A cocktail lesson with Awasi Patagonia barman, Santiago
16/03/2015 AWASI PATAGONIA
After the Snow Cocktail
Our barman at Awasi Patagonia, Santiago Aladro, is something of a genius when it comes to cocktails. As well as whipping up all the classics - Gin & Tonic, Bloody Mary, Martini, you name it – he approaches cocktails like an artist approaches a canvas coming up with delicious and original blends and mixes which are inspired by the rugged landscape of Patagonia.
We sat down with Santiago to find out where he draws his inspiration and how he finds local products in the wild and wonderful terrain of Torres del Paine National Park.
When did you first come to Patagonia?
Santiago: Working at Awasi brought me to Patagonia for the first time. This is also the first time I have worked at a hotel which allows me to work with complete freedom. This sense of liberty, along with the wonderful ecosystem which surrounds me here - in terms of flavours, colours and aromas - inspires me everyday to create new products.
Can you give an example of the products you find around the lodge?
Santiago: The raw local materials in Patagonia are infinite and so varied that I can create a complete range of flavours though liquors, infusions and other preparations. For example berries, leaves from native shrubs and flowers for garnishes.
Where does your inspiration to make original cocktails come from?
A few years ago in Argentina, the country where I was born, I noticed bars were starting to make their own signature cocktails. This was partly to limit the dependence on imported products, a political situation that had a huge influence on bartenders, including me! This kicked off a passion which I now continue in Patagonia.
What is a normal day’s work like for you at Awasi Patagonia?
A fundamental part of my work as barman is to surprise and surpass the expectations of our guests. So, I invent different infusions with pisco, vodka and homemade liquors, adding local berries, ginger or herbs. These unusual blends allow guests to experience something different even in a classic cocktail.
Do you have any trademarks?
When I am preparing a cocktail, I try to do the finishing touch at the table in front of the guests. This way I can explain to them how it was made and what the ingredients are. The hotel has no bar menu and this is because all cocktails are custom-made and have a special and unique touch which I make for each specific guest depending on their tastes and preferences.
And do your cocktails have any trademarks?
My cocktails are usually decorated with wild flowers, so that the guest can see a reflection of the landscape that surrounds them in the cocktail they are about to enjoy.
What do you find most inspiring about working in Patagonia?
Fortunately for me, I have some wonderful comments from our guests, which makes me very happy; but it is also the beauty of Patagonia, and the help of my colleagues, that make this part of the world such a magical place to work.
Santiago would like to share two special cocktail recipes. The first is called ‘The Pioneer’ and was the first drink which he created at Awasi Patagonia. The base is a shrub called Paramela.
Pisco infused with Paramela cuttings.
A small splash of lemon juice
A few drops of Jagermeister
The second is called ‘After the Snow’ and, instead of ice cubes, it is cooled by frozen stones from Lake Sarmiento, a long lake which spreads out below Awasi Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park. This cocktail, says Santiago, “speaks of spring, thawing snow and flowers appearing”.
After the Snow
Frozen stones from Lake Sarmiento
Pisco infused with fresh cucumber
Extra Dry Vermouth
If you would like to try these cocktails at home, ask Santiago for a cocktail lesson when you are at Awasi Patagonia. But we can’t promise they will taste as good without the view of the Patagonian Steppe, Lake Sarmiento and Torres del Paine Mountain Range… and, of course, Santiago’s magic touch!