David Ríos: «It is useless to have the best cocktail in the world, if it is not served with a smile»

David Ríos, the only Spanish winner of the World Class Competition worldwide, has become an international figure in liquid gastronomy.

David Ríos: «It is useless to have the best cocktail in the world, if it is not served with a smile»

David Ríos, the only Spanish winner of the World Class Competition worldwide, has become an international figure in liquid gastronomy. After traveling around the world tasting cocktails and evaluating professionals and promises, the mixology expert is proud of the national level and the increased recognition of this art within gastronomy.

At what point is the world of cocktails in Spain?

In the last thirteen years, the liquid level evolution in our country has been incredible. We make a world top cocktail bar, without going any further we have Paradiso in third place in the world, Salmon Guru is also among the best, and there are a lot of places that are already positioning themselves.

All this leads many people from abroad to want to come to Spain to see what is happening in our cities.

As an expert and jury in numerous competitions, what are the parameters that you handle to evaluate a 'barman'?

I'm not looking for the best cocktail, but the best 'bartender', the person who controls all the parameters of a service: from hospitality, cleanliness, order, 'storytelling', knowledge of the product and brands, the sale of the cocktail, and of course that the drink is balanced, that it has flavor and texture.

The attitude of the mixologist, is it a fundamental part of the job?

It is unimaginable to serve a cocktail without a smile, go to a restaurant and not receive a "hello, good morning", or that the bar is dirty. It is all very well to think of a "super cocktail", but before that there must be a "super hospitality".

What is the most important?

The person who serves the drink. There is no point in having the best cocktail in the world if there is no smile in front of you when you say “here you are, enjoy, I hope you like it”. There are many songs and millions of stories that have emerged in bars, you can even find love, and many times a 'barman' has been able to be the common thread for that to happen.

So the experience starts from the first minute?

It's all part of the experience. If I give the recipe for a cocktail to someone who is not a professional, they can do it perfectly. You have to value much more than that: that there is a rationale for why you use one ingredient and not another, aromas, textures, balances and flavors.

How did you see the level in the national final of World Class as a jury?

Very well. The gastronomy is surpassed, also in the liquid part. Every year there is more height, more techniques and more surprises. I am very happy to see that the evolution from ten years ago to now is so great.

How was the pandemic experienced in the sector?

It has been terrible for everyone to teach online. In my case, they told me that I had more than 400 people in my course, but I thought «very good, but I don't see them» (laughs). It is not the same to make a lemon 'twist' at home. If you are in the other part of the world you don't smell it, you don't see the color. It is a matter of experiences.

Last year the competition was online due to the Covid-19, how was the reunion experienced?

It's like a dream to be all together again. On an international level I have met again people whom I had not seen for three years. We have hugged each other again and we have been able to enjoy, always with responsible consumption, something very important that I want to convey. It is a wonder that this type of event can be organized again and that there are guests watching it.

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