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O u t c O m e s , I m p l I c at I O n s , a n d c O n c l u d I n g t h O u g h t s e p I l O g u e More than five years after it opened, Joaquin was the last of the original bartenders to leave Death & Co. Even some bartenders who had started after him had left for other opportunities in the industry. Since the bar opened, in early 2007, cocktail culture had expanded tremendously in the nightlife industry of New York and cities around the country, as well as in the liquor industry. Craft cocktail bars proliferated; bars, restaurants, and hotels started cocktail programs ; and liquor companies created custom cocktails for their products—all based on the principles of mixology. Cocktail lists have become as common in nightspots as wine lists. Joaquin’s co-workers moved on to higher bartending positions at other cocktail bars, become consultants for new bar and restaurant projects and for liquor companies, and/or opened their own places based on their own ideas. As a prominent member of the occupational community (he was voted Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail in 2012), he certainly got his share of offers over the years, but kept choosing to stay put. “I definitely had that mentality going in of, ‘You’ve just got to prove so much. You’ve got a long way to go before you can really consider yourself to be anywhere near where these guys [his former co-workers] are at,’ but [moving up] was always the goal. I really wanted that to be the case. Being in that environment was such a great opportunity. That is why it took me so long to leave. I had numerous opportunities where people had offered me to run programs: ‘You have control over this,’ and ‘You can do that.’ I kind of never bought it. So many of those I am really glad I didn’t take because I saw what happened with those spaces later and I heard about who took the jobs and what they had to deal with there. I was like, ‘Man I’m so glad I didn’t leave Death & Co.’ That’s why it took five and a half years for me to finally leave the warm, dark embrace.” O u t c O m e s , I m p l I c a t I O n s , t h O u g h t s ‹ 251 › Joaquin kept working, and kept learning. He did some work for brands and events, which shaped his understanding of the industry. The right situation eventually appeared. “As those opportunities came up and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m good at doing this stuff with brands,’ ‘I’m good at doing event work,’ or ‘I don’t like doing this kind of event work,’ I was able to see how many more facets to the booze business there were and even how those things were changing. But after a while, five and a half years at a place, especially a place like that, you’re kind of ready to spread your wings and do something of your own. Ultimately, what Death & Co. does is it trains you to run your own program. That’s what that bar program is built to do. It gives you such a great education in terms of drinks and how to create menus and how to do all of this stuff. Also, it was such a highprofile bar that it then opened up doors in terms of media opportunities, abilities to do event work, consulting opportunities. That’s actually how I hooked up with these boys at Alchemy [Consulting].” Two veteran New York City bartenders, Toby Maloney and Jason Cott, run Alchemy Consulting. They have opened cocktail bars in Chicago, Minneapolis , and Nashville, the first of their kind in those cities. Joaquin finally decided to leave Death & Co. and join a group with a strong pedigree, with the goal of becoming an equity partner in a bar—to finally own his own place—which he accomplished in 2013, when Pouring Ribbons opened in the East Village, a ten-minute walk from Death & Co. “We found a space we liked. I knew I wanted a more open and egalitarian bar. I wanted a bigger bar, which I have certainly done here. We wanted it to be a place where grownups came...


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