[BETTER KNOW A BARTENDER] Mixology 101’s Omar Cano
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, the Ledger sits down with Omar Cano, bartender at Mixology 101 at the Farmers Market, to discuss his career and favorite drinks.
Where are you from?
I was born in Mexico City, but grew up in Vegas.
What brought you to Los Angeles?
The entertainment industry. Aside from bartending and the service industry, I’m a freelance sound, music and video editor. I actually do a lot of sound post-production, so I think it’s a good mix to do this and that because it’s all very people oriented and nearly everyone you meet at a restaurant in L.A. is in the entertainment industry—like, we have CBS studios right next to us so that helps out a lot.
How long have you been bartending?
How did you get into it?
My dad’s worked in the restaurant industry for most of my life. He was a server in a fine dining restaurant, so I learned a lot of the aspects of the job from him. Being in a restaurant around bars and cocktails, I thought it was very interesting to take care of people and make drinks at the same time.
What is one of the weirdest, funniest, strangest things you’ve seen on the job?
I’ve seen people get on top of the bar and dance. I’ve seen people display way too much PDA. I’ve seen people get into fights, especially in Vegas where it’s more high energy. This is a lot tamer than I’m used to. There was one incident at an afterhours club in Vegas and these girls started, out of nowhere, dancing on the bar and almost took off their clothes. It was almost like a strip club. We had to be like, “Hey, you’ve gotta keep your clothes on.”
What’s one of your favorite cocktails and what do you like about it?
I’m a whiskey drinker, so the one I always mix is called a Vieux Carre. It’s a classic drink from New Orleans. It means “old quarters,” like the French Quarter. It’s very complex, very smooth and it’s a sipping drink. I always tell people if you like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan, you’re going to like this.
1 oz Rye
1 oz Cognac
½ oz Benedictine
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and serve either on the rocks in an Old Fashioned Glass or up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.