Miguel Fernandez - Bar Manager Ozone
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
Miguel Fernandez - Bar Manager Ozone The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

When Bartenders Talk - Miguel Fernandez

In our new book Where Bartenders Drink 300 expert drink-makers reveal 750 spots across 60 countries

As well as being the bar manager at Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, Miguel Fernandez is an internationally accomplished mixologist, known for Lucha Pina, a spicy infused tequila based cocktail that's one of the most requested at his bar. Miguel is also one of the high profile contributors to Where Bartenders Drink. In it, the best 300 expert drink-makers share their secrets - 750 places spread across 60 countries - revealing where they go for a drink throughout the world when they're off-duty. Venues range from late-night establishments and legendary hotel bars to cosy neighbourhood 'locals' - often in some very surprising locales.

The 750 expert recommendations come with insightful reviews, key information, specially commissioned maps, and an easy-to-navigate geographical organization. Written and compiled by the native New Yorker Adrienne Stillman, the co-founder, editor-in-chief, and event director of Dipsology, a curated digital guide and online community for cocktail enthusiasts, it's pretty much the only guide you need to ensure that you get the best drinks in the most memorable global locations. Over the past few weeks we've been interviewing some of the bartenders in it. Today we're talking with Miguel.

 

A spread from Where Bartenders Drink
A spread from Where Bartenders Drink

 

Where are you from and and how did you get into this line of work?  I grew up in Germany and my family is mostly from Spain, now I live in Hong Kong. I got into bartending for two reasons: I worked back in the days as a waiter in a hotel restaurant and the bartenders were always the happiest people. I wanted a bit of that! Also, the bartenders were always listening to loud music and always had girls around - I was very young and focused on different things then! I soon realised however that bartending is more then just party, it's a lot about education and hard work.

What's the one thing about being a bartender that would surprise people?  Bartenders work most of their time with drink. That doesn't mean that we always want to talk about it. Our interests are very diverse. I love traveling as much as drink (well, nearly as much). And no, it's not 24/7 party. I love quite moments in private!

 

A spread from Where Bartenders Drink
A spread from Where Bartenders Drink

What's your favourite cocktail to make and why do you like making it?  It's easier to name what i don't like: any kinds of 'ShotRituals' - Jaegerbombs, Flaming Lamborghinis, B 52. I just don't get it, why?! For the rest: any cocktails that include local ingredients. And for me to drink: Negronis & Vieux Carrée!

Do cocktails go out of fashion? They are never out of fashion, just different in their taste because of the regions where they are made. I don't think that there will be a next big cocktail or must-have-ingredients but bartenders will continue to focus more on local ingredients.   

What do you do when you’re not mixing?  Mostly travel - even in the local area where I live. Hong Kong is quite a big city and there is a lot to explore. And it's quite easy in Asia to visit foreign countries. I love to get in touch with new food, traditions and ways of living.

 

Where Bartenders Drink
Where Bartenders Drink

Check out Where Bartenders Drink in the store and check back in the coming days for another interview with one of its star mixologists.