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5 Bartenders You Should Know to Help You Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

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Mixology is so much more than concocting the perfect cocktail. Take it from bartenders, it’s all about connection, community, and creating unforgettable memories. From sharing culture over specially crafted drinks to collaborating at crunch time , love, passion, and tradition express themselves in varied ways, with tending the bar a fun, creative catalyst. 

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re teaming up with BACARDÍ to shine a light on Latino and Latina / Latine or Latinx mixologists who keep the good times going and the drinks flowing. Get to know five bartenders who’ll inspire your own libations for your celebrations. 

Frank Kurt Maldonado

@frankykurt7

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Courtesy of Frank Kurt Maldonado

Frank Kurt is all about appreciating the moment. The Guatemalan bartender, who got his start at the age of 20 working his way up at restaurants and bars, came to New York for the promise of a dream. “My country is very limited and [there are] not many opportunities. It was more than anything the desire to excel and be better for myself and family and I found passion in bartending after moving to America,” Frank says, who discovered his career after watching the movie Cocktail. “It made me want to be that guy behind the bar, something that back in those days you could never imagine even exist in my country.” 

And now, he is that guy behind the bar. Today, Frank is a mainstay in the New York City cocktail scene,  where he crafts classic BACARDÍ cocktails like Hemingway Daiquiri, and enjoys connecting with folks on a nightly basis. “The best part of the job for me is the different people and personalities I meet every night.” says Frank. “Knowing you can change their  night with just one drink is an incredible feeling.”

Aryana Alexa Arce Garcia

@aryanaalexa

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Courtesy of Aryana Alexa Arce Garcia

Bartender Aryana Alexa Arce Garcia’s main ingredients have always been a dash of tenacity shaked with a full cup of cultural values. The second-generation Puerto Rican began to study bartending as a means for consistent income in the midst of the gig-based roller coaster of promotional modeling. But she quickly discovered what being behind the bar could be: a way to create space for her community. 

“Being Puerto Rican, especially from the Bronx, has always been an inspiration in anything I do. It inspires me to carve out spaces where Latinas and people from low income backgrounds are seen and welcomed,” says Alexa whose favorite Bacardi cocktail to make is the Tormenta Negra for its strong flavor. “Bartending and mixology [have] always been a white male dominated space and my goal is to bring more awareness to Latinas and women of color as creators and leaders in the industry as well. I’ve always wanted to be able to show the people who look like me not [to] be discouraged in wanting to take up space. Our culture has a lot of flavor and energy that deserves to be in the mix, literally.” 

Hugo Osorio

@hugobartender

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Courtesy of Hugo Osorio

When you distill Hugo Osorio’s bartending career in one word, it’s home. The mixologist, originally from Veracruz, Mexico before establishing new roots in Dallas, recalls growing up and attending family events like quinceañeras, where BACARDÍ cocktails like his favorite Cuba Libre would flow. “I draw a lot from my time as a child living and tending to the land in Mexico. There’s so much greenery,” says Hugo, who discovered his passion for the art working at Perry’s Steakhouse in Texas. “Moving to the U.S. provided a whole set of values in terms of ingredients and drove my curiosity. There’s a whole world of flavor.”

Now, he finds home behind the bar. “Between the guest and [my] teammates, I have truly built a sense of community. Several of my guests have become close friends,” Hugo says. “The bar has become a home for me. My team is my family.”

Darnell Holguin

@drinkandwit

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Courtesy of Darnell Holguin

Darnell Holguin found bartending in one of the most unique places, the theater. Growing up, his mother and uncle were a part of a Latino theater, where the first-generation, Dominican-American bartender always found the bar to be an extension of the stage. It’s a sense of star performance that can be traced in his career. “My bartending experiences range from being a part of the team at Bathtub Gin to opening the Michelin-guide rated Fifty restaurant, which set the stage for achieving being the beverage partner at Las’ Lap,” Darnell says.

To this day, he also still draws creativity from his Dominican artist roots. “I look for ways to tell a story with each sip,” says Darnell, whose favorite BACARDÍ cocktail to make at New York Las’ Lap is called It Was All A Dream. “It’s inspired by a Dominican breakfast mocktail called Morir Soñando. Literally translated, it means, ‘To die dreaming.’’

Carlos Parada

@Cocktailpapii 

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Courtesy of Carlos Parada

Bartending isn’t just a career for Carlos Parada, it’s a lifestyle. The El Salvadorean, Atlanta-based mixologist, who originally moved to the States in hopes of becoming a model, discovered the spotlight bartending could also shine on him. “Every time I’m bartending, I feel like I’m on my own stage. I own it. People take videos and pictures because they can see I’m having fun and they enjoy themselves,” says Carlos, who also competes in mixology competitions in his spare time. “My culture has a lot to do with how I [show up] to bartending. Especially when I make the drinks I do a little salsa dance.”

This approach of joy and entertainment shows up in the way he imagines his cocktails and for whom. “I came up with a cocktail that’s lemon juice, vanilla bitters, coconut water and BACARDÍ, perfect for things like the beach,” says Carlos, who also prepares drinks with El Savador-inspired produce, such as mango and papaya, that take center stage with his family. “My family loves it. They’re like, ‘We have a mixologist in the family, so every time we have a party, you’re going to make us drinks.’ It’s always a fun time.’”

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