[BETTER KNOW A BARTENDER] Candela’s Rafael Cordoba

The Larchmont area is home to some of Los Angeles’ best bars and restaurants but how well do you know the bartenders who help keep the party going? This month we sat down with Rafael Cordoba, bartender at Candela Taco Bar and Lounge, to discuss his career and favorite drink.


Where are you from?


I was born in Mexico City.


What brought you to Los Angeles?


I don’t know, life I guess. Haha. My parents brought me when I was a kid.


How long have you been bartending?


12 years.


How’d you get into it?


I went to bartending school. I hated my job. I was working at a prep cook and it was just horrible. I don’t like working in the kitchen. It just gets too hot.


So would you look over at the guys at the bar and think “Hey…?”


No, not even, back then I didn’t even drink. I was hanging out with my now ex-wife at a bar before we got married and I was watching the bartenders and I thought that seems pretty cool. I ask one of the bartenders, “How do I get into this?” and he says “You probably want to go to bartending school. I found one, enrolled and that’s how I got started. I’ve been doing it ever since.


What’s one of the funniest, weirdest, most interesting things you’ve seen on the job?


It depends, there are so many things. Just girls getting drunk and out of control, but it depends on the place where you work. I used to work at a nightclub before and it was nuts. Now I work in a restaurant and it’s more chill. If you work at a nightclub or neighborhood bar, people will drink more. I can’t think of anything in particular.


What’s one of your favorite drinks, what do you like about it and how do we make it?


I have this drink called Mescaline. I love mezcal and I came up with this out of nowhere. They were asking for something with mezcal and lime juice, so I added that, a little bit of honey and a little pineapple juice because I find that goes along well with mezcal. Then I sprinkle the top with the Tajin powder. You can pour that over ice or serve it up in a Martini glass.




1 ½ oz Mezcal

1 oz Lime Juice

½ oz Honey

½ oz Pineapple Juice


Shake with ice and strain into either a rocks glass with ice or a Martini glass without ice. Sprinkle a dash of Tajin seasoning over the drink before serving.

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