Alex Velez

Alex Velez

alex-velez-largeAlex Velez has been working in restaurants since the mid 90s, growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He set his path on going to college and earning a degree in forensic psychology in order to work in mortuary services. During this time, he worked behind the bar at some of Puerto Rico’s most notable restaurants and hotels, where he honed his skills and began competing in, and winning, cocktail competitions.

In 2005, Alex moved to Chicago to pursue his education. He studied psychology and worked as a flair/lead bartender at the Hotel Hyatt Regency, developing and refining their cocktail menu. He continued to win cocktail competitions at the local, as well as the regional level. Alex then worked at the famous Checkerboard Lounge, where he prepared drinks for rock legends like Mick Jagger and Buddy Guy. He refined his avant-garde approaches to crafting cocktails and began to incorporate these techniques into his menus and competition cocktails.

In late 2006, Alex made the move to Las Vegas. He transferred to the University of Las Vegas to continue earning his degree and worked as a bartender, developing cocktail menus for multiple venues like Mandalay Bay and Station Casinos. Alex was also an instructor at the Crescent City Bartending School, where he built the first higher-education bilingual bartending training course offered to low income students.

Alex then moved to Sante Fe, where he helped launch the New Mexico chapter of the USBG. In his first year there, he won and placed in more than 10 national & international competitions. Currently he is the bartender at Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. His approach to creating cocktails is to first understand the palate of his demographic. It’s also crucial to understand the breakdown of ingredients, Velez says. It’s about knowing how a citrus fruit oxidizes and incorporating it into the cocktail at just the right time.” He’s been using The Perfect Purée products since the very beginning of his career, he says. He’s taught his students how to use the purees and continues to incorporate them into several of his current cocktails. Alex has become well known for his sour mix, which uses The Perfect Purée’s Yuzu Luxe Sour. He combines the Yuzu Luxe Sour with key lime juice and orange blossom honey to make his margarita. He loves the consistency of the products and the always-fresh, always-the-same flavor and texture.

In Fall 2013, Alex moved further west to San Francisco, where helped develop the bar program for Bergerac and Audio Discotech. He will create new regional and seasonal cocktails, many of which will incorporate The Perfect Purée’s line of products.

Featured Recipes by Alex Velez

Boiling Paloma
Chi Chi Ox
Aztec Fire Elixir

Recipe Video by Alex Velez