Cristian Bugiada is a co-owner at La Punta Expendio de Agave, in Rome. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Tequila and Grapefruit Soda and the second with Tequila and Jalapeño Salt.
Cristian introduce yourself
I am Cristian Bugiada from Sicily. I came to Rome 10 years ago to study music and soud design, but after working in the bar Freni e Frizioni to pay my tuition, I decided to become a bartender. After my first shift I felt so happy, I could see I did well, people were happy, smiling, even if of course I had to study to improve myself is this new job. From this time I’ve worked many years at Freni e Frizioni from barback to bar manager. The second important step was meeting the people of Jerry Thomas, because in town, nobody was as good as them regarding drinks and service. So just being at their bar, chatting, tasting made me progress and thanks to them I understood I needed to know the history of cocktails too. Four years ago I started to discuss mezcal and tequila with Roberto and work deeper on these spirits. Then we traveled to Mexico to really understand agave spirits and found products locally made. But it was so intense, we had to go back several times before opening this place with our partner from Freni e Frizioni and Jerry Thomas.
The classic you want to show us
20ml of Lime
45ml of Tequila
Top with Grapefruit Soda
Rime of Salt
The bar you dream of
What we have here is the bar of my dream. Freni e Frizioni is my family and we work together. My sister works here too in the kitchen.The size of the restaurant and the bar is exactly what I want. Yesterday I arrive at La Punta, it took me 45 minutes to say hi to everybody, I know all the name of my customer, what they like, because we are a local bar. I love that.
What do you do in your time off
I continue to play music in my appartment on electronic devices and record music when I have time. I have busy days when I am not at La Punta: masterclass on mezcal all around Italy or travelling to Mexico. So not a lot of free time.
The spirit you like the most
Of course it’s agave spirits, tequila or mezcal, because for me it’s the same. Versatility is key and people has to understand that there are a lot of Tequila and not only the low quality that you drink in shots. If you aged a lot an agave spirit in a barrel, it becomes like a bourbon. So you can do a lot of different cocktails, like a a mezcal negroni which is one the bestseller here.
What makes a good cocktail
First step, you need to know your products to understand what is inside the glass. Then balance to respect the cocktail. You can’t invent everything, there are rules on the top of the creations. The third point is to try to understand who is front of you, because you make a drink for your customer, not yourself.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Vermouth, beccause in Italy the wine culture is very strong, and vermouth is part of it. In fact vermouth has its own balance and helps the drink. The vermouth del Professore is the golden one for me with Antica Formula which is less sweet .
The signature cocktail you want to show us
50ml of Tequila
25ml of lime
25ml of Orange Curaçao
15ml of Pineapple Juice and Coriander and Jalapeño Salt
Crusta with Tajin
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You should go to interview Julio from Thomas restaurants and bar in San Francisco and Don Javier from la Capillia in Tequila too.