Interview With Adrian Gonzalez Parrondo – Bar Manager at The Kensington Hotel

16th February 2024

Adrian Gonzalez Parrondo Cocktails

We’ve always had a passion for Fizz Cocktails here at Glass of Bubbly, experimenting and putting new recipes to the test, so when we learned of the new exciting 16 Strong Cocktail Menu at The K Bar in The Kensington Hotel, we just had to speak to the Bar Manager, his name is Adrian Gonzalez Parrondo, let’s find out about his life, career and The K Bar.

It’s Great To Speak With You, Adrian Gonzalez Parrondo, Tell Us A Little About Yourself And How You Became The Skilled Mixologist You Are Today? 

My name is Adrian, and I am originally from Madrid. My passion for bartending started in 2011 when my sister bought me a ticket to London for my 23rd birthday. When I saw the cocktail scene in the city, I completely fell in love, and I knew that one day I would move there.

After a year, without speaking a word of English, I decided to embark on a new adventure to London! It was tough to be out of my comfort zone, but the reward has been amazing.

I have worked in amazing bars and hotels that have shaped me into who I am today. From The London EDITION Hotel to the opening of The Ned, The Barcelona EDITION Hotel, Amazonico, and last but not least, the K Bar at The Kensington Hotel.

I never miss an opportunity to improve; I believe that everybody can be my mentor, and I always keep an open mind to ensure I gather all the information necessary for progress. If I were to define what has made me who I am today, it would be consistency. I think consistency is the key to success. We strive to improve daily and keep up with new techniques to enhance the experience for our guests and our team. The rest is trial and error.

Can You Share With The Process And Inspiration Behind Crafting Your 16 Strong Cocktail Menu?

When Jonatan Bou Guardiola, our Head Bartender, and I took over The K Bar more than a year ago, we realised that we were missing an element: a concept, an identity; something that can be easily spotted and understood by the guests.

We gathered with Ian Nolan, our Head of Bars, and started to think about what this could be. If you haven’t been to The K Bar, the tables are rounded mirrored tables. I was thinking with my elbows on top of the table, head down, eyes closed; and when I opened my eyes, I saw myself in the table. I looked around and saw mirrors around the room, behind the bar, almost everywhere, and a word appeared in my mind: Reflections.

It took us around 9 months to put everything together because we didn’t just want to create a menu written backward; we wanted every single cocktail to be based on a reflection and have a story behind it, so we could share these stories with our guests. Humankind has been sharing stories around campfires for thousands of years, and we do not want to underestimate that; in fact, we want to share them. We want our guests to have an amazing experience and leave the bar with memorable experiences and stories that can be shared with their friends and family.

The Reflections Menu, which was launched on the 24th of January, is the result of the hard work of Jonatan and the whole team together. They are your storytellers

For Anyone Looking To Experiment At Home, Crafting Their Own Sparkling Wine Cocktail, What Advice Would You Give Them?

Never forget the acidity and the sweetness in sparkling wines. Acidity can be explained by how much you salivate when taking a sip of your favorite sparkling wine. Depending on the sparkling wine you use, the sugar content and the acidity content will differ, from Champagne as the driest to Prosecco as the sweetest. When making a cocktail with Champagne, I always add a bit of extra sugar to balance its acidity and dryness, as if I were to make a cocktail with Prosecco, the sugar level will be balanced by the low acidity found in it.

I always recommend using 2 parts of a sour element (lemon, lime) and 1 and ½ parts of sugar (simple syrup or any kind of syrup) if the cocktail is Champagne-based, and 2 parts of a sour element and 1 part of sugar if you’re using Prosecco. The best example would be making an Aperol Spritz with Prosecco or with Champagne. Even though we all love Champagne, it would taste 100 times better with Prosecco, and your pocket would thank you too!

Never forget the trial and error when creating new cocktails, but remember the ratios, and everything you make will taste as if you were in your favorite bar.

What Ingredients Do You Enjoy Working With The Most When Crafting Your Cocktails, And If You Could Only Drink One Cocktail Again, What Would It Be?

“When Jonatan presented his first creation for The Reflections Menu to me, it piqued my curiosity to see a light green cocktail. I wanted him to sell me a story, and he certainly did.

The name of the cocktail is Pangea, inspired by the name of the supercontinent found on Earth during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras; in other words, all the continents we know now joined together. The drink is a Milk Punch made with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Coconut Rum, Banana, Lime, and clarified with coconut milk. Afterward, he added homemade Pandan Cordial, which added hints of grass, vanilla, and the characteristic green color to the drink (Pandan is a leaf found in many dishes in Southeast Asia). When I tried this drink for the first time, I was blown away, and not only me, but the whole team as well. I would love for you to have the same reaction I had when I tried this drink for the first time.

On the other hand, I love using all kinds of citrus, from clementines to kumquats. I adore acidity, and I almost always add a bit of citric, tartaric, or malic acid to all the preparations to cut the sweetness and give you a great sensation on the side of your mouth.

Thank you, Adrian, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong The Kensington Hotel. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.