The Curious Eleven with Gregory Rodriguez

The Curious Eleven with Gregory Rodriguez

Mezcal lover, Piña Colada Enthusiast, Bachata, and Reggaeton music lover, it’s no wonder Gregory Rodriguez shares a love for bartending, but how exactly did he find himself behind the bar?

With a decade of hospitality under his belt and having lived in two of the hottest vacation spots in the world (Miami and Vegas), Gregory is no stranger to the bar scene. We caught up with him at Oak & Ivy: An American Whiskey Bar with an extensive Seasonal Cocktail Program, located in Downtown Las intimate bar setting with a comfortable fun vibe.

Gregory Rodriguez

When did that Eureka moment happen when you realized your mission is to be a bartender?

The first time I made an Old-Fashioned, I was incredibly inexperienced and made a shift drink for one of my co-workers, she loved it and it gave me the confidence to be a bartender.

What are the TOP 5 skills every bartender should have?

1. Patience: Be understanding and helpful with your guest.
2. Ambidexterity: Helps when busy, you can double the amount of drinks you can make.
3. Curiosity: Keeps your creativity sharp.
4. Public Speaking: This is your bar and you dictate the experience.
5. Arithmetics: Be proficient in simple math, it will get you places.

Which cocktail is the biggest pain in the ass to make, pardon our French?

Ramos Gin Fizz, even then it's a pain in the ass that I can endure. I love making Ramos Gin Fizz, it's just not conducive to my sanity on a busy weekend.

Pornstar Martinis are underrated, it's a perfect modern cocktail.

And which cocktail is served in your version of heaven?

Missionary's Downfall, it is my favorite vintage tiki drink and I can drink them happily curious about heaven.

Which drink or cocktail would you say is way underrated? (And a tricky followup: Which one is the most overrated?)

Mimosas is the most overrated, OJ is kind of gross in cocktails, and it's a terrible way of ruining good quality sparkling Wine. Pornstar Martinis are Underrated, it's a perfect modern cocktail and I don't see it at enough Cocktail Bars, Lounges, and Clubs.

You come home, slide into something comfortable, and throw yourself on the couch. What's in your glass?

I just got a bottle of Whistlepig Homestock Rye Whiskey and it reminds me of the Whistlepig Homestead in Shoreham, Vermont. A glass of pure joy.

Gregory Rodriguez, Bartender

What are the five essential ingredients every booze lover should have in their home bar?

Angostura Bitters, fresh citrus, a supple amount of ice, Vermouths, and some form of bubbles.

Which booze is the most versatile?

Gin is the king of cocktail Spirits.

Is there a favorite life hack you learned at your job?

Yes, I can open a bottle of Beer with almost anything.

I love making Ramos Gin Fizz, it's just not conducive to my sanity on a busy weekend.

What's the craziest anecdote you're willing to share with us?

My Go-To Karaoke song is Gravity by John Mayer.

What are your passions outside the world of Spirits?

I've been passionate about cycling recently, riding my bike for fitness, and as a form of meditation.

What would you be doing if you weren't a bartender?

Someone that gets paid to go eat and drink.

Oak & Ivy

Tell us what's your favorite tool of the trade and why.

Antique Style Hawthorne Strainers, they are the most versatile hawthorn strainer you can use.

I can open a bottle of Beer with almost anything.

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself?

Traveling around the world before my time is up.

A Genie tells you to pick someone to fix a drink for; dead or alive, real or fictional. Who would it be?

Hunter S. Thompson, enough said.

We give our featured bartenders the option to highlight a cause that needs support in these tough times and Gregory chose the Kiah Traverso Memorial Fund. You can help out by following this link. You can also keep up with Gregory on Instagram, and while you’re scrolling, check out Oak & Ivy’s page.

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