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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José Maria Garces Cadavid’s The Golden Chest

José Maria Garces Cadavid represented Colombia at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

La Patrona is a restaurant bar in the heart of Barranquilla, chief hub of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The food is a Mexican-Colombian fusion and it joins a sister venue in the city, the nightclub AWA Helada. La Patrona is certainly the less crazy sister, though it displays a maturity which belies its tender age (it only opened six months ago). The restaurant inside is calm and collected, but things still get pretty lively out on the terrace, thanks in part to the elaborate and colourful presentations of the bar team.

The Bartender

José Maria Garces Cadavid, 37, buzzes between the venues as bar manager at both. José lists mixology gurus Dale DeGroff, Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry and Salvatore Calabrese among those who inspire him in the industry. While he believes that inspiration can come from anywhere, he credits his country as a source of much of his. ‘It’s part of who I am and how I express myself. We’re lucky that we have a lot of fruits that flourish best in this region, things like lulo, guanabana, zapote and granadilla,’ he says, ‘while others develop a distinct taste when grown here, such as dragon fruit and currants.’

The Drink

The Golden Chest is typical of José’s creations in that it draws on Colombian references and a sense of theatre. It evokes the days when pirates prowled the Spanish Main and draws on the agave and wild honey tastes and citrus aromas of Don Julio. Served in an aureate little trunk, garlanded with Colombian orchids, and made with local green lemons, homemade syrups of orgeat and violets, it recalls an era and a place. A kind of Mai Tai poured for camp buccaneers, the Golden Chest is certainly a treasure worth tracking down.

The Technique

Don Julio Añejo • 30ml
Grand Marnier • 15ml
Homemade orgeat syrup • 10ml
Homemade violet syrup • 5ml
Fresh lemon juice • 15ml
Zacapa 23 (to float) • 30ml
Contains 24 grams of alcohol per serve

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker. Shake well and stir. Pour into a chilled snifter glass. Present with the Zacapa in a shot glass for the customer to float, or lower in to the cocktail.

The Golden Chest is to be savoured on the terrace after a day on the beach, either with supper or as a standalone; you’ll find a lively sense of carnival out there, and tapas that tie in to the drink. Truly theatrical, the splendid presentation of drinks at La Patrona makes it a fantastic high-octane Caribbean destination in itself.

Images by Harry Nuñez

José’s Insider’s Guide to Barranquilla

Place to stay
Sonesta Hotel

Place to eat
El Cellar

Place to relax
Climandiaro Sunset Beach Bar

Place to lounge
Coco Beach Sunset Bar

Place to Dance
AWA Helada

Place to shop
Multiplaza / Avenida Escazú

Place to visit
Puerto Colombia town

Place to see
Pradomar or Santa Veronica beaches