Claudia Cabrera Rodriguez
Words by Sammy Hemmings and Claudia Cabrera Rodriguez
Photography by Havana Club
"Kaito is the first bar in Mexico and Latin America which was created, designed and 100% operated by females," says Claudia Cabrera Rodriguez, bar owner of Mexico's Kaito del Valle.
Located in Colonia del Valle, a south central neighbourhood in Mexico City, Kaito del Valle is inspired by Japanese izakaya. "Since the opening of the bar in October 2016, we have been loyal to our concept of a Japanese izakaya," Claudia says. "From the sustainable production of certain ingredients to the Japanese cocktail techniques."
Kaito del Valle has become a forerunner in the local bar scene, which Claudia attributes to her bar team. "One of the most important factors, and reasons we have gained recognition over the years as a bar, is the focus and development of our female bartenders," she says. "It is my pleasure to be their mentor and I am always pushing them to be their best, study as much as they can and enter the brand competitions to keep learning and taking advantage of every opportunity."
Claudia champions gender equality in the drinks industry, and recognises the need for more females behind the bar. "Kaito is a safe and secure bar environment for women, in a historically male dominated industry and culture," she says. "My vision has always been to position the bar as one of the best in Mexico and Latin America whilst remaining true to our spirit and concept."
"My main motivation is to become an example for the rest of the female community in the industry, and a female reference in the Mexican and Latin American bar industry," Claudia adds.
Claudia is also the co-founder of Mexico's first bartender guild, which has supported the bar industry during the pandemic. "Through the support of donations via brand companies, we have been able to economically support more than 1,000 bartenders who were left without salary since March," she explains. "We also use Kaito as a base for photos, videos, competitions, and a warehouse for Mexico Bartenders Guild."
And, beyond Claudia's dedication to her fellow bartenders, her passion to provide hospitality for her guests shines through. "I love what I do, and I'd like to make a difference doing what I love," she says. "As bar manager of Kaito, I don't want to only offer a decent drink, I look to offer different and lasting experiences."