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Interviews in the heart of the hotel #10: Meet Javier Luna, Head Bartender

You know them, him and all his team. They are the best allies of a perfect evening after having dinner at one of our restaurants. Who are we talking about? The Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort bartenders team, of course! Today, we will get to know Javier Luna, Head of Bartenders, who will tell us which of his team’s cocktails are the most popular among our guests.

And just hearing about the mouth-watering recipes he explains us, we have also taken a new resolution for 2018: over the coming weeks, we will publish videos of the recipes of these cocktails, so that you can prepare them at home!

PRINCESA YAIZA: Hello, Javier! We have a first question for you: who is Javier Luna, how long have been working in the cocktail bartending world?

JL: I am from Cordoba, and I started to work as a cocktail bartender in 2006, here, in Lanzarote. From the beginning, I have just loved working in this world. I worked in different companies, and then I came back to Cordoba during 5 years to keep learning in the Cordoba Hospitality School. I came back to Lanzarote, and now I have been working for one year in this hotel.

PRINCESA YAIZA: Which cocktails are the most popular ones in the hotel bars?

JL: For the Valentine’s Day, which is coming now, we have the “Love”, a cocktail that we started to offer to our guests last year, and which was very popular. It has Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, fresh and canned raspberries, strawberry sirup, and a hint of pomegranate. We don’t add any type of sweetener. When we started to offer it, last year, we had to prepare more than 200 during the Saint Valentine’s week.

So, considering the success it got last year, we will offer it again this year, with an original presentation – the visual impact is as important as the cocktail in itself.

The “Bramble” is another cocktail which is being very popular among our guests. The Bramble is cocktail with gin, lemon, some sugar sirup and blackberry liquor. In our case, we have replaced the blackberry liquor by mashed red fruits, to give it a sweeter taste which gets alongs perfectly with the citrus flavour of the lemon. It is very popular in summer, because of its fresh taste.

The “Old Fashion” is the cocktail par excellence, a classic cocktail which is always popular. It’s a strong cocktail, but it’s delicious if it is well prepared. It has angostura, orange zest and bourbon, and a lot of ice. There are many variations, for example with rum or brandy, but as far as I am concerned, the original version is my favourite one.

Another very popular cocktail right now is the “Espresso Martini, which has vodka, coffee and Kahlua, with some sugar. The presentation of this cocktail is very nice: it is served in a small wine glass, and by blending it into the shaker, the cocktail forms a cream that remains on top of the cocktail.

It’s a good after-dinner liqueur, and it’s stimulating. The story tells that it was created by the bartender Dick Bradsell for the model Kate Moss. She entered his bar, and asked him for something that would stimulate her, and this is how the Espresso Martini was born!

We obviously also prepare other great classic cocktails, such as the Pisco Sour, one of the latest news of our carte.

Today, the bartending world tends to look for novelties more and more complicated. But I think that simplicity is the key: I believe that it is more important to know how to prepare well the classic cocktails, and to give them an original presentation, or a different touch. For example, we offer a variation of the Piña Colada, by preparing it with white chocolate. We prepare classic cocktails, but give them a different touch, and our guests enjoy it.

PRINCESA YAIZA: How many people do you manage?

JL: I have a team of about 23 to 25 people, depending on the season of the year. And I must say that I have a fantastic team, they are all very united, and very good. We have a great working atmosphere.
They work between the different fixed bars we have – the lobby bar, the Papaya, or the bar at the Isla de Lobos restaurant – and the bars we have for special events: for example, we make a special bar at the Uga farm to offer a cocktail to our guests after the visit of the farm during the KM0 experience, each last Saturday of the month. The cocktail is made exclusively with fruit collected at the farm. For this reason, it is different every month, depending on the mature fruit available on the day of the KM0.

We also propose special bars which are only available at some times of the year: for example, during the Season’s holidays, we open the Winter Terrace. We also do Master Classes several times a year. And we have several pending projects of other special bars.

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