Deconstructing Cocktail Culture

REPOST: URBAN MILWAUKEE, By Juan Miguel Martinez – Jun 26th, 2020, Photo by Juan Miguel Martinez

Brandon Reyes offers a philosophy of bartending flavored by his Puerto Rican heritage.

Bittercube is the chocolate factory. The cocktails are the snozzberries and the chocolate river, and Brandon Reyes is Willy Wonka. He is a second generation Boricua, born in Riverwest and raised amongst its rich culture, with plentiful meals and an array of delectable sweets. He never lost his island dialect when speaking Spanish, nor his sensibility with flavors, creating imaginative cocktails and N/A drinks. He once fashioned a drink out of Chicha Morada, a Peruvian purple corn. This is an example of how his Latino roots have carried on throughout his career, and it shows in the ingredients he chooses for the mind-bending flavor combinations he concocts. There is a history, a representation of the culture in everything he creates.

Most recently, he created six new batch cocktails for Bittercube’s pick up menu. There is WEPA!, Stone Garden, Blue Moon, Cap N’ Corn, Just gimme an Old Fashioned, and the (almost) classic Negroni. WEPA! is inspired by his heritage, with flavors inspired by a Puerto Rican candy he grew up on. There is a Coqui (chirping frog) on the label, and it is made with a sesame seed candy, Ron De Barrilito and orange peel. Ron de Barrilito is the premier rum of the island, a favorite among the people of Puerto Rico, making it an experiment in authenticity. WEPA! is a versatile Spanish word used to express joy and excitement.