As cocktail street cred goes, it doesn’t get much more legit than mixologist Gui Jaroschy. His robust résumé includes stints slinging drinks at Miami hotels such as the Delano South Beach, the W, and the Freehand—but it’s that last one that gets people talking.
As one of the original bartenders hired by the co-founders of the Freehand Miami’s vaunted Broken Shaker bar, which burst out of the gate in 2012, Jaroschy helped revolutionize cocktail culture as we know it, concocting out-of-the-ordinary drinks with seasonal ingredients (think: star fruit and just-plucked herbs), many grown in the bar’s on-property garden.
At the lush, poolside Shaker, Jaroschy was known for his tiki-style libations, seeking out regional produce and topping cocktails with offbeat touches like fuzzy flamingos or beautiful flowers—or, as he puts it, “cutting a giant ribbon of watermelon and cupping the whole thing in it.” Did we mention this was pre–Instagram culture?
“It really became all about, ‘Let’s make it fun, and let’s make it out-there, as long as it connects with people and it’s good,’” he says.
His flair for unusual but tasty creations turned heads on a national scale, eventually earning the bar two James Beard nominations for Outstanding Bar Program and a Best New Mixologist nod for himself from Food & Wine—and plenty of job offers. Despite his handful of flings with the marketing side of spirits brands, in talking with Jaroschy, it’s evident that his heart has always been in getting his hands dirty, dreaming up the things that people drink.
So it makes sense that mere months ago, hospitality giant SBE scooped Jaroschy up and crowned him its corporate beverage director, entrusting him with developing the cocktail menus for SBE’s global roster of 175-plus hotel, restaurant, and bar properties, from the SLS Brickell in Miami to the Mondrian in Doha.
Before those pink flamingoes and tropical flowers made him famous, though, Texas-bred Jaroschy earned his seat at the culinary table little by little, starting at age five, when his mother enrolled him in cooking classes. He enjoyed them so much that he pocketed extra allowance whipping up meals for the family each week.
After graduating from the University of Texas with a cultural anthropology degree and moving to Miami in 2006, he worked his way up at the Delano from breakfast waiter to bar manager, soaking up as much knowledge as he could about how an operation works. Every day, he set small goals for himself, gradually getting better at bartending—and surprising people in the process.
“Mixology bridged the gap between a lot of things that I really like, which is making things that excite people, but also I like a bar setting, and I like socializing, so it was a perfect match for me,” he says. From the Delano, Jaroschy went to the W, then to his starmaking turn at the Broken Shaker, then to Generator Hostels—consulting along the way for major brands like British Airways—and, now, SBE, where he’s teaching others and expanding his prowess.
His first project for SBE was SAAM, the SLS Brickell’s Philippe Starck–designed, adventure-themed cocktail lounge decorated with images of Antarctic explorers and rugs that look like giant nautical maps. The two-pronged cocktail menu plays on that spirit: The Base Camp section offers twists on classics, such as an old-fashioned made with rosemary, thyme, and CBD oil; the Into the Wild portion is all about breaking convention, as evidenced by the Cloud Nine, a Korean honey citron tea with basil and vanilla Stoli vodka.
Launching soon is Jaroschy’s cocktail program for SBE’s Katsuya sushi restaurants—one in the SLS South Beach—which will incorporate plum wine. Up next? Collaborating with James Beard Award–winning chef Nate Appleman on cocktails for Umami Burger. Then it’s on to properties in New York and the rest of the world.
But those old, humble post-college lessons die hard: The daily goal-setting approach he used to hone his cocktail-making skills at the Delano is one he now preaches in management at SBE.
“When I teach cocktails to bartenders who maybe don’t have a ton of experience, I make this list of 50 classics that I think every cocktail bartender should know,” he says. “I really try and impress upon them that it’s not so that if a cocktail nerd walks into their bar, they know what the drink is. It’s kind of like learning scales on an instrument or a key on a guitar. If something is in the key of G and you know the notes in that scale, it’s much harder to go wrong.”
Despite the freewheeling culture at the Broken Shaker, it was there, Jaroschy says, that he learned the importance of a brand, even when the Shaker team took their skills on the road, traveling to far-flung locations like Iceland or making drinks in a warming cabin in Aspen. But for all of Jaroschy’s globe-trotting—past, present, and future—there’s no denying his roots.
“I went to Caña Rum Bar here in L.A., and I could have ordered anything, but I had a mojito,” he says of a recent work trip. “I discovered that the bartender was from Miami, and it was a wonderful mojito. It’s like a little taste of home.”