Meet Your Mixologist: Barceloneta's Martin Calero
Barceloneta, a three-month-old Spanish tapas bar and bistro, is introducing its patrons to one of the newest trends in Spain's cocktail culture, the gin and tonic. Utilizing gins with particularly aromatic and complex botanicals, mixologist Martin Calero works closely with the restaurant's chef to pair these gins with fresh fruits, juices, and herbs to bring out the flavor.
For instance, Citadelle, a gin from France with 19 botanicals, is mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and nutmeg, and 50 Pounds gin with 11 botanicals from the UK is paired with fresh pineapple and star anise. One particular gin, Ransom Old Tom from Oregon with two grains and six botanicals is actually a golden color with an oaky finish, and pairs better with ginger ale, basil, and a twist, thus dubbed Not A Gin Tonic on the menu.
The key to crafting an excellent gin and tonic? "Nothing's shaken. Everything's stirred," says Calero.
Originally from Uruguay, Calero cut his teeth in mixology across Europe, Ibiza, and the UK where he managed bars and restaurants. He spent four years as bar manager and assistant general manager at England's popular Living Room before returning to Uruguay for five years. He landed in Miami six months ago to head the cocktail program at Barceloneta.
Gin and tonics aside, Barceloneta has an extensive cocktail list influenced by authentic Spanish recipes with a modern twist. For instance, the classic Spanish cocktail Calimocho, a mixture of red wine and Coca-Cola (from small glass bottles) is reinvented with the addition of Creme de Mure. Limoncello is made with Wodka, a Polish rye vodka, Fever Tree ginger ale, limes, fresh lemongrass, and fresh ginger. For brunch, Calero's riff on the Mimosa is the Valenciana, named for a region of Spain ripe with orange trees, and made with cava and fresh citrus juices.
Behind the bar, it's always fresh juices, herbs, and spices, and a constantly changing shelf of unique spirits. "We're not married to any one brand," says Calero. Amongst the little known spirits on hand are Dos Maderas 5 + 5 double aged rum, Cardenal Mendoza brandy, and Lustau East India Solera Sherry.
For a taste of Spain and Barceloneta in your own home, try your hand at their La Romera martini.