Fancy-shaped ice cubes, exotic garnishes, and explosions of color. Yes, we have arrived into the age of craft cocktails, and it’s wonderful. No, not craft beer or wine, we’re talking craft cocktails.
There has never been a better time to be an enjoyer of fine spirits. The craft cocktail trend has been on the rise for the past few years, and is finally taking root all over.
Except, there are certainly places within the U.S. that boast a higher saturation of superb drinks per square mile. Similarly to how Colorado and San Diego are craft beer meccas, and Napa is the place to be for wine connoisseurs, San Antonio is a hub for the cocktail aficionados, and the top-notch mixologists.
For those who are less familiar with the term “mixologist,” it refers to someone who is highly skilled at creating cocktails and drinks. Bartender is a more common term, but bartender refers to any person making drinks behind a bar, whereas mixologist only refers to the elite group of bartenders who’ve taken the craft of creating drinks to an entirely new level.
San Antonio, Texas, is home to extraordinary mixologists, magnificent cocktail bars and lounges, and the San Antonio annual cocktail conference. It goes without saying that in this town, even the fiercest beer and wine drinkers, will be convinced to try at least one craft cocktail.
It’s fairly common for mixologists to become rather famous throughout San Antonio, and one such celebrity is Hector Vargas. Resident mixologist at the exquisite Hotel Contessa, he’s been gearing up for national martini day, June 19th, with his signature martini, The “Cavender Martini.”
This is an absolute must-try for martini lovers in particular. The drink consists of Cinco Vodka (which is locally made), St. Germaine, Brute Champagne, and is topped off with orange essence and a twist. This martini will simply blow your mind.
It’s not just the ingredients, or even how they’re mixed, that makes this martini incredible. No, there’s much more to it than that, according to the mastermind himself, Hector Vargas. Influenced by the legendary Bruce Lee, Hector Vargas believes the incredible taste comes from the passion within the mixologist. He would know, since he’s been doing this for 21 years. “Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul,” that’s the quote you’ll find on his business card, a Bruce Lee quote, of course.
“My drinks are a true reflection of the passion that’s inside of me, it’s an art form that comes from the soul,” says Hector Vargas. “Everytime I create a cocktail, they get a piece of me.”
It doesn’t matter whether you order his signature drink, or just a rum and coke. So long as you’re satisfied, he’s satisfied.
“I’m happy if I can see a smile on the guests face.”
Well, after one sip of any drink mixed by Hector, we’ll all be happy pretty soon. In fact, tomorrow, and the rest of the month of May, is the perfect opportunity to waltz into the Hotel Contessa, and experience the Contessa Prickly Pear Margherita, a signature drink for Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo is one of the biggest occasions of the year in the colorful and exciting city of San Antonio. A trip to San Antonio isn’t complete without a visit to the Alamo, a stroll along the Riverwalk, and a seat at one of Hector Vargas’s tables or stools. Let us know what fancy concoction he whipped up for you!
For those interested in the Cavendar Martini, or the Prickly Pear Margherita, here are the recipes:
1 oz Cinco Vodka
1 oz St. Germaine
Topped with Brute Champagne
Finished with orange essence & a twist
Contessa Prickly Pear Margherita
1 ½ oz Milagro
¾ oz Cointreau
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice