Discover how Nicholas Ruiz examines the relationship between mind and matter through bartending
A little background; where are you from, what inspired you to become a mixologist?
I am from Pelham Bay in the Bronx, New York. My inspiration for any work I’ve done has always been to make people happy. Bartending is the perfect balance of physical and mental stimulation that I always wanted in a profession.
Blanco? Reposado? Or Añejo?
Blanco for its versatility.
What inspires you for new cocktail creations? (examples: following trends, learning of new ingredients you want to try, reimagining classics, seasonal change….etc.)
Creating new drinks to me is a fun balancing act. Food for sure inspires my creative process. I love finding a flavor and figuring out how to make it approachable for not only the cocktail enthusiast but for the casual drinker as well.
What’s your favorite theme song behind the bar?
I haven’t had too much experience of working in bars where I control the music for myself. However my favorite set up song is The Space Jam theme and breakdown song is Careless Whisper by George Michael.
Do you have a mentor or someone who you look up to or people to thank?
I thank everyone on my staff at Patent Pending for making it what it has become today.
What was your first experience with tequila?
Tequila was consumed in my house pretty regularly growing up. Thankfully, my parents drank well-made tequila so my first experience was a great starting point.
What does the concept of Hiatus mean to you?
The concept of Hiatus means a quality break to me.
Did you discover anything new or unique while working on the Fall Hiatus cocktails?
I discover something new with each menu I work on. For the Fall Hiatus menu Kitty and I were able to come up with some great user-friendly tinctures and infusion that I am very proud of!
Speaking on the collaboration between you and Kitty Bernardo, how do you create cocktails together?
I feel like we have a similar approach in that we look for what’s going on in the flavor profiles of our spirits and try to accentuate and emphasize specific tasting notes when we make something. We also have very similar palates so we’re both able to pick up on the same or similar notes that we want to highlight, but because of our different backgrounds in bartending, we’re able to approach that process from different perspectives. Ultimately, with mutual respect, we’re able to come together to make something that’s truly the best drink we can make without letting our egos get in the way.
Can you describe the creative process working together on developing a cocktail?
Honestly, we come up with ideas and bounce them off of each other, agree to whatever sounds like the most interesting project to take on and workshop it from there. The brainstorming process is pretty quick because again, our palates run on a similar wavelength, but once we get started on R&D, that’s when we can start teasing out the details of how technical or involved the cocktails will be. Sometimes a simple approach is best and other times, it takes a little longer time to tease out the exact balance, flavor, and body we want. But overall, working together is pretty easy because we trust each other and work in tune together.
Don’t forget to follow Nicholas Ruiz on Instagram @nicholasleeruiz and click HERE to check out some of his cocktail creations for our fall cocktail program. Enjoy responsibly.