Javier De Las Muelas The Universe of the Cocktail

Javier De Las Muelas The Universe of the Cocktail


Barcelona’s cocktail culture is legendary and there’s one visionary in particular committed to perfecting the martini lifestyle.
With his comprehensive coffee table book brimming with recipes, tips and stories, the upcoming launch of a creative product line called DropLets and several successful bars and projects in Barcelona and Asia, you could say that Javier de las Muelas, owner of the internationally renowned Dry Martini Cosmopolitan Bar and Gimlet, is at the top of his game. We catch up with him at Sundara, the architecturally stunning beachfront restaurant and bar at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, where he recently introduced Bali’s jet set crowd to a customised menu of innovative signature cocktails.

Exquisite Taste: You are a legend in many fields including mixology, bartending, hospitality, and entrepreneurship. What was the initial spark that created Javier de las Muelas?

Javier: When I was six years old, there was a cellar near our house in Spain where locals in the neighbourhood could buy wine from casks and people went there to have coffee and to socialise. It was a cosy atmosphere and I remember that feeling. When I was 18 years old and studying medicine, I used to go to Boadas, a very famous bar on the most well known street in Barcelona. It was a very small place owned by a barmaid who created a magical ambience. She was always there preparing the drinks with a lovely attitude and presentation. In 1978, I discovered the bar ‘Dry Martini’ and connected with the creator, Pedro Carbonell. He had a passion for life, music and art – his place it was like the Vatican to me. A few months later my friends and I opened our own place, Gimlet, with very little experience. Everyone dressed nicely in impeccable uniforms and the best music was always playing including live performances by the Pretenders and Blondie. After achieving a bit of success with Gimlet, I approached Mr. Carbonell about taking over Dry Martini if he ever decided to let it go. He agreed to my proposal a couple of years later and I was able to breathe some fresh life into such an iconic place.




Exquisite Taste: What is the dry martini lifestyle?

Javier: To me it represents the best and simplest things in life. The martini lifestyle is connected to movies and music, to strong cocktails with magic like a diamond or a good film.

Exquisite Taste: During your signature cocktail launch at Sundara, you said that passion is the most important ingredient in a mixologist’s or bartender’s job. What are you passionate about?

Javier: Passion is very important, as is knowledge; knowledge for me is the ultimate commodity. Passion is about all things that are simple including a smile, a smell on the street and children on their motorcycles. I also have a passion for handmade shoes, as my father was a shoemaker. I do have a love of fine clothing and luxury goods that are artisan crafted. Even when I was young and laid back with long hair, I always had good shoes.

Exquisite Taste: You have a love of flavour and ‘combining new experiences within the glass’. Is there one cocktail creation of yours that stands out as a favourite above the rest?

Javier: The Carnyvore – it costs 15 euros just for the plant that we use for the presentation. It is an art instillation with a feminine shape and is perfect when paired with a ceviche. The Carnyvore put Gimlet into the international spotlight, allowing us to be recognised as one of the world’s best bars.

Exquisite Taste: You are an innovator, one who enjoys going against what has already been established. In the competitive cocktail culture of today, how do your restaurants and bars in Barcelona as well as the new line of signature drinks at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay stay fresh and innovative?

Javier: We take care of our cocktails as if they were alive; always training the staff like a sports team would train. We are always working hard and looking for ways to improve, to innovate.

Exquisite Taste: Your beautiful coffee table book, “Javier de las Muelas Cocktails & Drinks”, offers glamorous recipes easy enough for everyone to make at home. How do you maintain that delicate balance of living both a fabulously chic and down-to-earth lifestyle?

Javier: It isn’t necessary to have to run all over town going to special gourmet markets to find the right ingredients. It isn’t important to know how many distillations a gin has. I love Asian cultures for their reverence of simplicity, like a dry martini, easy to prepare, but not always easy to find the right one when out. With the most normal people like artists and writers, I learn the most. Everyone should be treated the same, from the highest to the lowest. The most important is the name not the surname.

Exquisite Taste: Never one to rest on past laurels, you recently launched an aromatic collection called “DropLets by Javier de las Muelas”. What is this all about?

Javier: DropLets are naturally flavoured liquids created to enhance cocktails and food. Unlike a bitter, Droplets don’t have alcohol. We only use natural and fresh ingredients. A big trend with gin & tonics is to stuff the glass with salad and fruit. Our concept is to simplify cocktails, not make them more complicated. We have been working with a specialised company to extract the essences. Ginger is my current favourite.

Exquisite Taste: In addition to DropLets, what future goals are you looking forward to accomplishing?

Javier: Working with Sundara has opened my world up to local ingredients found only in Asia. At Sundara we have taken the concept of enjoying the cocktail even higher with our hand blown glass pitchers that contain enough of one cocktail for a group of friends to enjoy. The beachfront location is perfect for this and it’s just something that we don’t have in Barcelona. I look forward to connecting more with art and music, especially through an international theatre group called Mayumana. I enjoy connecting different forms of art, working with high school aged students to share my knowledge and to inspire them to follow their dreams.

Tea Time

– 4 cl Vodka.
– 2 cl Grand Marnier.
– 3 cl White Peach Pure.
– 1,5 cl Lemon Juice.
– 1 cl Giffards Vanilla Syrup.
– 4 DropLets Tea Time.

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass filled with ice.



Long Hot Summer

– 3-4 keffir Leaves.
– 4 cl Vodka Grey Goose.
– 2 cl Apricot Brandy.
– 2 cl Lemon Juice.
– 2 cl Giffards Mandarin Syrup.
– 4 cl Schwppes Soda.
– 5 DropLets Rosemary.

Shake all the ingredients with ice except the soda, strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with soda, stir and serve with straws.



Thousand Nights



– 1 star anise.
– 2 green cardamoms.
– 3 bar spoon passion fruit seeds.
– 1 cl lime juice.
– 2 teaspoons of sugar cane syrup.
– 1.5 cl egg white.
– 1 cl yellow Grand Marnier.
– 4 cl passion fruit juice (must be intense and sweet, if you do not have juice, with frozen passion fruit puree, adding sugar and water it works).
– 4 cl dark rum like havana club 7 or similar.

– Crush cardamom with a muddler in Boston’s shaker and then add the anise starry crush already prepared just enough to break the star shape.
– Add the remaining ingredients except passion fruit seeds.
– In a Martini glass (25cl capacity) we add crushed ice until half vessel.
– Shake the Boston Shaker for 20 seconds with plenty of ice, and serve the cocktail with double strainer. (Boston strainer and fine mesh strainer) so that it appears perfectly clean.
– Add the passion fruit seeds (3 teaspoons) and some saffron in the center part of the cocktail to garnish.
– Serve the cocktail with two short straws.

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