One of the most rewarding parts of being in the beverage industry is that we get to meet some incredibly talented people and have made some truly amazing & awesome friendships. Case in point, our dear friend, Esteban Ordonez. We first met him while he was representing Don Q Rums and if you see him, you know how loyal and dedicated he is while he sports a Don Q tattoo on his forearm. Not only is Esteban insanely talented, he is a true entertainer behind the bar and so much fun to hang out with. To know Esteban is to love him and he has many friends and fans in the industry. He has bit of a mad scientist (it isn’t uncommon to see him with liquid nitrogen) with an energy so high that people can’t help but fall in love with his vivacious personality and delicious inventive cocktails.
We recently sat down with our homie for a little drinking with session to find out how he gets down and here is what we learned …
Where can we find you drinking when you are not behind the stick?
It really depends on my mood, the day of the week, and if I am working. On a Friday or Saturday, I’m at Botanic Bar Lab, it’s has great Mezcal Cocktails and that clandestine feel of the old school LES. On a weeknight, I like hanging at Minetta Tavern, it’s a good place to catch up with friends over great classic cocktails. For a night out with the boys, EO (Employee’s Only) is a go-to or Bar 169 – which is a great no nonsense joint for a shot and a beer (can’t beat the dollar oysters).
If not in NYC … then I would say:
- Vegas: Herbs & Rye — Mendoza I’m looking a you
- Miami: Broken Shaker — my brothers Elad & Gabe
- LA: Crazy dude — Alan Katz Caña.
- Gotta stop otherwise we won’t make it to question # 2
What is your Favorite Go-To drink?
Never met a drink I didn’t like, but Hemingway Daiquiri, the Paloma and Negroni take the top three for me.
What was your first job in the food & beverage industry?
Many a moon ago, it was in a crappy catering hall in Queens, New York.
First alcoholic drink you ever had? What were you drinking the first time you got drunk?
Can’t really remember the very first because the home where I grew up was quite the party scene. I would say whiskey, probably Chivas or Johnny Walker Black, basically anything an adult would put down for more than a minute was claimed by me or my cousins.
I do recall being around 11 years old celebrating my birthday with my sister and bunch of kid friends from the neighborhood. We drank a bottle of Palo Viejo and wrecked the living room. Everyone was banned from the house and I might still be grounded because of it.
Is there a drink / product / ingredient that you just can’t stomach or don’t get?
Refer to answer # 2, can really say I like them all but must say there is an application for all in the cocktail creation stage.
Coffee or Tea? Fave Cup, From? How do you take it? How many a day?
Ha ha ha COFFEE is the biggest gateway drug, two cups in the morning, black – no sugar! And then the day is game-over, only heavier stuff after that… cigarettes, cigars, tequila, rum …….
But seriously, I love medium to dark roasts, no sugar, no cream and I would say 4 a day. If possible, I like to get my coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
What’s your hangover remedy?
Margaritas and beer
Favorite bartender / Mixologist / Sommelier or drinks service industry person and why?
Again with the complicated questions! I might need a drink for this one (a drink with everyone mentioned here that is) Igor and the EO/Macao cats, the brother is solid advice and fun as shit to party with and the guys, well you already know the guys.
Gene Samuels from Vegas just a fun mofo aslo.
Best pairing meal you ever had and where?
Daniel’s tasting menu is JUST right. Truly the perfect pairing of wine and food with impeccable service.
Where is your fave spot for a super chill night out or date night?
Chill night out? Ha, what does that even mean? If I need a break, I’m my back yard. Just chilling with cigars, some old rum, and some bad ass Spanish music. For a date night, Oficina Latina, it has great food, a great feel and central to many a party spots.
Hidden NYC Gem? (Dive bar, late night eats, underrated spot, anything you love about the hospitality scene)
Jewel Bako is sushi at its best. I think it is a bit underrated and always hits the spot for that proper sushi craving.
What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
My career choice, just being a bartender is a matter of real pride.
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in the industry? Who can we thank (beside you) for your delicious work?
There have been many people, good and bad, that have touched my work life and I thank everyone of them. The good ones have inspired, taught, and supported me. The bad ones have given me harsh lessons on what not to do and whom not to be. Both have equally contributed to who I am and what I pour for my guests and friends.
Straight Update & Shameless plugs: What are you working on these days?
On bettering my self and honing my craft and skills. Perhaps a book I hear is the thing to do now, ha!
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