Vote for Your Favorite Mixologist in Costa Mesa
Written By: Chelsea Raineri Mixologist in Costa Mesa
Aaron Reid, Holiday
Aaron Reid has been behind the bar for over 11 years, and has worked with a variety crowds. When Holiday started, he was finally able to make a cocktail that he’d always wanted; creating speed craft cocktails with the freshest, all organic, from-the-earth ingredients with a maximum of five in each cocktail. He feels he has succeeded, has received the best feedback from his guests and can’t wait to continue with this vision.
Jordan Kutchma, Mesa
Jordan Kutchma was born in Virginia and started mixing drinks after college. He decided to take it up to New York City with a schedule of model by day, bartender by night. He did that for a few years before chasing a girl out west to where he is today.
Grace LaPointe, Sliver Trumpet
Grace LaPointe’s 16 years of mixology experience has taken her from California to Colorado and back again at establishments such as Velvet Lounge and Ginger’s Bikini Bar. One of her favorite drinking philosophies is that cocktails don’t have an inherent masculinity or femininity to them. She says she drinks like a girl—bourbon on the rocks.
David Valiante, Social
Bar Director David Valiante brings to SOCIAL Costa Mesa more than two decades of experience in the Los Angeles and Orange County food and beverage industry. Valiante has embraced Orange County’s penchant for healthy living in SOCIAL’s cocktail program by sourcing fresh produce from local organic farms and making all of their syrups, shrubs, purées, infusions and cordials in-house.
Daniel Zarate, Casa
Daniel Zarate has been behind a bar for more than a decade and has won awards, with ventures on the East and West Coast. His style does not include frills, silly moustaches or leather aprons—just fantastic cocktails and hospitality without pretension.
Alexandru Antonescu, Boathouse Collective
Having been in the industry for over five years Alexandru Antonescu slowly worked his way into the Costa Mesa bar scene. He bartended briefly overseas in London while he was playing low level professional soccer. Antonescu got trained in craft cocktails at Boathouse Collective under people, who he would consider himself a Padawan to, such as Emily Delice of Vacation Bar and Ryan Autry of The Blind Pig.
Andrew Paniagua, Water Grill
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Andrew Paniagua cut his teeth in LA. He’s into vintage motorcycles, classic cars, and is an avid boxer and gym rat. He was doing special effects makeup for a bit, but it wasn’t paying the bills and that’s when bartending fell in his lap. Now, he gets to express his creativity through cocktails with depths of flavor, glassware choice and garnish.
Dave Nola, Kitsch Bar
Dave Nola has been mixing drinks for 15 years all over Orange County, but for the last seven years he’s been the co-owner and primary mixologist at Kitsch Bar in Costa Mesa. His passion for creating great cocktails has been for both personal creativity and for the pleasure of seeing a guest’s smile when they take their first sip of one of his newest creations. Being a co-owner at Kitsch Bar has allowed him the freedom and creativity to shape his ideas into reality and continue to modify until the balance of each drink is just right.
Taylor Smith, Pueblo
Taylor Smith, the bar manager at Pueblo, has worked at the restaurant since the beginning of 2014, and loves great food and great whiskey. Working with a beer/wine license, he had to get very creative while working with low ABV cocktails to create unique and delicious flavors to pair with the tapas style of food. He guarantees that you won’t find what they have at Pueblo anywhere else.
Robert Valenzuela, La Vida Cantina
Born and raised in Irvine, Robert Valenzuela was the bartender/bar manager at Savannah Chop House before coming to open and run the bar at La Vida Cantina three years ago. His favorite tequilas include DesMadre, Herradura, Don Julio 1942 and Patron Burdeos, and he prefers to drink his tequila neat.
Koire Rogers, ARC Food and Libations
Immersing himself in all things beverage, Koire Rogers is a self-taught mastermind of drink. From his balanced, yet boozy cocktails, to his light and enchanting floral beverages, Rogers’ palate is regarded as perfection. Today, Rogers is an active member of the Bartender’s Cabinet and was recently the recipient of a fan-voted Golden Foodie Award for Best Bartender in Orange County.
Ryan Redondo, Ruin Bar
Ryan Redondo loves his work and enjoys all aspects of bartending. To Redondo, bartending is more than a job, as it combines a unique amalgamation of creativity and showmanship that he is able to exhibit every time he crafts a drink for a guest.
Toshi Yamamoto, Wild Goose
Toshi Yamamoto became interested in cocktails while bartending at university. To further his interests, he studied and completed his Level 1 Sommelier and Cicerone certifications and discovered his love for creating craft cocktails after attending a Dale DeGroff lecture. Yamamoto has a passion for creating interesting tinctures and drinking fine American whiskey. Since 2014, he has worked on many beverage menus for Lounge Group, which have included Hopscotch Tavern, Wild Goose Tavern, and Stag Bar + Kitchen to name a few.
Zack Ricks, The Wayfarer
Zack Ricks was born and raised in Hawaii and is now living in Costa Mesa. Working as the bartender at The Wayfarer, he enjoys the beach, live music and poke bowls. Having bartended for three years, Ricks specializes in all styles of cocktail/drink making. In the future he would like to own his own bar.
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