Ever since The Kimpton Seafire opened in late 2016, it has consistently strived to redefine expectations when it comes to hospitality, cuisine and cocktails. That makes Juan Manuel Martinez the perfect fit for the resort, a maestro in charge of Ave Bar, putting his magic in the menu.
Juan was born in Madrid, Spain, and has worked as a bartender for over 20 years. Before he moved to the Cayman Islands in 2014, he held positions at a number of bars in his home city. One of most recognizable is Le Cabrera, on Calle Bárbara de Braganza. Listed on worldsbestbars.com and hailed by Condé Nast Traveller as “a revelation,” Le Cabrera is quite the pedigree to have on one’s resume.
Although Juan started at the Avecita Bar, John Stanton, Beverage Manager soon realized that he would be better served where he could reach more people – hence the move to Ave Bar this year. “Juan is a dreamer with amazing artistic vision,” says John. “He is now overseeing the creative direction of Ave Bar, making his concoctions come to life.”
Both John and Juan speak of taking cocktails to the next level by creating impressive presentations and even bringing the kitchen into the mix. You might call it a blend of culinary and cocktail cultures.
Juan certainly seems equal to the task, surrounded by beakers and glass instruments straight out of a Harry Potter story. The man is on a mission.
Speaking of missions, it is worth noting that the Kimpton is moving in the direction of using paper straws. A dazzling array of colored cylindrical conveyances sit atop the bar, encouraging patrons to move away from plastics. What a great idea!
- 2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
- 1/4 oz Pine cone bud extract
- 1/4 oz Oloroso Sherry
- 1/4 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
- 2 dashes citrus bitters
Stir ingredients together, strain, serve in rocks glass coated with Valrhona chocolate. Garnish with dehydrated Valencia orange wheel and white chocolate disks.
The cocktail is a distant relative of the Old Fashioned – probably the most venerable of all classics. It is a distinctively modern take, however, with the culinary team working in concert with Juan, the cocktail guru.