Josué Gonzaléz for Rémy Martin

INTERVIEW: Mixologist Josué Gonzaléz Talks Tapping Into His Cuban Roots to Create Experiences

Rémy Martin

Josué Gonzaléz has always fancied himself as the life of the party – and it’s not just because he’s the one usually making the drinks.

For Gonzaléz, a Miami-based mixologist born in Cuba, a job in the hospitality industry was something he wanted to pursue as a career. He wasn’t sure, however, what path he wanted to take to get there.

“I originally wanted to be a chef, but I ended up finding my way behind the bar where I could use my culinary passion and host and entertain people,” Gonzaléz told Remezcla during a recent interview. “When you’re making beverages, you’re mixing them in front of people and doing a little flair. You’re having fun.”

Gonzaléz’s fascination with creating cocktails and engaging with customers aligns perfectly with Que Viva Rémy Sobremesa, a campaign developed by the Cognac brand Rémy Martin to showcase Latine communities and families coming together to take part in Sobremesa.

The time-honored tradition is defined by the time spent after a meal when people hang out, have conversations and just enjoy each other’s company. It allows collaborators like Gonzaléz to share their personal connection to Sobremesa and present their talents in a series of immersive social events across the country.

“During Sobremesa, you get to see more of a natural and pure version of everybody,” he said. “People start loosening up. Sobremesa is a concept that’s been engraved in me for a long time. Even when I’m at someone else’s gathering, I always gravitate to the person making the cocktails.”

That’s probably because the person making the drinks is the one who is usually keeping the party going, which is the same philosophy behind Sobremesa. “[Latines] never want to leave the party when it’s over,” Gonzaléz said. “There’s always more conversations and more fun to have. That’s when the heart and soul of the party comes to life.”

Gonzaléz describes himself as someone with “unwavering ambition, relentless drive, and an underlying tenacity” that gives him “more energy than what seems to be natural.” His personal motto is “Josué All Day.”

He uses that enthusiasm and confidence not only to mix cocktails and to keep a conversation going, but he’s also a great listener. As a mixologist, he has to play that role because many people who come to the bar want to talk. Others, however, want to be left alone with a good cocktail to keep them company.

“The beauty of hospitality is that not everybody wants the same thing,” Gonzaléz said. “I’m not trying to have the same conversation with everybody. Sometimes you build rapport with someone, and they come back to have more conversations. It’s really dictated by the nature of the environment and the occasion.”

Gonzaléz loves it when the occasion allows him to tap into his Cuban heritage and create something that makes him think of his motherland. For example, when he creates a drink called the Mambo Mango Royale, he thinks about the mango trees he used to climb as a kid in Cuba.

“Those rich flavors remind me of my childhood,” he said. “I don’t just create cocktails. I like to create experiences.”