The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Martha Erroa’s Ketel One Martini

Martha Erroa represented El Salvador at the World Class Bartender of the Year competition, 2013

Casa ILB il Bongustaio boutique hotel is tucked away in a sleepy corner of San Benito, an upmarket residential barrio of San Salvador. It occupies a 1930s villa refurbished a decade ago in a clean, minimalist style with feature design details and bold artworks. The restaurant offers Florentine dishes to a mix of San Benito locals and vacationing guests, while the bar itself is a pioneer of cocktail culture in El Salvador and noted, in particular, for its extensive array of gins. The Casa is a peaceful haven in a quiet part of San Salvador, a perfect hub from which to explore the city, and the best place in town to get a cocktail when you’re done.

The Bartender

If not busy behind the bar of Casa ILB il Bongustaio, Martha Sandoval Erroa (Tita to her friends) is more than likely busy elsewhere in the hotel, as she’s also the general manager. The winner of World Class in El Salvador, Tita, 32, was particularly proud to beat all the men in the competition. She describes her style as: ‘simple, elegant, and always trying to keep a balance between flavours.’ She also enjoys using local produce, especially fruits such as passion fruit, tamarind and mandarin.

The Drink

‘The Ketel One Martini sums up Tita’s taste in cocktails perfectly, it being a slightly bitter, distinctly orangey take on the Martini. ‘I fell in love with Ketel One,’ explains Tita, ‘with its 300-year-old heritage and delicious citrusy flavour.’ As the recipe demonstrates, she’s also a big fan of modifiers (fortified wines or liqueurs that soften the base spirit and add a hint of flavour): ‘I love cocktails with a bitter touch,’ she says, ‘so things like Aperol, Campari and Vermouth are also favourite ingredients.’

The Technique

Ketel One • 60ml
Martini Rosso • 3ml
Aperol • 15ml
An orange for zest
Contains 21 grams of alcohol per serve

Shake the Ketel One and Martini Rosso in a chilled shaker. Pour into a Martini glass. Gently pour the Aperol down a bar spoon so it rests at the bottom of the glass. Grate zest from the orange over the cocktail to garnish.

Enjoy the Ketel One Martini as a sundowner before supper amid the luscious palms that surround the villa’s gardens. Or perch on a stool and chat with Tita at the bar.

Images by Raquel Arana

Martha’s Insider’s Guide to San Salvador

Place to stay
Casa Mía

Place to eat

Place to relax
El Tunco Beach

Place to lounge
Le Croissant

Place to shop

Place to visit
Marte Museum