He Mixes It

Quick stats:  
Name: Mcson Salicetti (mac-son)
Occupation(s): Bar consulting and tending
Number of years in NY: Six from 15 yo to 21, Miami hiatus & I'm back! 
Originally from: Venezuela
Current neighborhood: Upper East Side

When did you first start mixing cocktails?
I was 20 years old when I first started.

When did you first realize you had a passion for making drinks?
At first the money and the party was the most appealing part of it with the night clubs, private events etc... Later on, I saw the bigger picture and the opportunities in the industry. That's when I stepped it up and developed my knowledge and passion for the craft of cocktailing. My culinary background helped, thanks to my mom being a chef.

I left bartending for a while and tried other lines of work such as real estate and mortgage brokering, to name a few. It was then when I realized what makes me happy and I started experimenting, doing research, reading cooking books and playing around making desserts. I enjoy smelling, paring and tasting ingredients together such as vegetables, spices, fruits, etc.

When did you morph into mixology?
I think it was right then when I realized the opportunity to couple my knowledge of classic recipes and new school cocktails, with my kitchen knowledge to create new exclusive, combinations.  

What category of spirits do you like to work with the most?
Mezcals, rums, bourbons and gins.

What is it that makes your cocktails so tasty?
I guess just the effort and passion I put into each one. I try to balance the flavors so you can identify one by taste and smell and each of them work in harmony together. I always say every time I serve a cocktail, I give a little piece of me.

Where else, besides New York, have you tended bar?
Martha's Vineyard, Miami and Orlando.

What do you like to do on your night's off?
Just relax at home and cook a nice meal for my girlfriend and I.

Where do you like to shop?
Any industry related stores as well as those focused on computers and gadgets. 

Where do you like to eat?
I'm open to everything.. Always looking for a new experience and talent!

What is the most interesting cocktail you made this past week?
It was a homemade spiced pumpkin puree (star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, white peppercorn and cloves), mezcal, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, a homemade cinnamon bitters and rimmed with a homemade smoke salt...served in a coupe.

Do you taste your cocktails after you make them?
For the most part I do, especially if they're new concoctions I'm working on. I also taste on my regular daily cocktails to make sure the citrus and/or the "sweetners" are on point, this is very important for the balance of a cocktail.

Do you think it's important to use jiggers? If so, why?
Yes I do, because I'm a little bit of an OCD person, lol. And because consistency is an important issue for me, I like to know the drink I design will always taste the same - even when someone else makes it - following the specific instructions.

What do you drink when you're not working?
Scotch, mezcal, fernet (an Italian type of amaro, a bitter or an aromatic spirit) and beer.

Why do you think it's important for a restaurant to have a bar program?

It depends on the type of restaurant. I think it's important because lately cocktails have taken a huge turn in the industry and more and more regular customers understand mixology, so the demand for better and more innovative cocktails is rising and quickly. Also, it's just like running a kitchen, so it needs to have its own department to ensure quality, efficiency and consistency. 

What makes certain cocktails stand out from others?
I believe it's the execution and perfect balance that separates them. 

Hand crafted, small batch spirits are in right now, do prefer them as well?
I like to incorporate them when possible and also because some of them are really amazing products, due to the small attention to details that they have in their production processes.

What would be the perfect ingredient for a winter cocktail?

What do you think is the perfect price for a cocktail?
$12-$18, depending on the labor and cost.

How many cocktails do you think should be on a menu?
Eight to fifteen and they should change seasonally.

What is your favorite mixology bar to go to in New York?
Employees Only, Wayland, Death and Co., Botanic Lab, The Black Ant...just to mention a few.

What would you make for someone who challenged you to make them a "savory" cocktail?
I will probably do my Lemongrass Fizz.

What's next for you?
Learning more and being able to spread this love for cocktails through consulting and creating new concoctions, that will hopefully lead me to advance further in my career and eventually open something of my own. But in the mean time, there are a lot more competitions to win and more experiences to live and learn from. Salud!

Visit and say hi to McSon (he has a warm, funny and friendly personality) at the Botanic Lab in the Lower East Side on Tuesday nights, Wednesday through Friday at The Black Ant in the East Village and Saturday's back at the Botanic Lab. His cocktails are outstanding. Tell him I sent you and he'll take care of you*

Check out his instagram: @Mcson_Mixology and view cool shots of his tails from around town. He's also on twitter: @McsonSalicetti and facebook: Mcson Salicetti. 

For cocktail recipes on the featured drinks above, events and consulting services, 
contact Mcson on any of this social media.  

-Fabiola Conrado #industry #nyc #nycmixologist @botaniclabnyc #theblackant #mcsonsalicetti #nynightlife #newyorkmixology

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