Over the Bar

Back Bar USA's Weekly Newsletter

Mixologist of the Week: Joymar Figueroa
January 10th, 2019

Where do you currently work?
I currently work at Herbs & Rye, where I’ve been a bartender since July 2018.

How did you get your start as a bartender? 
My cousins used to run a bar in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and they took me under their wing to teach me the basics. I worked for the Ritz in Puerto Rico and Miami, Norwegian Cruises in Hawaii and properties in Las Vegas such as The Cosmopolitan and The Venetian. I am now for the first time being exposed to classic cocktails and I love it. Each venue and team has taught me something and shaped me into the bartender I am today.

Can you tell us about the vibe at your bar? 
The vibe at Herbs & Rye is relaxed; it’s a family-run restaurant that is 100 percent focused on hospitality. It is favored by locals and embraced by most industry professionals in our city. It’s also known as “The Clubhouse.”

What cocktail that you’ve presented or made is your pride and joy? 
I love making coquito during the holidays. It’s a traditional coconut- and rum-based creamy cocktail from Puerto Rico that is comparable to egg nog. It’s perfect for every holiday party and to give away in small bottles to friends and family. The recipe varies depending on families and regions, but the one thing that everyone agrees on is that has to be made with Don Q Rum.

Is there a classic cocktail that you like to modify to your own liking? 
Yes, I enjoy playing with daiquiris. The simplicity and beauty of a well-executed daiquiri is my favorite. My go-to is a Don Q Coco Daiquiri with one muddled fresh strawberry. I called it Bella Ragazza and you can still find this cocktail if you visit the bar at Buddy V’s Ristorante. It’s simply delicious! Tell them I sent you!

What are your favorite flavors to work with?
Being from a tropical island, I naturally tend towards Caribbean fruits, spirits, and remedies: rum, coconuts, coffee, malta, orange blossoms, starfruit, etc.—everything that reminds me of my childhood or that honors my past.