We pulled up a seat at the bar with accomplished mixologist Jose Pereiro to talk Bourbon, cocktails and more. Jose runs the bar program in west-Atlanta’s iconic Roman-Italian restaurant and cocktail bar, Forza Storico. We asked Jose to stir up Forza Storico’s signature Small Batch cocktail, and to talk about his mixology techniques. Let’s learn about Jose’s background, why he loves Small Batch and how to make this recipe.  

Jose Pereiro began his career in the spirits industry at Maranello, an Italian restaurant in Venezuela. After two years there, he moved to Atlanta, landing a job as a bar-back at Rosa Mexicano in Atlantic Station. Before long, a manager noticed his passion for spirits, and he was promoted to bartender.

Later, he relocated to the Rosa Mexicano location in Miami, where Jose took his career and love for cocktails to the next level. In Miami, he joined the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) and became involved in the city’s craft cocktail scene. Competing in mixology competitions helped Jose learn about unique bartending techniques and the art of creating craft cocktails.

Jose then returned to Atlanta, where he continued honing his craft, by working as a bartender at Seed Kitchen & Bar and participating in cocktail competitions.

Jose has won numerous awards for his cocktails, taking first place in six competitions in Atlanta and one in Miami.

Jose currently runs the bar program at Forza Storico, where he features Four Roses Small Batch in the “Club Italo” – one of their signature cocktails. He crafted one of these delicious cocktails for us, while answering a few questions about Four Roses Small Batch – his pick for crafting Bourbon cocktails, and more.

For novice Bourbon drinkers, which cocktails would you recommend for them to try? 

For the novice, I’d recommend an Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, Mint julep or Whiskey Sour, with Four Roses Small Batch. These cocktails are easy to execute and only have three ingredients, plus the garnishes.

Which Bourbon cocktails would you recommend for a Bourbon connoisseur?

For the connoisseur, I recommend cocktails that are a little more complex. These might require paring flavors from the kitchen like spices, herbs, etc., because you can really pull out the true flavor profiles of Four Roses Small Batch and brighten them up this way. Variations of classic cocktails are always great too, like adding cinnamon to an Old Fashioned, or a digestif to a Mint Julep, like I did with my feature cocktail.

In your opinion, what makes Four Roses Small Batch a great Bourbon to work with?

The mellow spice notes and the proof (90 proof) really helps it make well-balanced cocktails with a long finish. 

What’s a common mistake people make when creating cocktails at home and what advice do you have for them?

Lack of knowledge about techniques, like when to shake a cocktail or when to stir it. The consistency and flavor of the cocktail can vary if you shake a spirit-forward drink. If you’re using only spirits in your cocktails, you only stir to prevent over dilution. If you are using citrus and syrups, you have to shake your cocktails to combine all the ingredients better since they have more viscosity and they need extra dilution.

Is there a rule you live by when making Bourbon cocktails?

Always check the proof of the Bourbon to decide what type of modifiers to use to make your cocktails.

What cocktail have you prepared for us today?

This cocktail is called Club Italo and it’s a variation on the classic Mint Julep. I made a spiced pineapple syrup to bring out the spice note from the Four Roses Small Batch, added lemon juice to complement the citrus notes and balanced it with Fernet Branca for bitter and herb notes. It’s a refreshing cocktail that’s perfect any time of year.

Club Italo

1.5 oz Four Roses Small Batch
.5 oz Cocchi di Torino
.5 oz Fernet Branca
.75 oz Spiced pineapple syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake. Strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.