Aaron Melendrez

Aaron has been mixing up drinks for as long as he can remember, whipping up classics like the Tom Collins, Tequila Sunrise and Kamikazes before he even knew what they were called. At sixteen he started as a barback in a local restaurant to now working as a bartender in one of Los Angeles’ oldest running bars, Cole’s Red Car Bar, which has been in operation since 1908.

When Aaron is not mixing up cocktails behind the bar, he spends a lot of time in the kitchen developing new flavors. “I’m constantly working on new infusions, syrups, shrubs, and new ways to bring fresh approaches to drinking.”

Aaron makes use of local ingredients by including market produce, like organic carrots, snap peas and prickly pears, in his cocktails. He also stresses the importance of keeping cocktails simple, using no more than 4-5 ingredients in his cocktails. His favorite tool to use when concocting his drinks is his pitchfork ice pick, which he uses for the perfect piece of ice every time.

Aaron feels a strong connection to the bartending community. He plays on a soccer team comprised of Los Angeles bartenders and loves being a part of this tight knit group. “I don’t know many other professions where you can be greeted and welcomed so kindly because of the skills we share.”