Porto Tasty: Interview: Carlos Santiago, the best bartender of 2017

Interview: Carlos Santiago, the best bartender of 2017

Carlos Santiago, cocktails, News, Oporto, Porto, The Royal Cocktail Club, World Class,

Carlos Santiago, bartender and one of the founders of The Royal Cocktail Club, was the winner of the competition of World Class, which elected the best bartender of the year.

With the final of the World Class worldwide so close, Santiago received Porto Tasty at The Royal, his new project.

Porto Tasty: Given that you have a degree in communication sciences, what was the reason why you became a bartender?
Carlos Santiago: It was an accident. I was unemployed, in 2010, and this came up as an add to a hobby. I did the first formations, started enjoyig it and then got job offer. I started this way,at the Bonaparte Pub, in Foz. Meanwhile, it was a set of trainings, competitions, etc., until we get to the point of today, in which this turns out to be my career 100%.

PT: How is the world of cocktelaria in Oporto?
CS: Beginning. We are growing, but we're still a little bit in an embryonic phase. Our bar, at this point, turns out to be perhaps the first bar dedicated exclusively to cocktails, in the city. We're doing, in my opinion, a good job. We make cocktails to people, especially to the Portuguese and those who live in Oporto. I think that slowly we´re getting to the level of Lisbon and the Algarve, in Portugal.

PT: How did the project of The Royal Club Cocktail start?
CS: The Royal Cocktail Club has been scheduled two years ago. Since September last year, I, Daniel Carvalho and Tatiana Cardoso started the construction of the menu. Meanwhile, in December, early January, José Mendes joined us. He was the last member to join the team. From there, we designed everything that would be part of The Royal. The space itself has the signature of Miguel Camões, our leader. All this was idealized by him, we simply completed with the part of the cocktails.

PT: What is the difference between creating a cocktail for a menu and creating a cocktail for a competition?
CS: A cocktail in a menu has to be easy to make, to prepare, not with complex flavor and has to be adapted to your reality. You can not have a cocktail that takes 15 minutes to prepare when you have a full house. When we talk about cocktails for competitions, we make a more elaborate presentation, more refined ingredients. It's like Masterchef: you can not recreate it in a restaurant, but in a competition it works because it has a 'Wow!' effect.

PT: What are your inspirations when you make a cocktail?
CS: I think these inspirations turn out to be a bit transverse. It can be a book, a scent, a story, an experience, someone who accompanies you in your day-to-day life. In my case, my girlfriend is a great inspiration. She is always by my side and turns out to be a way of helping me and guiding me many times, in some subjects. All the experiences you spend end up being a good inspiration, it's very personal.

PT: How do you feel about being the best bartender of the year?
CS: Happy above all, but carring a great responsibility. Day 19 I'm going to Mexico for the World Class Final, taking with me the Portuguese flag and the responsibility to represent ourselves in the best way. It is an honor, a willingness to do a good thing and giving people a reason to speak more about Portugal.

PT: Where did the inspiration for the cocktails with whom you won the competition come from?
CS: I always tried to connect Portugal to Mexico. I was inspired by the city of Porto, I used the port wine. The two cocktails had Maya names, I got inspiration from the Mexican side. The appetizer had the meaning of merit, Nahil. My merit of having reached the final and of my companions who also arrived. The second was called Yatsil, which means loved one, inspired by my girlfriend. It was like a tribute to her.

PT: Projects and goals for the future?                  
CS: I'm already in my main project. Goals are to grow as much as I can and in the near future I would like to have my own space. I think it is a desire transverse to almost all the barmens, to be able to create our own space and put there our identity. The project is thr growth of The Royal, this is the project both mine and the rest of the team. Live the moment, one day at a time, try to enjoy the maximum of the world final, and then we will see.

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