Julio Cabrera’s journey to helming the bar is one filled with rich history and international influence. Growing up in Cuba, Cabrera’s earliest memories are of playing at his father’s 24-hour bar in the front of their house. It was there that he began to develop his love and appreciation for bartending. He attended college and received a degree in engineering specializing, in coffee, sugarcane and citrus, and although he held several managerial positions, he always felt that his calling was to be a bartender, a Cantinero.

 

In 1989, Cabrera made the decision to pursue his passion and has been working in the bartending industry ever since. He boasts a diverse portfolio of international work in his native Cuba, Italy, Cancun and Miami. After winning a number of Cuban cocktail competitions, he was selected to represent as a bartender in Italy a prominent brand of Cuban rum and gained experience managing events and promotions around Europe.

 

Julio became a member of the International Bartender Association (I.B.A.) years later and participated in the I.B.A. World Cocktail Competition in Slovenia in 2002. From there, he worked as the Bar Manager of the Grand Aqua Hotel and the Condesa Hotel, both in Cancun, Mexico.

 

In 2004, a serendipitous meeting with the award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein resulted in a long-term collaboration between the two. Cabrera moved to Miami when Michelle launched her restaurant, Michy’s, and two years later, after completing the Beverage Alcohol Resource Program in New York, he collaborated to open Sra. Martinez, managing the bar. His cocktail creations at Sra. Martinez’s helped the restaurant gain recognition in 2012 as one of the 100 best bars in America.

 

In 2012, Cabrera joined LDV Hospitality in Miami to help open the Regent Cocktail Club, becoming Managing Partner. There, he and his team of premier bartenders aimed to preserve the classic cocktails of the world by only using the highest quality products and techniques.

 

To date, Cabrera touts an impressive lineup of awards and recognition. He is the 2011 winner of MixItUp’s “The Ultimate Mixology Challenge” held in New York, the 2012 winner of Mixing Star in Las Vegas, and the 2013 and 2014 first runner up in the Diageo World Class USA Finale. He also was recognized as the 2013 Most Imaginative Bartender of America by GQ, Bombay Sapphire and the U.S.B.G after winning the national finals in Las Vegas. Julio was also selected as the “American Bartender of the Year 2019” by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundaton,

 

With his consulting company Red Shaker, Julio has created cocktail programs for several hotels and bars around the world, such as Nizuc Luxury Hotel in Cancun, World famous Ball & Chain, Seagrape, Crown Room and 1930’s House at Thompson Hotel, Dolce Italian at The Gale, and World Class Bar on Celebrity Cruises.

 

Julio Cabrera can be found working in his new bar Café La Trova, training aspiring bartenders in the art of crafting cocktails, or working on his book. His ultimate dream is to become a professor for a new generation of bartenders in and pass down the Cantinero’s Legacy.

Current Occupation(s):

​Julio Cabrera can be found working in his new bar Café La Trova, training aspiring bartenders in the art of crafting cocktails, or working on his book. His ultimate dream is to become a professor for a new generation of bartenders in and pass down the Cantinero’s Legacy.

Location:

Miami, FL

Bartender that inspires you today:

Dale DeGroff

What book (or other resource) should every new bartender use to learn?

Imbibe, the Essential Classics