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Interview with Julián Gómez, Head Bartender of Kabuki Bar

In Look the Luxury, we interviewed Julián Gómez, Head Bartender at the spectacular Kabuki Bar, an exquisite cocktail temple with a short menu to enjoy a selection of Japanese tapas, located at 38 Lagasca Street, right in the heart of the Salamanca district in Madrid, open continuously from 13:00 until 01:00 Tuesday through Thursday, and until 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Their classic cocktail offerings are complemented by sake, umeshu, Japanese whisky, matcha tea, ginger, yuzu, and other ingredients. Japanese products take the spotlight in the most innovative creations. Kabuki Bar is poised to become the new place to be in the capital of Madrid. A casual, glamorous, and lively spot to enjoy a drink during your shopping in the area or for an after-work gathering.

How have these months been since the opening?

It’s been challenging. Meeting deadlines and maintaining the required quality was difficult. However, the collective effort of the entire team and the achieved results have been truly rewarding.

What has it meant for you, Julián, to be able to step behind the bar in a project like this?

It has been an unparalleled experience and a valuable learning process. Having the opportunity to develop myself through the experience gained in such an ambitious project from scratch has been incredible. From creating the cocktail menu, selecting liquors, choosing glassware and ice, to training the staff and negotiating agreements… it’s truly an extremely enriching experience.

How has it been translating the soul of the legendary Kabuki cuisine into your cocktail menu?

It was presented as a real challenge, given that Chef Alejandro Durán’s level of cuisine is excellent, and at that time, my lack of knowledge about Japanese culture and products forced me to learn and adapt a menu that was versatile enough to pair with all the dishes while still being enjoyable on its own. The result is being well-received.

From the most classic to the most groundbreaking, what are your favorite cocktails? And what about the customers’ favorites?

In classic cocktails, I’m a big fan of the Penicillin, Naked & Famous, and Espresso Martini.

From our menu, I particularly enjoy the JUU and NI cocktails since they involve a lot of technique, have an elegant presentation, and showcase the base spirit quite prominently. The favorite cocktail among our customers is the SAN. It’s elegant, eye-catching, very easy to pair, and in terms of flavor, it’s floral and citrusy with an intriguing sweet note from the lychee.

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