Meet Your Mixologist: Bayardo De Murguia of Wood and Vine

By Kirk Pynchon

Wood and Vine in Hollywood has the distinction of being located in the historic Taft Building, the place where the great Charlie Chaplin had his first office. It also has the distinction of having a great mixologist in Bayardo De Muraguia, who has been with Wood and Vine for almost two years and now serves as their bar manager. I spoke with De Muraguia about many things, including his love of brown spirits, his golden rule of bartending and how parsnips (what the?) can be used in a drink.

First bartending gig?

Bayardo De Murguia: I got my start at The W in San Diego about nine years ago. I started as a busboy, moved on to barback and then once I turned 21 I became a bartender.

Do you think of yourself as a “bartender” or a “mixologist”?
I am a bartender because above all I just like to serve drinks and serve people.

What ingredients do you like to play with?
We are a farm to table restaurant so I like to use fruits and vegetables I have never used before. A few days ago our chef gave me some parsnips and I’ve been playing around with them, maybe as a gin drink with an absinthe rim.

Favorite place to hang?

The Roger Room, Pour Vous, Harvard & Stone and The Eveleigh.

Favorite new school cocktail?
I am always wowed by molecular mixology — anything with foam or frozen with nitrogen. It’s not something I’ve delved into yet, but I think it is really fun.

Favorite old school cocktail?
You can never go wrong with a good Old Fashioned but I also really enjoy Negronis as well as A Boulavardier, which is a Negroni substituting bourbon for gin.

Who are some of your favorite L.A. bartenders?

Damian Windsor and Jason Bran at The Roger Room because no matter how busy they are they always makes time for you.

What is your favorite spirit?
Whiskey, especially Amercian ones. It took me awhile to get my palette for it — when I first started it was just vodka, I’d even go to dive bars and order apple-tinis — but now I take it on the rocks.

Speaking of, Wood and Vine has an extensive whiskey list.
The owners wanted to focus on whiskey, particularly American and rare ones. It’s my job to bring in new brands, keep it current and keep building a solid collection.

How does your cocktail menu differ from other bars?

We have a Drink of the Day every day, and since the Hollywood Farmer’s Market is here every Sunday, I encourage the other bartenders to go, find something that they find interesting and try to make a cocktail out of it. I also like good names for a drink, like our Are You Afraid of the Dark? or A Sicilian in San Fran.

What vibe are you going for at Wood and Vine?
We are located right in the middle of Hollywood, which can be very touristy. So it’s our goal that once you walk into Wood and Vine that you forget all about Hollywood.

What’s trending in bars these days?
Barrel-aging has been big for some months now, but I am also seeing cocktails on tap such as Moscow Mules and Negronis. Bottled cocktails are also trending which we will be experimenting with soon.

Thoughts on the L.A. cocktail scene?
There are a lot of cocktail bars out there, so there is starting to be some saturation. But that can be a good thing because since bartenders and customers are both becoming so spirit educated, places are starting to revert back to focusing on service.

What’s your golden rule of bartending?
Be patient.

Wood and Vine (inside The Taft Building), 6280 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., CA, 90028