CPBA Bartender of the Month: Matthew Benevoli

CPBA Bartender of the Month: Matthew Benevoli
December 1, 2016 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

I manage the bar and sling drinks with a smile @Nomad_Vancouver #BennySwipes

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

Ever since I was a kid I loved mixing juices, pops and koolaids. When I got older I started mixing coolers and ciders and I enjoyed taking them and making something new. I’ve always been a creative person and I’ve always loved being a host. Bartending allows me to incorporate both those things. No matter what I’ve done outside of bartending I’ve always gravitated back to it. It’s my true passion in life.

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

Honestly I think barrels, carbonation and cocktails on tap have all had a spike in popularity, but we’re moving past that now. If I had to choose I would say carbonation. Moving forward I think working with chefs and drawing inspiration from kitchen flavors to help tie flavors together more with food pairings, or mimic those flavors will be the next step in where we’re moving to evolve the craft of bartending.

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

I truly think the best part of what I get to do is seeing the look on a guest’s face when I get to create a drink specially for them, and it hits all the flavors they wanted it to.

The most challenging part for me is making it look like I’m composed and having fun when I’m in the weeds and have about 10 different things on my mind that I need to do. I don’t want to look stressed to my guests.

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

Gin. It’s versatile. Has so many flavors and aromatics. Some can be sweet, some can be dry, some can be savory, it lends to so many vast styles of cocktails, classic and contemporary.

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

Yes. Dealer’s choice bartending. It’s on our menu on the first page, and it speaks to everything I’ve always felt cocktails are about. Creating the perfect, customized cocktail that’s as unique as the guest I’m making it for.

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

On vacation in Cuba, I was thinking a Manhattan would pair perfectly with the cigar I was smoking. The bartenders at our resort hadn’t heard of a Manhattan before, so I threw on an apron, jumped behind the bar and taught them how to make one. The bartenders loved it and soon the majority of the guests in the lounge had a Manhattan in their hand. The next day we were leaving and I saw guests drinking Manhattans in the lounge in the middle of the day. It was such an awesome moment to see the bartenders loved it so much it had carried over from the night before.

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

I think I’m taking the next step right now with my recent promotion to bar manager at Nomad. It’s a bit of an adjustment but I’m so excited to be taking this step. Beyond that, I would love to own my own speak easy style bar one day, but that’s probably quite a few years down the road.

Who’s bar are you most likely to be found at, and what are you drinking there?

Butcher & Bullock, with a Guinness in one hand and a Negroni in the other. A drink in each hand is a well balanced diet.

What’s your go to drink to mix?

A Negroni.

Fernet, Mezcal or Chartreuse?

Definitely Mezcal. I love the rich, smoky body most of them carry. It adds so much complexity to cocktails.


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