Nicolas Cruz is the Head Bartender of Botanero in Paris. He makes us two cocktails, one with Madeira and Amaro and the second with White Vermouth and Orgeat.
Nicolas introduce yourself
My name is Nicolas Cruz and I was a pro skier, skiing around the globe for 11 years. Even with my sponsors, I didn’t get enough money so I started to work in bars during the winter season. At first being a bartender was difficult for me to accept because I had a Masters in marketing, specialising in international supply chain, so I felt bartending was a step back. Then I started to work at Glass in 2013 as a barback and I finally understood that bartending was so much more, as you can use your personality and really do something creative. You need a lot of knowledge about spirits and it’s a real job. I moved for the opening of Gravity with Michael Mas and spent two years there and learnt a lot during this period. I decided I needed to move to a place where I could express myself and Botanero was the perfect place. It’s an epicurean neo-Mexican canteen with drinks that focus on mezcal, tequila, amaro, vermouth and Madeira.
The classic you want to show us
Stay a little
30ml of Sercial Madeira 10 years
30ml of Nardini Amaro
15ml of Vecchio Piemonteze Amaro
The bar you dream of
My dream bar would be in a ski station. It would be split in two parts… one big room for 60 people where you could share wine, beers and cocktails in a warm ambience, similar to a pub. Then a smaller room for around 10 people that was booking only. This area would have no menu and you could take your time to discuss and choose what you want to drink: bespoke cocktails with bespoke service.
What do you do in your time off
I read a lot. Otherwise, you can find me doing indoor climbing here in Paris.
The spirit you like the most
I like American whiskey, like bourbon. It’s a sweet woody taste that you can use as a base or as a complement. I especially like using Blanton bourbon.
What makes a good cocktail
It’s something you want to drink until the last drop. It’s that simple. You like it or you don’t. After that, it becomes more about technique and balance. For me personally, I like to taste all the ingredients in the drink, otherwise I am disappointed.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I like sherry, especially for the length in the palate. It’s very different from fino, oloroso, manzanilla to Pedro Ximenez, as they are all so different and you can work with them in various ways.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
20ml of Lemon Juice
20ml of Peanut Orgeat
30ml of Dolin White Vermouth
20ml of Matured Pastis
5 dashes of Angostura bitters
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Go to visit Felix at Suderman in Cologne, he was my first manager at Glass or go to Ory in Munich. In New York, I really like Dead Rabbit and Nomad and in Singapore, there are so many good bars, but you should definitely visit Native and Operation Dagger.