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

by Caroline Hatchett
April 2016

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?
Julio Cabrera

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

CH: And to drink?

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

CH: What’s your biggest challenge?
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?
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?
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.