For our most recent Bar None feature we visited a beach in the south of Brazil called Praia Brava – located in the southern state of Santa Caterina. Here we caught up with the bar manager of Felissimo Exclusive Hotel, @joseaugustoswaiger.
We chatted about his history in the bartending industry, how he became the Brazilian finalist of the Bacardi Legacy, and a bit about Brazil’s culture. Read more about Jose’s story below!
1. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, etc.
My name is José Augusto Swaiger! I’m from a small town in the countryside of Paraná where I had brief contact with the cocktail world during my 16 years of occasional night shifts.
2. What’s your bartending story? How did you get into it?
I started my bartending career in Paraná’s capital Curitiba on October 4th 2015 – coincidentally Bartender Day in my country – in the bar of the boutique Nomaa Hotel. Here I was introduced to ingredients, farmers, local crafters, and real people coming together for a glorious final product. I learned how to be a head bartender under an equally amazing and inspiring chef, Lênin Palhano.
In 2017/2018 I was one of the Brazilian finalists of the Bacardi Legacy and it opened several doors for me. I changed my shakers in March 2018 to Officina Restô Bar, where I applied everything I learned in a high end cocktail bar. I had the chance of hosting local brands of vodka & gin, and highlighting farmers of the local food market.
In both 2018 & 2019, Officina Restô made history as the best cocktail bar in town two years running.
In October of last year, I came for a guest shift in the gorgeous Praia Brava, where I stuck around to learn and grow at the Felissimo Exclusive Hotel.
What’s your favorite cocktail to serve and why? How do you usually match a cocktail to a person or setting?
My favorite evening starter cocktail is the Daiquiri. Different from other bartenders, I choose this one for the light flavor and the tropical notes that speak more to my country and my language… though you’ll see me holding a Negroni on a summer evening. And I definitely can’t refuse a traditional lime and cachaca Caipirinha.
4. Why do you use Scrappy’s in your cocktails? Has Scrappy’s improved the drinks you make? Favorite Scrappy’s Flavor?
In my opinion, Scrappy’s Bitters works best for all our cocktail needs. We can choose from traditional aromatic for our classics, or unique flavors like my favorites – chocolate and celery. I always make sure to spice up my Daiquiri’s with the celery.
5. What’s your idea of the perfect drink (location, circumstance, etc)?
My favorite cocktail comes depends on the occasion, but I can’t deny that my favorite is the one in my hand. In my time at the hotel, I went for Martini’s and Old Fashioned’s. In my time working at a cocktail bar, I always had a Gin & Tonic. Now at the beach, I reinforce my passion for Daiquiri’s. Though as a professional, I’ve been creating more umami in my work to amaze people with the new layers of flavors they may not have tried before. One of the best cocktails I ever had was the Singapore Sling made by a friend of mine who was teaching me the secrets of tiki back in 2015.
My cocktail is called “Calle 70” and is inspired by the surf hot-spot in Cuba with the same name.
45ml of Novo Fogo Barrel Aged Cachaça
15ml of Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
30ml fresh passion fruit purê
15ml orange juice
15ml lime juice
7,5ml simple syrup
3 dashs of Scrapy Bitters Aromatic bitters
Shake well and strain into a Nick and Nora glass with tiki style crushed ice… Put two orange slices and a mint to garnish and top the ice with more Aromatic bitters.
Posted: Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 7:28 pm