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Valentin Gonzalez at End of the Century Bar
Raydene SalinasValentin Gonzalez at End of the Century Bar

Bartender Tales: Valentin Gonzalez of End of the Century Bar

Written by
Rheanna O’Neil Bellomo
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Each week, we dive into the world of NYC bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of New York City.

Valentin Gonzalez, bartender, End of the Century Bar

What’s your signature drink? 
Tiki drinks are my specialty. They’re more exciting and nicer-looking than classic cocktails, and I like that they require a bit of imagination. The 1934 Zombie that I created is my favorite. It has Jamaican and aged rums, plus absinthe, so that’s really all you’ll need all night long—unless you’re looking to get next-level drunk.

Is that what you prefer to drink?
Oh definitely, but particularly piña colada variations. I like adding fresh berries or ginger, but lately I've been hooked on the Classic Miami Vice: half daiquiri and half colada. I like to layer them so you get the creaminess at the beginning and the tartness at the end, but some people like to mix them together.

Anything you’d rather not make? 
Apple martinis and vodka sodas. To me, there’s no flavor in them, and they’re boring. If someone orders one, I take that as being afraid of trying something new, so I’ll try to sway them into having a drink I come up with on the spot. 

How do you do that exactly? 
When I’m behind the bar, it’s like I have superpowers. I’ll challenge people to drinking contests, dare them to make out with me and talk to them about their love lives. 

You must have some crazy stories. 
Oh, I’m a troublemaker. I once convinced a woman back when I was working at PKNY that there was an orgy in the backroom, when really it was just my friend having a party with a group of people. After Imade her a scorpion bowl, she tried to get back there in just her underwear. 

Where do you hang out?
I drink a lot when I’m behind the bar, so I don’t go out often. For refreshers during my shift, I’ll make everyone a daiquiri, and we’ll shoot them. We call them snack-uiris. When I do go out, it’s only for a drink or two at my favorite spots, like mescal and tequila cocktails at Mayahuel.

Suffering Basterd at End of the Century BarPhotograph: Cayla Zahoran

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