Interview with Celebrity Mixologist Carlos Ruiz

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What do high-paid celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad”, the singer Becky G, journalist Ismael Cala, prominent Luis Chataing, and actress Lis Vega have in common?

Well, they share a taste for the acclaimed cocktails of the multi-award-winning Mixologist Carlos F Ruiz, better known on social networks as @cocktailsbyc, who has shared the best-kept secrets of celebrities and their most exquisite tastes.

Born in Lima Peru and established in New Jersey at the age of 8, Carlos has quickly become one of the most dynamic and innovative cocktail creators in the world.

To date, he has garnered more than 25 international awards that have positioned him as “Mixologist of the Year” by the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, the Bar Brag competition at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC, winner of the Iron Shaker, the “Beat it Rummy ”by Sailor Jerry, in New Jersey and Washington, DC, the Mediterranean-inspired cocktail competition in Ibiza, the Herradura Tequila Legends in Mexico, the Sherry Cocktail contest in Barcelona, and many more in the United States.

Follow Carlos at @cocktailsbyc & @StickyCounters

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Hi Carlos, please tell us little about you?

I was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States at the age of 8. My first restaurant job was at a pizzeria at the age of 14 and it was my introduction to the hospitality industry. I never looked back from that day.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Energetic, Driven, Outgoing

How did you get started as a Mixologist?

I started my career at the Ryland Inn in White House station in New Jersey. I fell in love with the beautiful cocktails coming out of the bar and the stories of all the spirits. I guess you can say it was love at first sight.

How would you describe your style?

My style in making cocktails is that I take inspiration from different cuisines and try to incorporate those flavors into my drinks. Now my clothing style is anything comfortable lol.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Not really an advice, but I used all the negative comments of people saying that bartending is not a real job and I created a career out of it.

Who is your role model?

My role model is my late father in law. A family man who loved his family. Friendly, selfless and giving. A true class act that will forever be missed.

What is the feeling to be named “Mixologist of the Year” by the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, Herradura Tequila Legends in Mexico, the Bar Brag competition at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC and winner of the Iron Shaker?

I was shocked at first because all the competitors were amazing. I am just extremely happy that I was able to showcase my creations and have a good time with friends and colleagues.

Tell us about your work with big name celebrities and how did you got to work with them?

Living in the age of social media it has made it easier to come in contact with celebrities. You just have to be consistent and persistent and create eye catching content.

Which celebrity has surprised you most with their drink selection?

I have to say that Aaron Paul from the famous show Breaking Bad loves getting creative with cocktails. He mentioned that he has even played around with mushrooms. The nutty and vegetal quality makes for a good drink.

Do you have any special request when working with top celebrities like them?

I do not!

Can you name a few of the celebrities you have worked with and who will be on your bucket list to work with?

I have created cocktails for The Rock, Aaron Paul, and Becky G. My goal is to work with Bruno Mars, Will Smith, Jennifer López, and Kevin Hart

Suppose a friend asked you to help make some drinks at a party. Which 3 ingredients do you take and which 3 tools do you not leave home without?

The tools and ingredients I will bring over are limes, sugar, tequila, cocktail shaker, jigger and strainer.

What separates a good cocktail from a great cocktail?

The attention to detail is key. Making sure that the glass is chilled, proper ice, and fresh ingredients.

How important is it to incorporate your Latin roots into your drinks? Is this an advantage of does it box you in with the drinks that people expect you to make?

I love incorporating Latin flavors in my cocktails but I also like to experiment with different flavors from around the world.

How do you get people to order outside of their comfort zone?

Starts with a series of questions. I like to talk about food and gauge their interest and I can create something special for them with those flavors.

What’s your favorite drink to make and what is your least favorite?

I love making margaritas and I don’t have have a least favorite to make.

What does the future look like for mixed drinks? How will they evolve in the future?

I think is going towards the directions of brining back the classic cocktails with just some small adjustments in flavor. Simplicity is best.

What is different from Carlos Ruiz creations to other mixologists?

I pay a lot of attention to detail and make sure that all the flavors work in harmony not compete with each other. Also when I’m making the cocktail I always put on a dancing show. I love to dance so why not do it while I shake it up.

Do you have any tips or ideas to create cocktails during this lockdown?

I recommend learning about the spirits first before creating a cocktail. Learn were it comes from, taste, aroma etc. This will help you depict what flavors to use in you drink.

Have you ever been asked to create anything crazy or very different?

Yes all the time, but the most fun was creating a cocktail inspired by a lasagna. I created a cocktail using all the elements of the dish and it came out pretty good.

Do you have any regrets professionally?

I do not! I love what I do and can’t wait to see what happens in the future.

If you weren’t a mixologist, or in the cocktail creations business, what would you be?

I went to school for computer science. So probably coding for a software company.

If you could prepare only one drink, what would it be?

Margaritas always!

What is next for Carlos Ruiz in 2021?

At the moment I have two shows that I am producing and hosting. StickyCounters and 86’d. One is more of an educational content show about spirits and cocktails. The other one is a cocktail competition were two mixologist go head to head to compete for bragging rights and $500 dollars cash price. With only 30 minutes on the clock the contestants have to create a one of a kind cocktail from scratch and use the basket of secret ingredients.

How would your best friend describe you?

Outgoing

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

Hopefully have my own show on TV

If you could prepare a drink for anyone, who would it be and what would you prepare?

Make a shaken not stirred martini for James Bond (Pierce Brosnan)

What is the best drink and bar that no one’s ever heard of?

That’s a tough one I love all the drinks they are so unique and bar I would say kwant in London.

What is your favorite healthy food?

I enjoy roasted vegetables and quinoa

And your favorite cheat food?

Pepperoni pizza

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would have loved to meet Michael Jackson. I am a big fan of his music.

What do you like to watch on tv?

I love watching action and funny movies on Netflix, Disney, Hulu and Amazon

Any future plans you want to share with us?

I am working on my cocktail book and hopefully I can release that soon.

Idea of a perfect Sunday?

Hanging at the house with my beautiful wife and our dog Gus in comfy clothes with takeout, funny shows, and margaritas.

Do you support any charity?

As of this year I have started donating to St Jude.

What do you think of Social Media?

If it wasn’t for social media I would not be in the position that I am in. I have been able to reach a bigger audience.

Where we can follow you?

Instagram- @cocktailsbyc @stickycounters

Facebook- @cocktailsbyc @stickycounters

YouTube- StickyCounters

 

Quote: people might come in for the cocktail but will return for the experience

Favorite Singer/Artist: Bruno Mars

Movie: Begin Again

Travel Destination: Maldives

Sports Team: Yankees

Tv Show: narcos

Book: Harry Potter