Behind the Stick with Tony Juarez of Masters Kitchen
Here's Tony Juarez serving up the "Prevailed in Tulum" while chatting about the cocktail scene in North County. Tony's giving us a taste of his culture over at Masters Kitchen in Oceanside. This cocktail is mysterious, smokey, tropical and refreshing. Crafted with lemon, grapefruit, cinnamon syrup, honey syrup, Aperol, Mezcal, Reposado tequila and garnished with a torched rosemary and an edible flower.
What's the story behind this cocktail?
The story behind this cocktail is a little interesting because on the surface, it doesn’t relate to cocktails. Although I am inspired by so so many great bartenders and bar programs, what really inspires me are people. People such as Tony Robbins, and Nipsey Hussle. I took it really hard when Nipsey passed. I’m the beginning of Nipsey hussles “victory lap” music video. He states they are in Tulum Mexico. At the base of the Maya ruin pyramids. Is interviews and music have inspired me so much cocktail wise. He is major key player in why I feel my game has elevated. He always talks about being true to who you are despite the consequences there might be. And I felt that this cocktail specifically represented me in a glass. If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?
If I had to pair this with food I would pair it with street tacos!
Prevailed in Tulum
3/4 oz reposado tequila
1 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz honey syrup
1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
3/4oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
What makes the bar program unique at Masters?
Masters Kitchen and Cocktail Bar program is awesome because there is something for everyone. The cocktails are true and authentic. Our owner [Ryan Jubela] ]promotes creativity and R and D and I am grateful for that. He trusts us, and that means the world to me.
What kind of experience can diners expect at Masters Kitchen?
Diners can expect a creative and authentic experience when dining with us. Great food, and meaningful cocktails that create true memories for each guest.
About Tony Juarez
Are you from San Diego?
I am a San Diego native, and spent most of my youth growing up in Poway. I am grateful for all my child good experiences, especially the bad ones. Without that contrast, there is no room for growth!
How has your journey been leading up to your role at Masters Kitchen?
Bartending at Masters has been so great. It has been a huge reason for my growth. I was in a place before that turned corporate. Don’t get me wrong corporate can be great at times, but that particular corporation valued dollar signs over authenticity. I am grateful for my opportunity at Masters. What are some of your mentors in the bartending community?
At the moment I don’t necessarily have a mentor in the bar community, but Leigh Lecap has been gracious enough to talk shop with me for hours on end. Great dude, and extremely knowledgeable. Nick Sinutko as well. Both of them are Campfire bros. Nick is the reason there is cinnamon in this cocktail. I asked for his input, and he helped me take it form great, to meaningful.
How do you feel about the bar scene here in North County?
The bar scene in north county is catching up. Watch out!
Define the perfect cocktail.
The perfect cocktail is balanced, and creates a true experience or nostalgia for somebody.
What are some cocktail trends you are noticing in San Diego?
Some trends I have noticed is ice branding. I think it’s pretty unique.
What's your favorite drink to make behind the bar?
My favorite drink to make is Cobra Clutch. It’s divine and true!
What's your favorite spirit?
My favorite spirit is mezcal. What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?
I wish people understood the passion of some bartenders. It’s not just a job. What should everyone stock in their home bar?
Everyone should stock “work horse” spirits in there home bar. Shout out to the Educated barfly. Huge game elevator.
What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?
I like to spend time with my girlfriend and dog when I’m not making cocktails. The Dog park is one of my favorite places to be. With my loved ones, I am nothing. They drive me and give me purpose. They are my biggest fans, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. My girlfriend is the most caring, authentic and supporting person of my work.
What's next for you?
What’s next for me is to keep growing, mentally, physically, and spiritually. When all those things are progressing, my cocktail game evolves as well, and it’s nit coincidence. It is my ultimate goal to own a a cocktail bar. Divinity bar is coming! San Clemente, Ca 2024! I’m fired up and I’m hungry.