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Marc Alvarez: You never feel the pleasure of working if you do not learn to count money

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One of the most progressive bartenders in the world, molecular mixologist Marc Alvarez worked until recently with the great chef Albert Adria. For his projects, he created amazing cocktail menus, and has now founded his own company, Drinks Atelier.

At university, I studied biology. Actually, there’s not such a big difference between a bar and a laboratory. You make measurements and change the state of substances. The rules are the same, too: you have to keep things perfectly clean and be exacting and careful. Most importantly of all, you have to be curious.

My favorite cocktail is a Negroni. I always drink one every Sunday morning – it’s my personal ritual. It’s like life itself – bitter and sweet, all at once. There’s both simplicity and complexity in it.

There are two approaches to creating cocktails. Sometimes I take a classic structure and change it a little, adding different elements for taste. The other approach is to forget all the recipes you know and just create something from scratch.

Now I have my own company, and we make cocktail menus for bars – our clients. I have to come up with new ideas every day. I can’t just sit and wait for inspiration. I have my own techniques in the event of a creative block: listening to music, having a few cups of good tea, or going to the gym.

You could have the best cocktails in the world, but you have to live in the financial real world. You’ll never feel satisfaction in your work if you don’t teach yourself to watch your money.

Sometimes I just walk down the street and sense all the different perfumes that the girls who pass by are wearing. They mix together in my head, and I come up with an idea for a drink. I write that idea down immediately on my phone.

If you really want to use a particularly ingredient in your cocktail, but you just can’t mix it with your other liquids, try making it into a garnish.

Now bartenders think a lot about glassware and presentation, but I believe that first and foremost, we should direct our attention to our guests. We should listen to them and talk to them at a distance that they set for themselves.

A cocktail is an orchestra of ingredients – no one among them should stand out too much. That’s called balance.

I try to use as little pure sugar as possible. I prefer working with the natural sweetness of my ingredients: for example, carrot juice or sweet potato purée.

Gastronomy is about 10 or 15 years ahead of mixology. Therefore, as bartenders, we should learn a lot and become better every day.

I really want to open my own bar so that I have the ability to finally choose my own personal style, without any external connections or collaborations. I hope that this happens next year.

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