Junior Merino is proclaimed the best mixologist on the planet by various publications and is the founder of the fusion of the kitchen and the bar. He has revolutionized the mixology industry with his innovative concepts and unique philosophy. Between his commercial ventures, his partnerships with global corporations, top spirit brands and restaurants around the world, his public appearances and teachings; and his unsolicited press, Junior's name and brand - The Liquid Chef,Inc. - have been seen by over 66 million people worldwide, making Junior's brand the most recognized in its field.
It is no surprise Master Mixologist Junior Merino- The Liquid Chef has built his career on fusing exotic, unexpected flavors: He grew up in a culinary melting-pot of cultures and traditions. Beginning when Junior was just 10, his food-loving parents taught him to cook with local produce ranging from indigenous cocoa beans, to pomegranates native to the Middle East, to cilantro, which has Mediterranean roots. Despite all these foods' varied origins, Junior saw that in combination, they created harmony-planting in him an early passion for culinary mestizaje- or blending diverse flavors. It's a technique that's helped Junior rise quickly in his field along with his intense work ethic.
At a young age of 15, Junior rapidly progressed from baker, line cook, busboy to bartender, and eventually to beverage manager at Roth's Westside Steakhouse in New York-all while attending school and studying English and computer graphics design. At Roth's, the wine list Junior put together-his first ever-won an award of excellence from Wine Spectator. Within months, Junior was initiated into the Court of Master Sommeliers' Guild of Sommeliers. Experiments with creating his own cocktails while at Roth's spurred Junior to enter the International Bar Show's best cocktail competition in 2005-where he won first prize for his drink, "Coming Up Roses", which is now one of Junior's signature cocktails.
Junior Merino’s “Liquid Chef” services have been known by the public since 2002. He started his company with a focus on cocktail consulting and events, but it has become a global empire in the mixology industry.
Junior has successfully implemented cocktail programs and partnerships in multiple venues, including theme parks (Epcot Center), cruise ships (The Molecular Bar onboard Celebrity Cruises Solstice Class) and airlines (Mexicana Airlines). He has created signature cocktails for leading restaurants and bars across the world, such as the Modern (NYC), the Ritz Carlton (42 Restaurant in White Plains, NY), the ANA Hotel (Tokyo), Tequila's (Philadelphia), Malverde & La Condesa (Austin), Talavera (Miami) & New York's Rayuela, Macondo, Casa Mezcal, and in Mexico, Hilton los Cabos & San Angel Inn.
He has also worked with celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, Peter Gabriel, Lenny Kravitz, Cindy Lauper, Michael J. Fox, and Patricia Velasquez and government officials such as President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Junior Merino has also created unique cocktails for numerous liquor companies, including Leblon Cachaça, Siembra Azul Tequila, Domain de Canton, G'Vine Gin, Ilegal Mezcal, Scorpion Mezcal, Macchu Pisco, Chairmans Reserve Rum, Hudson Valley Whiskey, just to name a few. Due to his well-known creativity, Junior has won an award from Star Chefs and a special recognition from Sabores Autenticos de Mexico & SAGARPA for his knowledge of Mexican ingredients. He was also inducted into the Bartender Magazine's Bartender Hall of Fame and has been recognized for his excellence in his field by Johnson and Wales University and Les Toques Blanche. Merino was also an invited celebrity chef for Festival Gourmet in Puerto Vallarta in which he created a mind blowing 13 course meal with cocktail and wine pairing.
Junior also founded The Liquid Lab, a unique space dedicated to research, education and development with over 2500 individual labels, 100's of spices, oils, extracts, aromas and herbs from around the world, refractometers, a rotary still, copper stills, barrels, etc. Using the concept of The Liquid Lab, Merino created Alchemix, the world's most advanced mobile school of mixology in which he shared his passion, knowledge, creativity, and genius with thousands of bartenders. Junior also formed The Liquid Team, an amazing group of bartenders around the world that have been trained excessively in Junior's techniques and philosophy.
Recently, Junior was recognized by the government of Mexico and was proclaimed "The Official Ambassador of Gastronomy & Tourism, & Promoter of Mexican Beverages." With this award, Junior also had the honor of creating the official cocktail of Mexico called "El Angel", after the statue of The Angel of Independence in Mexico City.
Finally, Junior Merino has created his own proprietary line of products called Dainzu & Junior Merino (which are used at each of his partnerships) in order to maintain a consistent program and ensure quality worldwide. His full product line includes foams, syrups, mixers, salts, sugars, tools, uniforms and everything else needed to make any program a success story.
Always eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits, wine, food, techniques and ingredients, Junior has been featured in Gourmet, Gourmet Journal (Tokyo), Marie Claire, Time Out, Latina, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Women's Wear Daily, and New York Magazine, Buena Mesa (Reforma, MX), El Mural, El Diario de Mexico, among many others around the world, and has appeared on BBC Radio, Fox & Friends, Fox News Latino, Martha Stewart Radio, NBC, NHK and Televisa. He is currently working on his book along with other unique concepts and techniques.