MONTEREY, Calif., — Fabian Osornio believes that a great cocktail requires three key components: spirit, sweet and bitter. But to him there’s a fourth intangible that elevates the experience — passion.
Named the new Cocktail Program Director for Montrio, the Carmel Valley native has a love for his craft and a desire to elevate what’s long been the pinnacle of cocktail programs on the Monterey Peninsula.
“You need to have love for what you do,” said Osornio, 35, who joins the team at Coastal Roots Hospitality (Montrio, Tarpy’s, Rio Grill) after working at several local restaurants. “Many times I've talked to guests knowing they feel my passion for the cocktail they are about to drink. I think it makes it taste even better.”
While his bartending philosophy is built around “less is more,” that doesn’t apply when it comes to his desire to please his guests. Osornio goes to great lengths to source the freshest ingredients. “We make all of our cordials, syrups and purées from scratch with fresh, seasonal ingredients,” he said. “I also like to infuse spirits using fresh produce.”
In the end, guests at Montrio will discover creative and balanced cocktails that will appeal to all the senses.
“First and foremost, you need to have a cocktail that is well-rounded,” he said. “You need to have a base spirit that will lend itself to mixing. Sweetness from fresh ingredients or syrup you make. Bitterness from either bitters themselves or a complementary ingredient like an Amaro.”
But then there is the visual element.
“I look at this much like the dining experience,” he said. “Something may taste amazing but we would never serve a guest a visually unappealing dish. You eat, and drink, with your eyes first.”
Osornio’s passion for food pointed him toward his profession. As a child his mother ran the kitchen at a popular Mexican restaurant and he would sit and watch the staff working hard, in unison, to create something delicious and amazing.
“I thought I wanted to be a chef but when I started to bartend I immediately knew it’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
During his career, Osornio has worked for major liquor brands such as Makers Mark, Absolut and Malibu, and is the mixologist for Salinas-owned Tequila Alderete.
In the end, however, a great drink doesn’t necessarily have to contain liquor.
“I love making mocktails,” Osornio said. “Someone who's not drinking for whatever the reason maybe needs to feel like they are part of the experience. Drinking cocktails is very much a social experience. I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.”
Coastal Roots Hospitality
2999 Monterey-Salinas Highway
Monterey, CA 93940
Coastal Roots Events & Catering