The award winning executive mixologist Héktør Monroy
He is known for his innovative and creative cocktails filled with Latin passion and soul. The award winning executive mixologist Héktør Monroy, born in México and raised in Spain, has for the last four years taken Shanghai by storm making the biggest Latin bar in Asia, Unico by Mauro Colagreco, the best bar in Shanghai for three consecutive years. With the heat of summer hitting, Héktør shares with us his inspirations, summer favorites and signature summer cocktails to cool us down, or heat us up?
How did you get into mixology?
I like to try different flavors of food and drinks. Soon after I started helping a friend in a bar I had many questions, like who chose the barrel to age the rum and why that specific one? Why is there a special treatment of the sugar canes? Why did that barman make a drink without explaining why? The answer was simply because it tastes good, I thought there had to be more reasons so I started looking for the answers.
What made you make a career out of bartending and mixology?
I think drinks and food is part of the everyday of everyone, I like and I enjoy it. In the beginning all my friends thought I was crazy, “that’s not a career blabla”. But now things have changed, I can say I’m still happy, but I’m not sure if my friends (lawyers, doctors, etc.) are still happy...
What spirits do you enjoy working with the most?
Organic Tequila and Speyside/Jura Whisky
What characterizes your cocktails?
Normally I play with only one spirit, and then I start to match it with other tasting notes, and try to find out my own pairing cocktail-spirit.
What inspires you?
Effort + Challenge = Success, learning this from other people also how to create a cocktail from scratch, balance shapes, colors, textures and flavors, how to combine art/music to my job, and how to learn from them.
What’s your signature cocktail?
A cocktail I have been making for almost 8 years and the people are still interested it in: Aphrodisiac Margarita (organic tequila, orange infusion, passion fruit, Himalayan rose salt, burnt cinnamon stick). I’m so proud that it’s one of the best sellers in Unico!
What is the most difficult part with your job?
The time. In order to make things happen I need to spend so much time in the venue or bar, making it difficult to find time for anything else.
What is the best thing about your job?
The recognition of the people. I like to make people happy.
How did you end up in China?
I won the biggest tournament in Madrid, and started to get offers everywhere. I chose Shanghai because it was during The Expo times, so everything was about Shanghai. I wanted to be there and with out planning I met Eduardo Vargas (a celebrity Chef), thanks to him I’m here...
Why do you think your cocktails have become so successful?
I don’t think it’s my cocktails, I think it’s the full experience. You can have a great cocktail but if the service and ambience is terrible the only thing you want is to leave. We did great teamwork in Unico were we tried to create an ambience based on a good balance of perfect drinks, food and music.
What’s the best thing about summer in your opinion?
That the people are happier than in winter!
Can you share with us a recipe for one of your signature summer cocktails?
Cleriquot; There’s many versions of this drink, and I love almost all of them because it’s very fresh and low on alcohol, but here is my favorite way to make it:
4,5cl Antica Formula (Red vermouth)
1cl Sugar reduction
4,5cl Voss Sparkling Water
9cl Fresh Grape fruit juice
1 Mint flower
Serve the Vermouth with the three grapefruit triangles, slice of cucumber, and sugar reduction in a Burgundy glass. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then add big ice cubes to the top, add the juice and continue stirring, and pour the Voss water (take care of the bubbles) without stirring. Finish with a mint flower on the top.
What would be your favorite sentence that you would END with; "And...That´s it!"?
An easy way to learn is to taste different things. And...That's it!
Héktør's renown cocktails can be found and enjoyed in the lounge and in El Lab at Unico by Mauro Colagreco, Three on the Bund, 2/F, No. 2 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai (Crossing Guang Dong Road). And...That's it!