Irving Gonzalez has just been announced as new lead mixologist at The Westgate Hotel, and poster child for “dedication to craft”. Through years of experience in Baja California and San Diego, Gonzalez has developed a passion for crafting unforgettable cocktails.
A native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Gonzalez developed an early interest for the bartending industry. After earning a degree in Bar Administrations from Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Gonzalez served as the Head Bartender at the Hacienda Guadalupe and Mixologist at the Encuentro Guadalupe in Ensenada. At Hacienda Guadalupe, known as an avant-garde venue, he was able to develop his inspiration and creativity. These position gave him the opportunity to fine-tune his skills and develop bold flavors through unique techniques. Gonzalez found his niche through experimenting with fermentation, bringing modern twists to traditional Mexican drinks like Tepache and Pulque.
This fall, Gonzalez’s one-of-a-kind taste can be experienced through any of The Westgate’s signature cocktails. The 25-year-old has created a menu of handcrafted drinks exhibiting the distinct flavors and experiences that have influenced him so deeply. Mexican staples like Tamarind, Agave, Horchata water and Don Julio tequila have been blended with traditional mixes to create a drink experience unlike any other. His talent blends perfectly with the intimate Plaza Bar and the jazz music that is enjoyed there.
Gonzalez’s favorite part about his job is the opportunity to learn about people and culture. “There is so much more to a drink that just the ingredients that go into it,” says Gonzalez, “There is a history behind each and every cocktail that you experience through each of the different flavors and the way they mix together.”
A self-proclaimed “Beer Geek”, Gonzalez spends his free time making homemade beer and learning how different styles are enjoyed by different cultures. He also enjoys reading Stephen King novels, playing paintball with friends and traveling to unique destinations.