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THE CULTURE OF COCKTAILS IN LIMA, PERU.
The paths of life sometimes create a synergy in life in a magic and substantial way. Hence our luck to cross
paths with Jesús Giménez [@frangotiki ], a top bartender residing in Lima, Peru and a devotee of Tiki cocktail
making. He has history, charisma, power and a voice within the world of cocktail making.
He marks the starting point for the research that we are carrying out into the world of flavours used in
bartending around the world.
In short…it was really interesting to talk to Jesús about his opinion and vision of the sector. Enjoy the
interview, just as we did. Thanks Jesús!
The vital point of everything, finding out how Jesús got started in cocktail making…
- I began studying classical cocktail making and flair at the ANBV academy in Caracas-Venezuela at
the end of 2015. In 2016, already established in Lima – Peru, I continued to study molecular cocktail
making, bar management, flair, tiki cocktail making, among other things.
What made you an addict of this world. Let´s see if you remember any specific moments with special
- I think that one person had a big influence, Carlos Rivero, known as tikiman . When I undertook the
course in tiki cocktail making I was enveloped by the mystic way in which he explained the amazing
history behind this cocktail making. It aroused my curiosity and desire to find out more, also my love
and taste for good rum coincided. Therefore, I decided to especially devote myself to this type of
How could we forget your first cocktail…
My first cocktail was “Elegance”. I remember that it brought me a lot of joy as it helped me to win a
flair championship in 2015, where to my surprise the jury also took the level of cocktail making into account.
Where do new trends come from and where do they aim to go?
- I once read a statement published by the great Patxi Troitiño who has also been a source of
inspiration for me. He said “In order to innovate, it is necessary to return to our roots”. That stuck in
my mind and I can now saw that whenever I go to a city or town in any country that has a good bar, I
see that they take note of the flavours, aromas and ingredients that their forebears used before
which had been forgotten. At present they are rediscovering them, with a modern technique. This
has been happening for hundreds of years. Clear examples: The Mojito, Old Fashioned, Pi Yi, Mai
Tai and many others.
Let´s find out what consumers like in the city you reside in, Lima, Peru.
- Lima is a city that receives a large number of tourists on a daily basis and most want to try the
flagship cocktail; “Pisco Sour” or straight Pisco. Locals tend to be very nationalistic and really support
the consumption of pisco, local bars have been able to interpret this and have incorporated pisco into
most of the cocktails on their menus.
If I had to define the taste in general of consumers, I would say that it is: strong, fruity, sweet and
citric, very similar to a punch.
… And do they prefer straight drinks or cocktails?
- They generally add mixers, apart from in the case of pisco. It is important to highlight the
momentum that other spirits are gaining in local cocktail making, for example Rum, as a result of big
international tiki cocktail making events, such as the Kon tiki Lima tiki fest , Rum has acquired a major
position within the Peruvian market, so much so that there are now tiki bars in the heart of the city
where it is possible to find more than 190 types of rum from all over the world and people specifically
go to those bars to taste rums. In short, for me it depends on the public and the spirit.
What is your favourite type of cocktail making…
- Definitely tiki cocktail making, because of all of its history, how it emerged, its secrets, the
Caribbean, rum, the colours. All of this means that each time that I am going to create a cocktail I go
to another place, a paradisiac island perhaps that makes me want to transmit all the good vibes
through a cocktail and a smile.
What is your way of pairing cocktail making and gastronomy…
- Playing a lot with citric fruits, investigating. Sometimes, what is classic or what we are used to do
not work very well with everything and I try to find “friendly” citric flavours so to speak, in other fruits
aside from lemon, or orange. An example of this could be rough lemon from the rainforest, Cocona,
Camu Camu, etc.
What is the flagship cocktail in your country…
- It is currently the Pisco Sour , and I really doubt that it will go out of fashion as it is the flagship
cocktail and is consumed a lot by tourists and locals, one of the things that really help it to keep the
top spot is the immense variety of pisco in the country, and it is also macerated with coca leaf,
cocoa, chilli, Andean mint and lots more solids.
Looking to the short-term future, what plans does Jesús have for 2020?
- Being able to explore all of the Amazon. I am currently part of a small group of bartenders and chefs
that is devoted to travelling around all of the Peruvian rainforest in search of products and techniques
that are “hidden” in the small tribes that inhabit the rainforest. We have found an immense amount of
unique products that work marvellously in gastronomy (suri grubs, black ants, jungle culantro, rough
lemon, agree lemon, cassava, poisonous cassava). The latter is poisonous due to the amount of
starch it contains but via a scraping, straining and fermenting process, the natives separate the
starch and we use the rest for cocktail making. As well as this there are a large amount of other
products that can be used in cocktail making, this was only in the Peruvian rainforest, imagine what
can be found in the marvellous Amazon in its entirety…
A benchmark that has marked you within this world.
- Donn Beach, born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt.
The ingenuity and the creativity that he had to associate the island customs of consuming Rum and
creating a totally new concept was incredible, we can attest to that at present due to the legacy that
he has left those who love tiki.
The advice of those who are able to listen is wise. What advice would you give other bartenders?
- Always be clear that “My competence is MYSELF“;, sometimes we stray from the path by trying to
replicate or improve what other people do, find your own path and be the best at you do by always
being willing because being willing is worth more than being capable. There is no point being
capable of doing something if you are not willing to do it.
Any thoughts to add in relation to the cocktail making in your city/country:
- The day that we all think beyond merely mixing products, the quality of cocktails will change for the
better. It is necessary to ask yourself where each ingredient comes from, what properties it has, how
the farmer lives. In short, the essence of what is behind it. All of these factors make history. That is
truly how an experience is served up in a glass.
Curiosity also feeds. We can´t finish without finding out about Jesús…
- Favourite glassware: Coupe Glass
- An essential in your bar: Overproof
- Stirred or shaken: shaken
- Your key spirit: Rum
- Sweet or Sour: citric
- A citrus fruit: rough lemon
But…it doesn´t all end here. Discover “Roraima” , this cocktail lives in a natural cocoa bean…
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