Joel Mesa, Bar Manager/Mixologist at Bulla Gastrobar/Pisco y Nazca

Fashion & Wine Magazine seats at the Bar with mixologist Joel Mesa, learn more about his passion and career; for this young pro in the Industry is all about the practice, the taste; after all everything is possible.

When did you know that bartending and mixology was your passion?
I have been very interested in all beverages even before I began bartending professionally. I've always been the reference point for my circle of friends when it comes to alcohol. Bulla Gastrobar gave me the perfect venue to enhance my skills and knowledge in front of guests. I truly appreciated the opportunity.

You have a big task in your shoulders; managing the entire beverage program of 2 big restaurants: Bulla and Pisco y Nazca both with 2 locations in Miami and soon to open Bulla in Orlando; how do you see this challenge?
I see this enormous and evolving challenge as what I've wanted to accomplish my entire life. I am very cognizant of the fact that people are relying on me in a very distinct role more now than I've had in the past. The pressure is significant, but my primary focus is always improving and doing what's best for the organization.

Where do you get your inspiration for crafted cocktails?
For me, this is something that has evolved over the years. Before, I was inspired by cutting edge mixology and gravity-defying garnishes. Lately, I've been inspired by wine and craft beer as a means of expression. I've learned that one doesn't have to always create the loudest cocktail in the room. There's plenty of satisfaction for me in creating something a bit more subtle and more conducive to our high-volume bar environments.

We spoke about the future of micro brewing and local crafted beers, what is hot right now about the beer world locally?
As far as local goes, I believe we're about to learn how many breweries can co-exist together here in Miami. This will be an interesting ongoing event to watch. This was supposed to be the year of the sour beer (Berliner Weisse), but it didn't take off as strongly as I expected. This market will have to continue its search to define itself.

You pursue your continuous education on mixology, beer and wine; tell us some more about it
Well, it simply never ends and that's what's most fun about it. I'm awaiting the results of my Cicerone exam which I performed very well on. In fact, just the act of studying for this grueling exam took my sensory analysis to heights I had yet to achieve. I used to think that studying beer would interfere with my wine studies and I had to do them separately. Nothing could be further from the truth. If done properly, each field assists you in advancing in the other. I'd like to shoot for Certified Sommelier in early 2017 before we start opening restaurants in other states. Through this education, I continue learning to taste a lot more and read a little less!

Your favorite bars in Miami?
Toro Toro, Michael's Genuine and The Local. They all have great cocktail programs, fun atmospheres, and awesome hospitality.

If you had to choose a cocktail when at a bar, what would you order?
It's all about the place for me, but my top three cocktails to order are Caipirinha, Old Fashioned and Pisco Sour.

Your lifestyle motto
Absolutely everything is possible.

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