Paris and NYC, but mostly NYC.
I am Nico de Soto and I am an/a mixologist/ bar owner.
How many countries have you traveled to?
Just came back from India which was the 70th. I’m very lucky.
Which one is your favorite? Why?
I would say Australia. I lived there for two years and that’s where my love for travels started. I visited 56 countries since then. This is a beautiful island/continent. When I was there I bought a van and drove all over.
Most memorable cultural experience?
Going to Tana Toraja on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. There you find a culture where life revolves around death. Though deeply Christian, they still maintain their animist beliefs on death, sending their dead off in extravagant ceremonies that last days.
You take inspiration from cultural herbs to incorporate in your drinks recipes, tell us a good story that led to a drink creation.
When I was in Indonesia (actually a week before Tana Toraja), I visited the small island and powerful former sultanate of Ternate. You have Ternate and Tidore: two volcanos that come out of water of form two islands. A little guy showed me around the island of Ternate, and where the spices came from. Ternate and Maluku were famous for spice trade, including nutmeg and cloves. I told that little guy that one day I will create a drink called Kota Ternate (Kota is the name for city, Kota Ternate being the main town of the island), with those spices and Indonesia Arrack (Rum from there). That’s what I did and that drink is still on many menus around the world. Sadly, I don’t think he knows.
How do you prepare for exploration of taste in a new country?
I just take a flight in and flight out. The rest is free style, unless it’s high season and booking in advance is highly recommended.
You were involved in starting ECC in London, Mace in NYC, Danico in Paris. Each city has its own unique groove, what aspects do you consider of people's lifestyles when creating a decor and drinks menu?
I was the beverage director of ECC, opening back to back London and NYC. Mace and Danico are mine which is a bit different. Those are three different cities but World Capitals. Drinking culture is already established and people have an educated palate. I just go my way. Drinks inspired from food and travels, culinary techniques and layers of flavors. Sophisticated flavors in a relax environment and good service, because that’s what people want, wherever they are.
What drink should we have when visiting Danico?
The Kota Ternate !!!! It’s a clarified Milk Punch that takes three days to make. If you don’t know the story you didn’t read up ;)
Sophistication is a high level of service and flavors in my world without showing it too much. The opposite of those said high level places where everything is in the design but where quality and service suck. No name dropping ;)