Just a few years ago, Rodriguez was bored to death behind a modest bar in the Village, over in the south-eastern end of downtown Montréal. Day in day out, she saw the same clients coming in to chat over a beer rather than tasting her singular creations. “Work became routine. So I decided to create and feature a new cocktail every week,” she tells us.
But her ambitions didn’t stop there —young Asilex had vision. She got a gig at Philémon, a wine bar in Old Montréal. Now in a more elevated environment, she began to learn her craft, the art of wine service and all the attention to minute detail the latter requires. Her passion for mixology knew no depths, however, and she landed a job at Le Lab, a cocktail bar and one of the first speakeasies in Montréal. “I studied under the best mixologists. Not only did I gain an in-depth understanding of cocktail creation, they also trained me on flair bartending (juggling… with bottles). It’s an awesome skill,” she exclaims. Although it shut its Plateau doors in August, you can still find Rodriguez at the downtown location, at Datcha and Kabinet bars and working with the Proxibar team, Le Lab’s events division.
A name for herself
Now with experience under her belt, Asilex puts her skills to the test and competes in mixology contests. The prizes are to die for, of course, but the young woman is well aware of how important it is to set herself apart. “There’s a lot of talent in my field. When I compete, yes, I want to win, but the endgame is to make a name for myself,” she tells us, laser focussed. “I also hope to make connections with people in the industry.”
Consequently, competing in contests has made her a better mixologist. She’s even come to approach cocktail artistry from a different angle. “For example, at a Stolichnaya contest, we had to work with a theme that they chose. So I had to take several different factors into account when creating my own cocktail. All those x-factors really got my creative juices flowing.”
35 mL (1 1/4 oz) vodka
15 mL (1/2 oz) Green Chartreuse
30 mL (1 oz) fresh lemon juice
30 mL (1 oz) ginger syrup
15 mL (1/2 oz) tonic syrup
60 mL(2 oz) ginger beer
8 mL (1/4 oz) absinth
2dashes of bitters
2 or 3 slices of pickled ginger
In a frother or a saucepan, mix and then heat the first five ingredients. Next, pour them into a glass and gently add in the absinth and bitters for a layered effect.
$31.50Herb liqueur375 mlFranceSAQ code : 00037333
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Bright ideas by Asilex Rodriguez
Up-and-coming trend: Molecular mixology. I tried it at BarChef in Toronto
and I’ve never tasted anything like it. My cocktail was served in mousse form
over a bed of herbs. I would love to master the art one day myself!
Cocktail tip: Learn to trust yourself and don’t be afraid to try something new.
If you can cook, you already know something about flavours and balancing them.
Message from a mixologist: Taste your cocktail as you make it, it will help you adjust appropriately. So if your cocktail is too sugary, for example, just add lemon — acidity cuts sweetness.
Today’s taste: Veg…in cocktails. Cucumber is, of course, a classic but I personally like a cocktail with peppers.
Photos: Julien Faugère