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02 Dec 2016 By

We had a quick word with bartending legend David Rios, in Singapore for a few guest shifts and to show the young ‘uns how it’s done.

David Rios is best introduced by his accolades: 2013 Best Bartender in the World Diageo Reserve World Class; Champion International Gin & Tonic 2013; Best Bartender in Spain 2013; Best Bartender in Europe Diageo Reserve World Class 2013, and plenty more. He also has a sommelier background, and so is steeped in hospitality and its arts. It also makes his a lovely person to speak to.


What’ve you learned about life from behind the bar?

Building social relations, the bar is a line between the client and yourself. The human aspect and what you learn in individual interaction is immense.

Which bar is your local?

Solange and Paradiso in Barcelona are my favorite bars for nice drinks.

What do you drink after your shift / What’s your signature drink?

I finish work and read yesterday’s paper, and depending on how the day went, I will drink something different. Something short and relaxing, to be able to reflect, something whisky based, along the lines of a Sazerac.

My signature drinks are any drinks that when I create I draw a reaction from the consumer, which connects emotionally with people. I like to serve cocktails that surprise, a good example is the Tenpuccino (Tanqueray Ten + cappuccino).


Person you would most like to drink with?

With Kelly Slater since I like surfing. But after meeting David Beckham in a Haig Club event in Spain, I really liked his personality and would like to have a drink with him at some point.

What’s the best cocktail for celebration?

Champagne cocktails, which gives us euphoria.

What won’t you drink?

In the last three years I have tried literally everything, drinks with blue cheese, stuff with the craziest possible stuff. Garlic in the drinks, tasting is important, and there is little I wouldn’t try at least once.

David Rios Tangueray

What’s a cocktail/bar trend that needs to stop/that’s overrated?

Machines and laboratorial bars, even though they are pushing the boundaries, can create some confusion and distance consumers from understanding drinks. Sometimes bartenders are creating drinks for them and not for consumers.

What is your guilty pleasure – what do you drink at home?

A good PX with lots of seafood, some wine as well given where I come from and my background as a sommelier.

bloody mary

Bloody Mary – delicious, but not helpful.

Best hangover cure?

Hydration, a lot of water. The concept of drinking a Bloody Mary will keep you going but will not cure you.

What’s the best cocktail for a broken heart?

Sit in front of a window, with something spirit-forward that you can drink slowly…. Something like an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac.

Have you ever cried in a bar?

When the doors are closed, a couple of times. Missing my family and friends, there is a tough part in working in a bar and travelling around the world, and there is no shame in crying.

Most memorable drinking experience?

Something fresh in my mind is a bar run by a former World Class winner from Brazil, Kennedy Nascimento, which I recently visited. It’s a speakeasy inside a movie theater in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s an American style bar with great seating, inside a cinema, this was something that I had never seen before.

Like this? Meet another legend with a hot dog fetish
















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