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Jordi Millán: “El gintònic ha arribat per quedar-se”

Posted on 5/1/2018 by
Annabel Saavedra

Millán received the "Young Entrepreneur" award in 2015 as part of Europe Day in the Catalan

city of Berga

The Catalan 'bartender' devotes much of his time to offer cocktails for weddings, businesses

and workshops for individuals

She considers that the success of gin and tonic is due to women: "They made it theirs and

thanks to that, they have developed sweeter gins with floral touches"

ANNABEL SAAVEDRA AND CLARA DE MELO.- Agronomist, co-founder of a computer products

company, promoter of cocktail, catering and winemaking establishments, writer and, now,

'father' of Gintònic.cat. His main goal in life: "To be happy, that's what it's about, isn’t it?"

QHE- The entrepreneur is born or is it made?

I believe that it is born. I consider myself an entrepreneur: no matter how many people tell me

to stop with my project, when an entrepreneur really falls in love with the project, he gets it

ahead.

QHE- How do you go from being responsible for quality control and labour risks of a large

company to making lollipop shots with dry ice?

One thing is what I studied because I thought it was the best for me, and I chose to be an

agronomist and the other is passion. I have a passion for cocktails, although at first I thought it

was a hobby. But in the end, we have to get up every morning and be happy, right?

QHE- How and when did Gintònic.cat emerge?

It arises in 2009, it is the result of the chance that a great friend, Pere Castells -from the Alícia

Foundation-, asked me if I could prepare cocktails for his daughter's wedding. I said yes and I

liked it so much that, when I returned home, I went around and thought about the possibility

of offering cocktail caterings in more places. I asked myself: Why cannot we do with the

cocktails the same as with the food? Offer them to any company and place.

QHE- How are your caterings different from gastronomic ones?

Most caterings are gastronomic and incorporate drinks. We, the other way around: we are

born as cocktails catering and, although we have professionals who could cook, I refuse. We

are dedicated to cocktails and we specialize in our own.

QHE- What is the main objective of Gintònic.cat?

Gintònic.cat was born to generate experiences. We organize from big corporate parties,

weddings, private parties in your home, to caterings of non-alcoholic cocktails for a five-year-

old's birthday parties. We also organize cocktail workshops for people with disabilities and for

any type of person who wants to start in the world of cocktails, who wants to learn how to

make gin-tonics or even want to learn how to create craft liqueurs like those made by our

grandparents.


QHE- Founder of the cocktail bars Glaç (in Manresa and Berga) and La Granja (Berga), you

learned the art of classic cocktails from the hand of one of the most prestigious bartenders:

Josep Maria Gotarda. The love of your profession, do you owe it to him?

Indeed, my teacher is him. He is the one who woke me up and taught me that the world of

cocktails goes far beyond preparing mixes. It was the one who made me think about whether,

really, I wanted to be an agronomist or I wanted to dedicate myself to being a bartender. But I

do not owe everything to him; I also owe it to Manel Tirvió - a well-known bartender in

Catalonia. He is my confidante, the person with whom I have always had a few minutes to

advise me, quarrel or give me a tap on the back.

QHE- What is the formula to be a good 'bartender'?

Two things:

1. Have a good base of classic cocktails. Without a good foundation you will never be a good

bartender.

2. Know everything involved in a cocktail: the distillates, the liquors, know where they come

from and how they are made to know which mixtures can work and which ones cannot.

QHE- Then, even being a gin-tonics specialist, you know how to make any type of cocktail.

Yes. Actually, I started making cocktails in general and then I discovered gin and tonic. I got

interested, I looked for the different types of gins that exist and, thus, I started with gin and

tonic. In 2007 I bought the brand 'Gintònic.cat' and we were the first to start in earnest with

this world.

QHE- Why has this combination become so fashionable?

It is clear that marketing has helped a lot in that, but I have always argued that there is a main

element, and that women have been its main prescribers. And that has a lot of strength:

women made gin and tonic as their drink and that caused us to go through gins that, in

general, were dry with gins with touches of flowers, sweeter and many of them, pink. Possibly

this is because his audience - mainly women in the beginning - like that.

QHE- How many types of gin-tonics can we find in the market?

You can do gin-tonics in many ways, there are multiple combinations. A few years ago, you

used to find in a cocktail bar five or six gins and one or two tonics, at the most. And, at the

most, you put it with a slice of lemon. Today, there are 400 or 500 different gins, I could not

tell you exactly how many there are. And the number of tonics has also grown; there will be

about 30 or 40, with which you can make hundreds of combinations of gin and tonic.

QHE- With the arrival of gin and tonic, what about magic and imagination in the cocktail

industry?


The cocktail are like cooking: it is not just about reproducing a recipe, but the grace is to give it

new touches. As in everything, there is a personal part, which each exploits more or less. For

me, for example, I really like botany, looking for those plants that can give a different flavour

to gin and tonic. Plants that can give a little game and new flavours.

QHE- The gin and tonic had its boom time. Is it now in decline?

That the gin and tonic had a time when it was super trendy is true. But like everything, it has its

high points of success, which in its case could be 2013 and 2014. The process has been as it

follows: in 2004 they asked you for a gin and tonic; in 2007, a gin and tonic 'of', for example,

from gin Tanqueray Ten and, instead, in 2010 they asked you for a gin and tonic 'of' and 'with',

for example, from Schweppes and with cinnamon or lime. But, like everything, it reached its

peak and yes it is true that it has deflated a bit. But the gin and tonic are here to stay, they just

need to find its place and see what gins, what tonics and what kind of combinations work.

QHE- You work for companies, fairs, weddings, and have even collaborated with the chef with

a Michelin star, Nandu Jubany. How is this marriage born?

Gintònic.cat has several legs: weddings, private events for companies, training for companies

that want to incorporate cocktails in their establishments and even workshops for friends,

among others, with which we carry out many events on the same day and at the hands of

many people. For example, from the hand of concrete farms that organize events or caterings

such as Nandu Jubany or Les Magnòlies, who have asked us to give them a hand with the

mixology.

QHE- The cocktail that you embroider?

I'll tell you the least I enjoy doing: the mojito. It is one of the most prostituted cocktails in

history. Nowadays there are mojito cakes, mojito sweets, mojito chewing gum ... So, in the

end, people do not know what the real flavour of a mojito is, when they taste the combination

maybe they do not like it or they think it tastes 'weird', because they do not know what a

mojito tastes like.

QHE- If I sign up for one of your courses, will I become a 'black belt' of the combined ones?

No. We give initiation courses to the cocktail bar. Then a barman is made working and

practicing every day, like everything.

VERY PERSONAL, BY ANNABEL SAAVEDRA


A brand of gin?

Tanqueray Ten.

Nocturnal or daytime?

For work, night, but as a person I like to take advantage of the day.

A place to get lost?

Some mountain of the Berguedà.

They drive you crazy ...

Chestnuts.

The perfect gin and tonic takes ...

A good glass, good ice, a good gin, a good tonic and a lemon twist.

Beer from Barreja (Berga typical drink) or beer?

Beer from Barreja.

The perfect dish for Jordi Millán on a Sunday is ...

A good stew of meat.

When traveling with your family, what do you always put in your suitcase?

We never leave without our wine glasses.

Any confessable hobby?

I enjoy picking out mushrooms.


In your house there is always a bottle of ...

Wine.

Do you have a weakness for cooking?

A lot.

A series?

"El Crac", by Joel Joan.


What is your favorite cocktail?

The gin and tonic.

In the kitchen, do you listen to music?

Always.

A memorable concert?

Antònia Font and Obrint Pas, in Mallorca

When you grow up you want to be ...

I would like to continue being happy.

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