MANU LLORENS
Partnership with

MANU LLORENS

Bartender / Entrepreneur Manager of Druida bar & drinks. Eager beaver, self-taught, and was lucky to work on what he  elected, and work on what he loves.

HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
As a worker, an autodidact, being lucky enough to work in what I chose, in my passion, and in Onda, my local town.

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOUR CAREER BEGAN AND HOW YOU JOINED THE MIXOLOGY/HOSPITALITY WORLD
When I was 5 my mother was managing a bar here in Onda, and, since then I have always been connected to hospitality; however, I had a special interest in the world of drinks. I left the industry for a year, but it is like a worm that gets inside you, so I returned when I was 20 years old and since then have done nothing else. Although it is hard work and the hours are long, as soon as a satisfied customer gives you good feedback, then this is enough to recharge your batteries so that you can carry on.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TIME MIXOLOGY IS EXPERIENCING AND THE INDUSTRY’S BOOM?
I believe that it has never been as popular as now. The customer wants to know more and this is good for the industry. And, in my point of view, social media has been fundamental in the rise of mixology. However, without bartenders such as the Talens brothers, Alberto Pizarro, Patxi Troitiño, Javier Caballero, Hilari Fombuena, Yeray Monforte, Toni Cortés, etc, none of this would have ever happened.

ONE OR TWO ESTABLISHMENTS YOU WOULD RECOMMEND…
La Ronería (Castelló) and Llum d’oli bar&drinks (Benicarló).

WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS (IF YOU HAVE ANY) AND WITH WHOM WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE THE BAR WITH?
Without a doubt, Hilari Fombuena of Cocktail Clam gave me a Masterclass that opened my eyes 4 years ago and gave us the impulse we needed. Another inspiration is Salvatore Calabrese who has more than 50 years of experience working behind the bar. I found him on YouTube and everything he does intrigues me. And I would love to share the bar with Toni Cortés and Yeray Monforte.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ESTABLISHMENT
You will find us in Druida bar&drinks at Ausiàs March no. 45, in Onda. It’s a modern venue where you can have a good drink with friends and listen to good music, and, many times, live. A place where we offer a friendly and relaxed environment. We have been serving our customers for 9 years. We are specialist in preparing gin tonics; we have our own menu and 45 gins, 6 macerated products prepared by us, along with a wide range of botanicals and citruses from our own garden. We are now managing to introduce the cocktail, an expensive process but it’s starting to pay off.

YOU HAVE BEEN BEHIND THE BAR FOR MANY YEARS; COULD YOU DEFINE THE CONSUMERS’ CURRENT PREFERENCES?
I have been professionally behind the bar for 18 years and, currently, it’s obvious that the gin tonic has become very attractive to consumers. For me, it’s almost a lifestyle, and I try to find each customer’s perfect serve, listening to their preferences and achieving their ideal drink.

 

HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT TEICHENNÉ?
Its Kinross gin trio was what first caught my attention. I then started to follow you on social networks, and when I saw that Antonio Pizarro was a collaborator, I never lost track of you.

AT TEICHENNÉ WE MAKE A SURE BET IN THE MIXOLOGY AND BARTENDER SUPPORT AREAS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?
That it’s essential that we have the support from liqueur manufacturers, after all, it’s us barmen who will recommend and serve your product to the consumer, and thus position it and make it know in the market.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TEICHENNÉ BRAND THIS YEAR?
I think that it is growing due to its large range of products, and that, thanks to this, we can continue to create drinks that get known.

WHICH OF TEICHENNÉ’S PRODUCTS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
As I said before, the trio of aces, the Kinross gins, which are three distinct but very pleasant flavours and Level Gin, which neat and served very cold, it’s surprising.

WOULD YOU SHARE A RECIPE WITH US?
Carajillo’s Cocktail

  • 5cl of brandy (roasted with cinnamon, lemon, orange, tiger nut, chocolate, coffee beans, and brown sugar)
  • 4cl of coffee
  • 2 cl of Teichenné almond liqueur
  • 1cl of sugar syrup

Cocktail shaker and martini glass, coffee beans and orange peel to decorate.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Very important, there is no bartender that does not use them. These days you get to know everything that is going on through these platforms, and all the information comes pretty immediately, whether it be good or bad. Used well, it is another work tool. From Castellón we launched our hashtag #castellonseagita so that people know we are here.

A HOBBY?
I play pool and compete in our local provincial league. And gastronomy, especially that of my home town. I cannot imagine a Sunday without a paella from “la Maltessa,” my mother.

AND YOUR FAVOURITE COCKTAIL?
At the moment, it’s Negroni. Although it’s a bitter cocktail, with Modernessia gin and a touch of Pedro Ximénez there is a contrast that I love.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MIXOLOGY CONTESTS/COMPETITIONS? ARE THEY NECESSARY FOR TRAINING PURPOSES OR TO GET YOURSELF KNOWN?
I don’t have much experience in competitions but what I do have is positive. They are not necessary but they do give you the chance to test yourself and see if you can achieve more than the competition. At the end of the day, more than competing, it is important to learn from other bartenders so that you can constantly innovate.

AND FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO START WORKING IN THIS SECTOR?
That they do it only if they really like it. Being a bartender is more than just serving drinks. It involves using common sense, being clean and tidy, never believing you know it all, respecting the competition and being patient and a friend to your fellow workers. However, most of all it involves treating the customer impeccably as empathy is fundamental.

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