The lively, friendly and forever smiling Giovanny Gutierrez is always ready to make those around him comfortable and at ease. Not just with his drinks (which is bound to make you feel pretty darn good), but with his very charming and outgoing personality. When it comes to the drink scene, Gio is a whiz and never fails to drop a little bit of his Cuban culture into the mix to bring that extra flare. We had the chance to spend the day with this notable socialite and dig a little deeper into what makes him
Miami’s ultimate drink dude.
Where are you from?
Born in Havana, Cuba.
How long have you been in Miami?
Since I was an itty bitty boy.
When and why did you start @chatchowtv?
In 2011, I saw Michael Schwartz launch his Genuine Cookbook at Books & Books it was a packed house full of people asking him questions like “what’s your must have kitchen tool [vitamix], uncommon ingredient in your fridge right now [kimchi], etc” it was fantastic and that led me to the thought of “Why isn’t this recorded and archived somewhere for the masses that couldn’t see this today” thus Chat Chow was born.
What was the first drink you ever made?
A Rum & Coke. Most memorable drink you’ve created? Havana Especial drink is memorable to me because I discovered it in one of my visits to Cuba where I fell in love with the backstory and name of the cocktail. But I had to tweak it for today’s palette and have probably served it to over 5,000 people alone during The Amparo Experience where guests loved it! This cocktail can be traced back to 1935 in La Floridita Cocktail book. It captures the traditional latin Caribbean rum and pineapple, with the Cuban fascination with Maraschino liqueur of the time.
Havana Special was the first class train service that would bring hordes of tourists that would arrive from New York in 42 hours to Miami then on steamships from Key West to Cuba.
1.5 oz Havana Club Añejo Blanco*
1.5 oz Pineapple juice
½ oz Lemon
½ oz Simple
Barspoon of Maraschino Liqueur
Shaken and served in a highball over cubed ice.
Garnish with pineapple leaf, pineapple slice, and edible flower.
What is your current collaborations with SOBEWFF?
Our Sip With SoBeWFF series I’m hosting as I invite some of Miami’s top bartenders, mixologists, and spirit experts as they guide you through the creation of their favorite cocktails, answering your questions LIVE along the way.
Do you have any special bartender abilities?
Hospitality is my secret weapon. Just making sure everyone’s having a great time while shooting smiles left and right.
Any projects in the works?
Trying to recreate our popular DRINK MIAMI HOSTEL event this year while being in quarantine but staying true to the event itself with over 50 hand-selected spirits as you explore cocktails and experiences in your own home.
The perfect drink for the perfect date would be…
A Martini is my favorite way to break the ice as there’s so many ways to make one, Gin or Vodka, Extra Dirty or 50/50, etc… Similar to how one enjoys to eat a steak. It tells you a lot about a person.
The golden question: What makes your drinks so special?
The extra ingredient, a few dashes of love.
The face of Chat Chow we all have come to know and love is quite the busy bee being the founder of a video podcast about food, a Havana Club ambassador, and also a director at an advertising agency. Fun fact: Gio is a former vegan turned foodie.
In 2013, Gio launched the Facundo Rum Collection — a superpremium collection in the Bacardi portfolio — here in South Florida. Already being a part of the Bacardi family. When he heard about Bacardi relaunching the real Havana Club rum in 2016, (and given the pride he has for my Cuban heritage), he expressed a strong interest to work on the brand from the very beginning and thus became a Havana Club ambassador. According to Gio, "Havana Club rum is close to my heart, partly because I'm Cuban myself, but also because I'm American. Not a lot of people understand the brand and its complicated history. It's the story of immigrants and exiles, and a story that is as much about the present as it was about the past. It's also a story that's as complex as the rum itself, and that's why it's so good.
I'm one of over a million Cubans that no longer live on the island, in the massive diaspora of Cubans. Back in 1969, my father was imprisoned by the Cuban government for trying to leave the island. They searched his house, and they found a private diary, where he had written his anti-Castro sentiments thinking no one would ever see. Because of a couple of private sentences written in his diary, he was imprisoned for three years.
In 1963, Ramon Arechabala got a knock on the door from the Cuban government, just like my father did years later. Ramon was also taken to jail, because he had "contraband" in his house. This contraband was basically some bottles of liquor his ambassador friend had given him for a New Year's Eve party, which also happened to be Ramon's birthday. For 10 days, Ramon's family didn't know where he was, or whether he was dead or alive. In prison, they gave Ramon three choices: he could stay in jail, he could join the communist party and cut sugarcane for a living, or he could leave the country as an undesirable. Ultimately, he chose to leave the country with his family and his rum recipe.
My father, my mother, and I also left Cuba in a similar way. My father hid what money he could in the hollowed-out heel of his shoe, and that's all we left with. Both my family and Ramon Arechabala's made it to Spain as refugees and eventually migrated to Miami. We love Cuba with all our hearts. We had to leave her, but Cuba never left me."