making spirits bright

Holiday Spirit-1743If you had an opportunity to see the Modern | Glam Thanksgiving shoot by POISE. on Camille Styles, you also saw the recipe for a gilded holiday martini!  Let me tell you this martini tastes and smells as good as it looks;  rich in holiday aroma with a mix of cranberry, star anise, cinnamon and clove – it puts you immediately into the holiday spirit.

When I was looking to do the photo shoot, I knew immediately who could help me come up with the perfect cocktail that would combine flavors like a James-Beard award winning chef would for a winning plate; Domingo-Martin Barreres.  He is incredibly talented and creative with his mixology, I am constantly inspired by his creations.  I met him while he was heading up the restaurant beverage team at the Whotel Boston’s restaurant,  and was not only impressed by his iconic leopard spots hairstyle,  he also had me at the first sip of his masterpiece cocktails!

*All photos by Victoria Mello Photography.

Making Spirits Bright | POISE blog | Mixologist Domingo Martin-Barreres | Photography by Victoria Mello PhotographySlide2Making Spirits Bright | POISE blog Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5Making Spirits Bright | styled by POISE. | Photography by Victoria Mello PhotographySlide6

I had an opportunity to learn more about Domingo, and what inspires him, as well as get some tips on how to be successful with making specialty cocktails at home for our own holiday entertaining purposes.  Here is what he had to say:

What inspired you to get into bar tending?
Well, and this is many moons ago, I was singing in a rock band and going to art school during the day, and I had a job at a place called the Channel where my band played, and I bartended. It was a rock club and not glamorous but the job was a necessity at the time.

You are such an artist when it comes to cocktails, curating your own infusions and flavor combinations,  where do you find your inspiration?
I moved to San Francisco and there was a chef there named Traci Des Jardins who is one of the top chefs in the country, and her whole approach was that the bar was an extension of the kitchen, so we put a lot of time into the drinks, fresh juicing everything which is more popular now but this was 18 years ago.  It was so refreshing to see this approach and I latched onto that.  I also participate in a lot of cocktail mixing competitions which I get a great deal of inspiration from as I get to see my peers and what they create.  With my art background, I get inspired by working with a spirit or a season for example, and creating a cocktail around it. 

I know we talked about the idea of a modern/glam photoshoot for the holidays, but what is the story behind the ingredients and look of the cocktail you came up with?
I was trying to do a holiday punch, and I liked the idea of a spice cranberry base for the holidays.  I took a risk on a classic citron vodka cosmopolitan, with orange liquor.  When I thought about what POISE. does and the tablescape you had designed, combined with the festive time of year, I wanted to add glamour to the cocktail by adding some gold.  If you have the time and you are creating a cocktail for people you care about, I am a big believer in going the extra mile with the details.  It doesn’t take that much more time to go the extra mile and it makes a really nice impression. 

Out of all of your masterpieces, do you have an all time favorite {cocktail creation}?
I have a pretty cool story about this actually.  I was participating in a competition with GQ magazine and USBG and I came up with a summer cocktail using Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice, shiso, raspberries and star anise.  I decided to name it:  a little summer summer somewhere, there was a bit of summer in that drink from all over the world I shortened it to lil sum some.  When they asked me to fly in a day early for the competition my fiancé joined me and on a whim,  we decided to get married!  The next day at the competition I was voted top 10 in the country out of 3,500 contenders. That drink will always have a special place in my heart.  It was added to the Whotel Market cocktail menu when I returned and shortly thereafter a couple got engaged at the restaurant and happened to have had that cocktail, they loved it so much they wanted the recipe for their wedding.

Did you give it to them?
I said no problem, wrote it down and told them how to best make it.  A few months later, 2 couples later came in and asked for the drink {it was no longer on the menu}.  I made it and sent it over and the couple later told me they enjoyed this at their daughter’s wedding and it was a reminder of the beautiful day and beautiful memory.  Who gets to do that? I get to make a drink and make an impact on people’s life events.

That is pretty cool Domingo.
Do you have any tips on how to be successful at mixing cocktails for a group at home?  In other words for readers that would like to make this gilded holiday cocktail, do you have any tips to make sure they come out as wonderfully as those that you mix?

Classic cocktails like Manhattan’s and Negroni that have stood the test of time are classic cocktails for a reason – they just work.  They have perfect balance with the right amount of citrus and sweet.  If  you start with that as your stepping off point and stay within the intention of the drink it is a fun an easy way to go.  For example a Madras {orange juice, cranberry and vodka}.  Take the drink and integrate an infused vodka like a basil or mint and use blood orange or tangerine juice.  You’ll have to play with the acidity when you switch up the flavors but if you change the template you will undoubtedly create a great drink.  Also, be patient with yourself, it is a lot more like baking than cooking. Measuring is important, write down what you do, take notes and edit the measurements.  When you make one that is really good, you’ll have a unique go-to recipe and have officially started your repertoire.

Also, find something out about the guest of honor or the event and name the cocktail to personalize it.  Lastly, as much as you eat with your eyes, it also holds true for cocktails so get in touch with your artistic side, have fun, put some thought into them and make them pretty.

What is your personal cocktail of choice?
My drink of choice hands down is a negroni.  When I get out of work I like to go to J.M Curley’s or Silvertone to enjoy it.

Domingo-Martin Barreres is one of Boston’s most recognized bartenders, and not just for the iconic leopard spots on his head. As an integral member of Boston’s beverage scene, Domingo most recently spearheaded W Boston’s restaurant beverage team. He consults on global cocktail development for Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group and teaches at the Boston Center for Adult Education, leading courses such as The Art of The Cocktail and Making Spirits Bright.  You can follow Domingo on Twitter here.

For the recipe to the gilded holiday martini Domingo created click here.

Wishing you the best as you finalize your holiday cocktails for your loved ones.


About Emmanuelle

Event Planning & Public Relations in the Boston Area specializing in fashion, beauty, textiles & consumer goods.
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  1. Pingback: A fall fête for Simon Pearce | Poise Boston

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