The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2018

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54  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2018 We've partnered with Chef's Roll & Somm's List, the global culinary and wine professional networks, to learn more about beverage experts from across the country. If you are a mixologist or wine professional interested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll and Somm's List, please email JIMMY SPORER Mixologist at Jazz, TX in San Antonio, TX What's your background in the bartending community? My brother is an owner in the industry, and when he started he also wanted me involved a few years back. It's definitely a privilege to have a family connection within the business, but it made me feel like I had to work even harder than everyone else because of it. How do you try to separate your cocktails from the crowd? I strive for perfection, and with the bar scene in San Antonio being so special, here at Jazz, TX we're trained to have a very specific science when it comes to mixing drinks. The science behind a cocktail is what really makes the difference, but it's often forgotten, so when making drinks I make sure to pay very close attention to the smallest details, such as the temperature and aeration of the cocktails. What makes the scene in San Antonio so unique? The passion and cultural mix are what makes San Antonio so different, and being so close to the border of Mexico offers a special style you can't find anywhere else. Everyone here also has a special love for what they do and they serve the community by offering a unique experience. It's cliché, but San Antonio serves people, not drinks! IRVING GONZALEZ Lead Mixologist at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego, CA How have you made an impact during your tenure at The Westgate? The Westgate made a big impact on me by allowing me to know more about French cuisine and culture, and I really hope that my impact is getting to mix my Mexican and French culture here as well. What's the secret to a successful bar program? The really important thing is the love and passion to make cocktails. We have amazing staff who are really passionate about their jobs and a great menu of classic cocktails with a twist and personal touch. You've just published a new summer cocktail menu. How did you approach that task? We just included a lot of fun things! We work a lot with ice and have an amazing ice stamp with our logo. We make in-house ingredients like the orgeat, Mexican black sauce for the Michelada, and dry ingredients for garnish, and we also did some really fun adult push- pops for poolside. I think guests will love this menu. It's a back-to-classics list with a fun touch—like the Hemingway Daiquiri with Ouzo—and I'm really proud of it. It's going to be my last menu at The Westgate, so I really hope people can enjoy it as much as I do. PHOTO: JOSE LÓPEZ (PRAISE MEDIA) PHOTO: CAITLIN FRANSCELL

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