Meet Manel Vehí, prestigious mixologist for Único Hotels, and discover the keys elements for a great cocktail pairing.
Where did you get your passion for cocktails? And what is your first cocktail memory?
One day a friend suggested we make cocktails at home. We stated with rum, mint, red fruits and a few other things.
At that moment, my curiosity about this world was piqued and I wanted to learn more. I was lucky to go to a cocktail bar called The Aviary in Chicago (owned by the chef Achatz) where I spent three months learning, researching and practising.
When I returned to Cadaqués, we revamped the once legendary Bar Boia (opened in 1947 by my great grandparents) where we put in a bar for five bartenders.
How would you define the cocktails at Único Hotels?
The cocktail programme at Único reflects what we do at Boia Night in Cadaqués, but is adapted for each of the different hotels: at Hotel Único and Mas de Torrent, the cocktails are more classic; at The Principal Madrid and Grand Hotel Barcelona, they have a signature twist.
How would you describe your style?
My style is inspired by the countries and experiences that I’ve had through my life. Thanks to many travels I’ve had the opportunity to get to know lots of different cultures, gastronomy, products etc. And that’s where I find my inspiration: cocktails from all over the world using state-of-the-art techniques.
What is the key to a good cocktail pairing?
There are three key elements to a great cocktail pairing:
- Be in the right place
- Make it with love
- Serve it correctly, as we do at ÚnicoHotels!
How do you update the classic cocktails?
I add a personal touch. Always with a ‘twist’!
What is your star cocktail?
I believe that all cocktails are stars if you know how to order the right one. There is one for every time of the day and for all tastes. I love a Bloody Mary before dinner - I think it's the perfect time for it, but it wouldn’t work (for me) after dinner.
What was the last ingredient you used in a new creation?
There are several ingredients that I plant at my house: black amaranth from Ecuador, Butterfly Pea from Thailand, coriander ...
Tell us about current trends: Do people take more care when ordering a cocktail (without alcohol or sugar), or if it is something they only do once in a while, to they pay less attention to calories or "less healthy" ingredients?
People are more and more aware of health and wellness. Many ask for cocktails low on sugar, or without alcohol, so these days we look for more natural sugars, such as dates, or panella, while keeping the same flavour profile.