Predicting Bartending Trends with Beverage Director Ivo Diaz
Since opening, Casa Ora has been recognized as the only Venezuelan restaurant to ever receive a Michelin Plate, showcasing the quality of their innovative cooking and the diversity of Venezuelan cuisine.
The cocktail program, developed by Ivo Diaz, who has years of experience consulting on top beverage menus throughout the city, leans heavily into tequila, mezcal, and rum-based drinks. Guests are transported, with one sip, to the chilly Andes Mountains, envision the subtropical grasslands of the Llanos, and experience the tropical beaches of Cayo Madrisqui via ingredients like passionfruit, tamarind, coconut, and papelón.
When asked for his favorite, Ivo will point guests toward Caracas Caracas—made with Santa Teresa Rum, chocolate bitters, papelón—a twist on an Old Fashioned made from only Venezuelan ingredients or the Caribbean Queen—made with dark rum, cinnamon, clove, pineapple, and lemon.
We asked Ivo which bartending trends he predicts will be hot this year. Here’s what he had to say.
Return to the classics: I prefer mixing and offering classic cocktails with really unique flavor profiles and mouth feels.
Cocktails with a Taste of Terrior: Our main goal is to bring joy to everyone experiencing our cuisine and beverages. For those trying Venezuelan flavors for the first time, I hope to bring to light the beauty and diversity of Venezuelan ingredients. For example, our Caracas Caracas cocktail (which includes Santa Teresa Rum, chocolate bitters, and papelón), is a great way to experience a little taste of Venezuela; it’s a twist on an Old Fashioned, made from only Venezuelan ingredients.
A Focus on Education: ALL bartenders, new and seasoned, should expand their liquor knowledge: know how liquors are produced and how the environment creates each liquor’s particular flavor (e.g., mezcal).
Innovative Ingredients: Creative infusions, and house made syrups using fresh juices and tailoring the flavor profile of your drinks with creative ingredients. (e.g. teas or peppers infused in liquor, infusing sugar syrups with herbs and spices, etc.). Coming up with creative and unique ideas: Bartenders will pay attention to what makes a bar special, and create cocktails with a purpose, and understand the bar concept more deeply than just its “theme.”
Return to Basic Techniques: Meticulous techniques, like an Old Fashioned is made with 20-25 stirring rotations, whereas a Manhattan is made with 70-80 rotations. Using water as an important ingredient in every cocktail. It’s important to learn how much water each cocktail needs. Smoking and the use of nitrogen bubbles will continue to grow as a trend.
Building a Bartending Team: Bartending will continue to become collaborative. Build up a great bar team that creates consistent recipes and maintains the quality of the products being served.
Authentic Experiences: Bar-goers will continue to seek authentic experiences. Casa Ora is an upscale Venezuelan-American restaurant owned and operated by myself, my wife (Rachel Diaz Pirard), and my mother (Isbelis Diaz). Our aim is to showcase the quality and diversity of Venezuelan cuisine in new ways through innovative recipes inspired by family. The restaurant is named for our three-year-old daughter Ora, who can often be found welcoming guests into her “house” when she’s stopping by for a post-school snack.
Casa Ora’s elegant comfort food is crafted to showcase the beauty and complexity of Venezuela, which has been overshadowed by dictatorship and humanitarian crisis for over two decades. To support their community and heritage, the team is dedicated to continuously donating a portion of revenue to Fe y Alegria, a nonprofit that supports Venezuelan families forced to seek refuge due to a lack of basic human resources including education, food, and healthcare.