Sanz Cocktails ·

The passion displayed for Agave spirits in Mexico is something that we find really striking.

It is a real pleasure for us to talk to a star bartender, who loves his country, loves his profession, loves what his land provides and who has found a way to express all of that through cocktail making Arturo Ochoa Yépiz [@arthur_8a].



Let´s find out about how Arturo´s got started…

  • The atmosphere in a bar enticed my curiosity to discover more about spirits, the stories behind every classic cocktail, and find out the ingredients and their extraction methods.


What made you remain in the sector?

  • The fact of knowing that a craft was being recognised as a profession made me question what the limits were for doing something out of passion. That was how I was encouraged to participate in my first competition after a basic cocktail making course. It showed me the vast world still to be explored.


The first is never forgotten.

  • “Calenda” was my 1st signature cocktail. In it, I highlighted the taste of my land, Chihuahua, a land that tastes of affection, a land that tastes of Sotol. I accompanied it with rosso vermouth, Aperol and grapefruit juice.


Let´s talk about trends, where are we heading?

  • It is clear that, worldwide, society is becoming more aware about issues such as environmental impact and what is healthy, therefore cocktail making reflects sustainability initiatives at the bar, a low alcohol content and probiotics.


What do people consume in Chihuahua?

  • The region is characterised by its extreme climate, therefore drinks with seasonal fruits that are very refreshing are appreciated a lot. As well as drinks that give a feeling of warmth to counter the winter. And we shouldn´t forget about drinks that generate nostalgia, emotion through an experience that is well communicated.


Savoury, sweet, acidic or bitter?

  • The Mexican profile is characterised by fruity drinks, some of which are acidic, like the Margarita of course, and its variants. It has not been easy to position bitters but interest has been shown in understanding that flavour.


Straight drinks or cocktails?

  • The spirits that have cultural standing and national pride such as Tequila and Mezcal are often drunk straight in many cases, but others such as bourbon and whisky, are normally drunk with mixers such as carbonated mineral water.


What is your favourite type of cocktail making…?

  • Based on the fact that I am a part of the profession, it has gradually changed. To begin with, short drinks like a good Old Fashioned where the flavour evolves, and subsequently I have assimilated long drinks such as Gin & Tonic, refreshing drinks that allow me to share the experience with more clients.


How do you go about things in terms of pairing drinks with food?

  • I try to lower the alcohol content if the dish is the star of the show, when accompanying the cocktail with tapas, I seek to complement the experience of the cocktail with secondary notes in the tapas.


What is the flagship cocktail in your country?

  • All those that highlight the flavours of the Maguey plan, as well as ingredients of a high gastronomic and cultural value (Mamey, Tuna fruit, Chile in all of their variants, Vanilla, Mango, among others).


What lies ahead for you in 2020? 

  • Greater knowledge about pre-Columbian gastronomy, in order to express it in a way that is really respectful towards Mexican traditions.


A major influence for Arturo.

  • I like to be open to knowledge, each school has contributed elements that add value to my work on a daily basis, to mention some, I could start with the classics that have been revamped by Dale Degroff, the scientific basis with Dave Arnold, to David Kaplan who shares methodology about creative development at his bar “Death & Co.”


The advice of those who are able to listen is wise. What advice would you give other bartenders?

  • Humility above all else, patience in order to assimilate every new experience, respect for those who have paved the way and recognition for those who have allowed us to climb onto their shoulders to have a view of the experiences that are worth sharing.


Any thoughts to add in relation to the cocktail making in your city/country:

  • We have to value the community we belong to, represent it with dignity through effort and knowledge, but above all, based on good foundations in order not to belittle what bar work and team work are about.


At our time of curiosity, Arturo prefers:

  • Favourite glassware; Coupe
  • An essential in your bar: A smile
  • Stirred or shaken: the elegance of a shaken drink.
  • Your key spirit: the extensive and warm family of mezcal
  • Sweet or Sour: Citric
  • A citrus fruit: green Mexican lemon

Aurora Lorente interview [@agenthink.socialmedia] for Jarabes Sanz.

-Photos by Chivas Masters 2018.

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