CPBA Bartender of the Month: João Machado

CPBA Bartender of the Month: João Machado
March 1, 2016 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

Making the world a better place with a bar spoon in my hand.

How did you get into bartending? What was the inspiration for your career route?

The real art is Hospitality. Perhaps the main reason for my start in this area has been the interest in the instant relationship between guest and host. Though I never aspired to be a bartender, I started because I was 16 and needed to make money. My biggest dream has always been to travel and meet new people, and a bartender can do that because it’s a universal job.

Is it barrels, carbonation or cocktails on tap? What’s the latest trend you see in bartending?

People started to question things like they question food — where does this come from, how is it made? People care so much more about what they’re drinking, and I can tell it’s a huge change.

Vermouth, Sherry, Brandy, Mezcal, Cognac, Eau de Vie, Frozen and Draft cocktails, Low calorie cocktails. It’s going to be a beautiful year!

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

I just love tasting a lot of different things. I think it’s because of the travel. When you start off trying new things you have boundaries and are inclined to say no. A lot of that is cultural, but eventually you lose your fear and want to try everything. I’ve eaten insects from Mexico, puffer fish from Japan, alcohol infused with all sorts of weird things. It just seems normal now. The challenge is how I can incorporate this flavor or this feeling in a glass.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

Lately, agave has been my major focus, and I’m seeing new mezcals come to market. It’s booming. Some are being produced sustainably and others are not. But when I see mezcal on a back bar, I want to check it out.

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

I don’t believe I have a cocktail style, I guide myself with these three basic questions: how can I make this special? What can I add to this? How can I make this different? And it’s about having that attitude: never thinking about what you’ve done yesterday. You need to understand the past, but look to the future. And realizing it’s not only about the drink, it’s about everything else. Anyone can provide great service, but it’s all about how you make people feel.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

Organizing James Franco and Sandra Oh’s Cocktail Party for TIFF at Templar Hotel ( Toronto).

What’s the next step for you when it comes to tending bar?

Good question, the possibilities are endless, it is what you make of it. In the future, maybe going back to Toronto or trying out another city. For now, the next step is creating more cocktails and keeping up with season.

What’s your go to drink to drink?

I prefer to taste, than drink – I like the flavours. However, I do confess that I drink abnormal amounts of Campari.

Fernet, Mezcal or Chartreuse?

Well, you make sweet love with Chartreuse, sex with Fernet and you kiss Mezcal, don’t make me pick!


Brought to you each month by our friends: