Rebel House mixologist Kris Bahamondes is a true bar man. He can mix a drink better than we've seen in a long time, and has some innate way of teaching you a brilliant new bar trick while tasting something truly unique -- all in just one happy hour sitting. It's the kind of talent that makes you wish you could pour a drink to make the pretty girls swoon, and the hard-core gin drinkers nod in respect.
If that's the sort of experience you're looking for, then amble on over to Rebel House in Boca Raton and sample their new spring cocktail menu, which debuted March 21st.
Bahamondes began bartending during college. It was a job that allowed him a certain measure of creative freedom -- plus, he was good at it. Since then he's whipped up custom creations from Haven in Miami Beach, to Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach, one of which received the official Daniel Boulud stamp of approval and can still be found on the menu today. He's competed in several regional competitions, most recently the Tanduay Rum cocktail competition in Miami, where he took second place behind well-known Zuma mixologist Mark Kinzer.
But enough about Bahamondes. What about the drinks? This spring, new drinks stand out from the pack of signature favorites thanks to a creative and ever-rotating selection of seasonally-inspired flavors designed to work with menu new items. New infusions include a milky macadamia nut syrup, the first we've seen here, which you'll find in the Macadamia Mistress. There's also the colorful Berry Tea Smash, a potent drink that manages to strike the perfect balance between sweet and strong -- and can make a whiskey drinker out of almost anyone.
"Because so many of our clients love our drinks, we haven't gotten rid of anything, really," said Bahamondes, who streamlined the preparation for each drink allowing for a consistent cocktail no matter who is behind the bar. "Instead, I wanted to evolve them into something new, but still familiar."
For example, a popular drink -- the Cloudy Blue Sage -- once served in a short glass with an oversized ice cube has been swapped to a flute glass with a touch of champagne. The smokey finish that made it a perfect winter cocktail has evolved for a lighter, bubbly finish, and is served with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a touch of spring.
Still more comes from the molecular section, where Bahamondes employs the use of small cucumber caviar beads and wildflowers encased in globe ice cubes to make a lasting -- and beautiful -- impression. He also employs the use of a culinary smoking gun, as well as an atomizer that sprays a fine mist of absinthe for the new Green Goblin cocktail, a combination of Hendricks gin, Green chartreuse, basil syrup, lemon and cucumber.
The most tantalizing drinks, however, are the ones Bahamondes makes on the fly for customers looking for something different. If he manages to find a quiet moment, his creative side takes over, and a new drink takes shape before your eyes. Of course, for that kind of treatment you'll have to become a regular. And believe us, that isn't hard to do.
The Rebel House is located at 299 E. Palmetto Park Blvd. in Boca Raton. Visit www.lifetastesbetter.com or call 561-353-5888.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.