Behind the Bar – Josue Gonzalez

Josue Gonzalez, Bartender, Lure Fishbar
Miami’s own Josue Gonzalez has been in the hospitality industry since starting his career as a barback at Zuma Miami back in 2010. Over the past four years he has worked his way up the ranks with varying tenures at some of Miami’s hottest bars, restaurants, and catering and event companies (Truluck’s, Toscana Divino, Bartenura Moscato, Shiraz Events, 50 Eggs, Ball & Chain) before landing at Lure Fishbar, where’s been for the past year-plus. Josue recently competed in the second Botran Rum Mixology Showdown alongside seven of Miami’s best mixologists and emerged victorious with his ‘Guatemalan Flip’ being named Miami’s best original rum cocktail. His prize? Besides bragging rights, Josue will receive an an all-expense-paid trip to the Botran distillery in Guatemala, home of the premium, award-winning rum for more than six decades.

When did you know you wanted to be a bartender/mixologist?
I started barbacking at Zuma Miami when they first opened up and fell in love with the craft and the whole “mixology” movement was becoming a thing here in the States. I then decided I wanted to be a get better at making drinks and taking care of guests, and really dove into the hospitality world.

If you had to pick one spirit to best describe yourself, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one. I can relate with all spirits, but I’d have to say rum is the one that best describes me.

What is your all time favorite cocktail to prepare? To drink?
To prepare, I like to make all kinds of drinks and what I make really depends on my guest. To drink, now that depends where I’m at and who’s making it. Sometimes it’s a shot and a beer, sometimes it’s a Mezcal Negroni, and sometimes it’s a Rum Old Fashioned.

What are your favorite and least favorite drink trends right now?
I don’t follow drink trends.

What are some of the staple items in your cocktail kit?
The whole kit is important, but any good bartender doesn’t need fancy tools; they can work with anything.

If you weren’t a bartender, what would you be?
I would be some kind of healthcare professional, most likely a firefighter or paramedic. I enjoy helping people and I used to be a lifeguard and was working towards the path.

What’s your go-to hangover remedy?
Take two Advils, drink a lot of water, and eat a bacon egg and cheese croissant. In 2005 the British conducted a study that found that bacon sandwiches were the hangover savior because of the protein from the bacon and the carbs from the bread.

You recently won the Botran Rum Mixology Showdown in Miami with your ‘Guatemalan Flip’ cocktail*. What was your inspiration for creating this drink?
Inspiration for my winning cocktail came from my mentor and good friend, Robert J. Ferrara. The competition composed of three rounds; for the first and second I made cocktails that I had come up with beforehand, but the third was focused on a secret ingredient – nutmeg. Once that was revealed, I thought back to the days Rob and I worked at Swine Southern Table and Bar and he would sometimes make a Flip-style cocktail and grate fresh nutmeg on top. So naturally I decided to make a Flip.

What’s your favorite food/rum pairing?
At Lure we have this amazing dessert called the ‘Pot of Gold.’ It’s made with banana pudding, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, candied nuts, and caramelized bananas with chocolate shavings. This is phenomenal with a good rum Old Fashioned or even a nice rum served neat.

Other than your own, what’s your favorite bar in Miami right now?
I love the Regent Cocktail Club, Broken Shaker, and Blackbird Ordinary.

What is your favorite thing about living in Miami?
Great weather. And there’s always something going on. I mean whenever you have nothing to do you can always find a good time at some location, or there’s some event to attend.

Mitch & Mel

* Guatemalan Flip Recipe
1 oz Botran Reserva Rum
1 oz nutmeg-infused Botran Reserva
3/4 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 whole egg
2 oz Mexican cola
Grated lime to taste
Grated nutmeg to taste

Add the first six ingredients to a shaker. Dry shake to emulsify the egg along with the other ingredients, add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled Collins glass and top off with Mexican coca-cola. Garnish with grated lime and nutmeg.

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