Ten Tough Questions for Troy Rondon Guasque

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We're asking Ten Tough Questions to recent NBC champion and bartend pro Troy Rondon Guasque!

What is de nicest moment behind the bar you can remember?
"Working our ass off in a packed bar and nailing it. I love the feeling of managing and working in a smooth-running team."

What is the worst?
"Making cocktails takes time and effort. Even when you’re working your ass off, some people still don’t understand this. They expect their drinks to take as long as pouring a beer or a wine. This can really annoy me."

Who are the two Guru’s you look up to the most in our industry?
"Ivar de Lange and Mike Rambags. I’ve already learned many, many things whilst working with them and I still learn more every time. Apart from that, they have introduced me to bartending: my first steps behind the bar and first competitions. They are both exceptionally good bartenders and have always been very supportive and just great friends."

Which book on bartending is a must-read?
"I really enjoyed “The Drunken Botanist”, by Amy Stewart. A great book that really helped me understand the base of different spirits and ingredients."

What is the cocktail you have created you are most proud of and why?
"A tough question: I’ve created a lot of cocktails that I’m proud of for different reasons. If I have to pick one it would be the Smoked Mexican. It’s one of the first cocktails I made that made it onto the menu in Demain. This was of course a very proud moment for me. "

Smoked Mexican
35 ml Leyenda Durango mezcal
15 ml Cointreau
20 ml fresh orange juice
10 ml spicy-cinnamon syrup
½ barspoon fig jam
3 dashes red chili tincture

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Shake & double strain into a pre-chilled martini glass and garnish with a flamed orange zest.

What is the biggest challenge facing our industry in the Netherlands today?
"Seeing that the cocktail/bar/food industry is booming nowadays, guests expect more and more of the places they visit. We are expected to meet their high expectations and if possible transcend them. I feel the biggest challenge lies in finding the right people to achieve this result.
Throughout the Netherlands I see a lot of bar managers/owner struggling to find staff that is willing to invest their time and put effort into learning about our industry. A lot of people still see our industry as ‘just a side job’ and not a real profession. Due to this attitude we are not able to take our industry to the next level. I think the Netherlands has a lot to learn from other countries on this topic."

What is your guilty pleasure drink?
"A very, very, very Dirty Martini. Like hands in the pants, in the corner of a club, filthy."

If you could teach new bartenders one thing, what would it be?
"I’d say working with two hands: it improves speed and efficiency. And did I already mention that it looks cool?"

What do I have to do as a bartender to piss you off when visiting a bar?
"Giving unwanted advice about the way of working, the skills of the bartenders and/or the drinks."

If you want to be remembered by any quote, what would it be?
"Every empty bottle is filled with joyful stories."

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