Born in Ecuador and raised in Miami, Joaquín Simó has been chasing flavor and hospitality since he can remember.
For almost six years at New York's acclaimed cocktail bar Death & Company, Simó put his English major to good use as he regaled customers with the colorful stories and hallowed history of classic spirits and cocktails. After being honored as the American Bartender of the Year at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail, he opened Pouring Ribbons, his ode to conviviality and deliciousness in NYC's East Village.
He is also a partner in Alchemy Consulting, and has worked with clients such as Diageo, Pernod-Ricard, Food & Wine, and Hyatt Andaz Hotels. Joaquín is a member of the Tequila Interchange Project and a panelist at cocktail festivals from Portland to Paris. So pretty much everything we all wish we were.
We caught up with Simó earlier this week and asked him what five things he cannot live without. He was nice enough to tell us.
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Charbonize Laptop Bag - $250 "My daily commute is made infinitely more stylish and flexible with my Charbonize laptop bag," Simó says. "It has just enough pockets to allow for easy organization and access, but not so many that I'm hunting around a million compartments. The clean lines of the heavy-duty felt and leather look and feel phenomenal, but it's the oversize scale of the bag that really makes a bold statement when you walk into a room.
I can fit all sorts of random-sized items in there, which is very handy when you have to bounce from a meeting with a liquor company to a staff training and then into service."
TOTO Washlet S300 - $1,590 "This may sound ever so slightly crazy, but I've dropped over a grand on my toilet with zero regrets," he says. "Ever since spending 10 glorious days in the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel a few summers ago, I came back convinced that one of those remote panel-operated, heated seat, multiple-stream option toilet seats was a necessity rather than an indulgence.
What can I say? My wife was 100-percent right on this front and I have no idea why I held out as long as I did."
Baby blue Vespa 946 - $10,499 "This is a tricky category for me." Simó explains. "Despite my Miami upbringing (or perhaps because of it), I have never had a drivers license in over two decades of legal eligibility. I have spent my adult years between Boston and NYC, both of which have enough public transportation options to render a car a rather moot point.
Having said that, my wife has promised to buy me a Vespa to tool around San Francisco in when we realize our bi-coastal aspirations. I think a rakish baby blue Vespa 946 would suit me quite nicely."
Tagliabue Tour Bar - $1,000-$1,500 "My favorite home item is my home bar, which is an insanely sexy Italian number that has caused no shortage of dropped jaws and envious muttering when my peers come by my Brooklyn home. It's manufactured by the Italian furniture company Tagliabue—they call it their Tour Bar.
Basically, it looks like a giant egg covered in thin horizontal teak slats. That rolling shutter mechanism can be operated manually or (and here's where my bar buddies freak out) by remote control. It opens to reveal multiple light-up shelves to display rare bottles, as well as a pull out drawer with built-in dividers for bar tools and shelves for horizontal storage underneath."
My Arne Jacobsen Cylinda cocktail kit - Starts At $60 "Originally manufactured in 1967, this timeless bar kit is an effortlessly elegant way to mix up a pitcher of martinis for your guests. Every line is considered, every tool a study in functional minimalism, every piece a reassuring reminder in your hand of the quality of the craftsmanship involved in its production."
Bonus: Coach Leather
Black Arnold Boot - $345 "I love the mod look of the Arnold chelsea boot. My favorite jacket is a buttery black leather motorcycle jacket from Buenos Aires that is begging to have those boots paired with it come a crisp fall day. As a bartender on the move, I need well-made shoes to travel in (no laces!) that can get me through a business meeting seamlessly to a shift behind the bar."