2016 South Florida Rising Star Mixologist Christian Rolon of The Regent Cocktail Club

2016 South Florida Rising Star Mixologist Christian Rolon of The Regent Cocktail Club
April 2016

The Regent Cocktail Club
1690 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
www.regentcocktailclub.com

Recipe

Photos

Born to Argentinian parents in Paraguay, Christian Rolon was raised in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil before coming to the United States at 18. He got his start bar-backing at Miami’s Mercadito, a restaurant known for its tequila and mezcal selections. Two and a half years later, by the time he was ready to move on, Rolon was running the bar program and managing a staff of seven. Next, Rolon was hired by Novocento restaurants to elevate their bar program and open a new location in Midtown.

Rolon then took his talent and drive to a place where he could really play: the Regent Cocktail Club. Th ere, Rolon works to develop  curated, bespoke cocktails that delve into the raw material he fell in love with just four years earlier. Th e classics have seeped into Rolon’s bones, and his drinks are elegant, structured, and impeccably balanced. Th ey also have a story to tell, an immediate sense of history and place—as with his Il Viaggiatore that imagines a bartender stopping in diff erent countries to pick up Fernet, Cognac, vermouth, curacao, and mole bitters to make the ideal drink. Active on the competition circuit, Rolon competed in the fi nals of the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition this February in San Francisco with his Pa’Los Santo.



Interview with South Florida Rising Star Bartender Christian Rolon of The Regent Cocktail Club

Caroline Hatchett: How did you get your start?
Christian Rolon:
I started as a bar back at Mercadito, and I was at Novecento before that as head bartender. But I would ask for things and never get them, so I left. I have a passion for this. I love to make peoples’ days. Something to blow their mind. I like Regent because I learn a lot. I have to open books.

CH: Who’s your mentor?
CR:
Julio Cabrera

CH: What’s your favorite cocktail to make?
CR:
Ramos Gin Fizz

CH: And to drink?
CR:
Negroni

CH: What cocktail trend would you most like to see?
CR:
Cocktails that don’t compromise the flavors, aromas, and spirits trapped in bottles of booze. 

CH: What’s your biggest challenge?
CR:
Making people drink something other than vodka. At this bar, mostly. At other bars, I really didn’t mind. But once I started working here, we’re famous for Sazeracs, so if I have the time, I’ll say, “Why not try this?” At least 30 percent of our sales are vodka, every night, but especially Thursday and Friday.

CH: What city’s cocktail culture would you most like to explore?
CR:
Havana, Cuba. I love rum, and I love how Cubans love their rum. Prohibition in the United States came with opportunities for other countries to develop better cocktails for the thirsty Americans. Cuba is only 90 miles from the United States, and, therefore, became a favorite getaway spot. Cuban cantineros created many cocktail recipes used today in bars around the world. 

CH: What’s your five-year plan?
CR:
Until last year, I wanted to open my own bar. Being here is so much fun, and I don’t want to deal with numbers. I just want to close down and go home. I see myself behind the bar. This bar, or somewhere else, making cocktails. I’ve been offered jobs in high-volume place where I would make lots more money, but money isn’t my goal. I started competing last year, and I like pressure. When I see lots of bartenders get that serious, and I get so happy. I start throwing bottles! I get energy out of nowhere.