replied “the Eiffel Tower is made of iron too, and millions of people a year visit it…” hahaha, and the first one said “you’re right, and the views from the terrace are wonderful.”
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER TEICHENNÉ AND WHAT ABOUT IT DREW YOUR ATTENTION?
Through social networks, both because of your publications and from comments made by bartender friends from different areas of Spain. The wide range of liquors and schnapps, as well as the purees, got my attention at first… but later there came Level Gin Reserve, and it ended up convincing me of the quality of your brand.
AT TEICHENNÉ WE ARE MAKING A CLEAR COMMITMENT TO THE COCKTAIL INDUSTRY AND SUPPORTING BARTENDERS; WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
We are thankful to you for making life easier for us, saving us time and money; for example, making high-quality passion fruit purees. It’s also important to find most of the liquors under one brand and not to have to walk around buying from different brands, knowing that yours are of the best quality.
WHICH TEICHENNÉ PRODUCTS HAVE SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
I love Level Gin Reserve, a gin with personality. It is fun to work with. The passion fruit puree also surprised me, and -of course- the Cherry Brandy liquor.
Vermouth Olave is also worth pointing out. It is incredible with just ice and an orange wedge, or with my beloved Negroni, accompanied by Campari and Level Gin Reserve.
My latest creation “Agonía,” where Teichenné Cherry Brandy liquor dominates the flavors:
-5 cl vodka
-3 cl Teichenné Cherry Brandy liquor
-2 cl lemon juice
-1 cl almond syrup
-1 egg white
-2 drops of orange bitters
Garnish: 1 strip of dried yuzu and 2 rose petals
Preparation: Shake all the ingredients and serve in an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice.
RECOMMEND A BAR OR TWO
Museo Chicote in Madrid is a must, because of the service and the spectacle it offers. In Puerto Banús, Coctelería Astral, a wonderful place, where the star cocktail is the Siberian Passion, which I think I have achieved.
ARE YOU ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Very, I only talk about work on my mixology pages, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Bartender and Cocktails, or on my personal profile on Facebook.
Sailing, regattas, the sea in general… I’m on a regatta team with a friend’s boat and we do an inter-club league from Malaga to Ceuta which lasts 11 months, with 40 boats. I also love snowboarding.
WHAT COCKTAIL BEST DEFINES YOU, AND WHY?
I would say the mojito. In 1998 I spent a month and a half in Havana and I learned at La Bodeguita del Medio by watching them prepare it, and it turned out pretty well, hahaha… My customers and friends always say they’re close to excellence; oddly enough they’re not really my thing.
I’ll go with the Mint Collins, the work of the master Javier Caballero, which you can see in his book “Cocteleria Evolutiva,” a spectacle of flavour, texture, and aroma.
WHAT TRENDS DO YOU THINK WILL BE IN FASHION IN SPAIN IN THE FUTURE? WOULD YOU BET ON A PARTICULAR DISTILLATE?
I think that what’s coming is classic bartending and signature bartending; not forgetting the gin & tonic, which, at least in Andalucía, will be the model cocktail for years, above vodka, which they thought would dethrone gin. I’d bet on the rise of brandy or what they call spirits and liquors.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER TO IMPROVE IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Someone once told me: “Alvaro, always fight for your dreams, whatever the cost; people will put obstacles in your way, they’ll also help you, but never forget to be yourself. And remember that, to achieve your goals, you have to know them first.” It was in that moment that I got into this world.
HOW IMPORTANT IS FAMILY SUPPORT IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Very! My wife and son deserve a prize that I don’t even have for them. I’m also a social educator in a centre for juvenile offenders. Husband, Father, and Professional Bartender. I spend a lot of my free time on events, master classes, etc. My other passion is definitely mixology, or my other job, whatever you want to call it. But that’s time that I can’t be with my family and it’s difficult. Therefore, my free time is absolutely for my family.
LASTLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG PERSON WANTING TO START OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
First, training… learn what’s in each of the bottles in the bar, and get to know every corner and tool of the bar; be passionate, learn languages, observe and learn from the great masters, read lots of books about the cocktail industry, be kind and make friends with your customers, and, above all, enjoy working.