What do you like to drink after a shift? “A Daiquiri. So refreshing and perfect for all occasions.”
After all these years bartending and creating drinks, do you still enjoy going out to bars? “Absolutely. It’s part of our job. We are always learning and need to know what is new in other venues.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “A Cuban Manhattan. At that time I was only drinking beer and rum neat, but in Havana, in 1983, during a visit to the L’Elengant bar in the Hotel Riviera, I was introduced to this wonderful cocktail.”
What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? “A Negroni and spaghetti al pomodoro.”
What drink are you most proud of creating? “The Buenavista (Bombay Sapphire Gin, cucumber, mint, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, sugar.)”
Is there one person (dead or alive) you’d like to make a cocktail for? “My Dad. He loved Rum Highballs and my Daiquiris. I enjoyed listening to his stories while he was drinking them.”
What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “Tequila blanco and Modelo Especial.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “One or two good Cuban cigars (Partagás or Cohiba, preferably).”
Julio Cabrera is the maestro cantinero (head bartender) and co-owner of Café La Trova in Miami’s Little Havana.
Interview has been condensed and edited.