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Master Mixologist: Beverage Director Max Stampa-Brown of BORRACHITO in the East Village of NYC

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Max Stampa-Brown of BORRACHITO

Master Mixologist: Beverage Director Max Stampa-Brown of BORRACHITO in the East Village of NYC

Borrachito, a modern taqueria, recently opened in the East Village. Previously located in a secret dining room behind The Garret East, the team at Den Hospitality has reinvented their popular Mexican speakeasy following an extensive renovation. Borrachito opened in the front section of the property, offering a newly curated menu of traditionally-prepared Mexican tacos, sides, and cocktails with unexpected twists. The Den Hospitality team seized the opportunity to redesign the space and move Borrachito to a street-facing position, which had long been the goal.

Meals at Borrachito are rounded out with cocktails created by Beverage Director, Max Stampa-Brown (previously of The Third Man, FREUD, and The Garret East). The cocktail menu includes Mexican classics alongside inventive, flavorful variations like a Spiced Raspberry Margarita (raspberry, habanero, lime, tequila) and Coconut Paloma (coconut, tequila, grapefruit, lime, soda). For the fearless, Borrachito will offer a daiquiri made with Mexican Agricole Rums. Ice cold beers and natural wines (by the glass and bottle) will also be available to cut through some of Chef Ochoa's most fiery dishes. had the pleasure of interviewing Max Stampa-Brown for our "Master Mixologist" feature about his career and the beverage program at Borrachito.

When did you first become interested in the cocktail culture?

I started as a barback, out of acting school (shoutout UNCSA) and fell in love right away. The similarities between the stage/show and the bar were apparent from the beginning. When people like a particular show, they bring their friends for a second night, and maybe even wait at the stage door for an autograph. So, there was overlap between that kind of recognition and what I was doing as a barback.

What innovations in mixology and bartending do you find fascinating? (This can be new products, liquors, seasonal ingredients, etc.)

I was in Charleston, SC last year at The High Wire Distillery, and their southern amaro is just so crazy delightful. With my first sip and I had that "Ratatouille" moment where I saw myself as a child drinking a root beer with dad after a football game. Italicus Bergamot Liqueur is great too.

How do restaurant and bar guests encourage your creativity?

The current civil rights movement has been a huge wake up call for the Food & Beverage industry. People are being more conscious about what they're imbibing, and it's thrilling. The bar is quite literally a platform for expression, and I'm always listening and learning about how to better elevate those who deserve a space to be showcased.

What are your preferred "classic cocktails" and why?

It's a bartender cliché, but a really cold Hemingway Daiquiri on a hot summer day goes together like a slap on a fool.

What are some of your favorite infusions and how you like to use them in drinks?

I'm a huge fan of integrating savory ingredients into a drink. Fat-washing a spirit with mango butter, olive oil, schmaltz, whatever. There's a huge market for botanically bright spirits, but taking a handful of tarragon & strawberries and throwing them in a quart container with a bottle of mezcal is gratifying and easy.

Tell us about a few of your signature cocktails and why they are distinctive.

One of my first signature drinks: black mission fig, a little sweet vermouth, some gin and lemon juice; it's fall in a glass. I swear, you could finish that drink and the leaves would've changed as you walk away in an Eddie Bauer sweater headed for Connecticut.

Give us your perfect pairing for a cocktail and a culinary selection.

Give me a French 75 with a sidecar of extra Prosecco alongside the Piri Piri Chicken & Fries from Cervo's and I'll never leave you.

Tell us a little about your company or restaurant.

We officially reopened Borrachito, which was previously the Mexican speakeasy located in a secret dining room behind The Garret East, on August 26th, in the front section of the property (206 Avenue A). The reinvented restaurant offers our guests an updated menu, 20 seats available for al fresco dining, and ample room for indoor service (once permitted in NYC). Our menu features our signature tacos, sides, cocktails, paletas, and more. We offer takeout and delivery as well, and we recently installed a street-facing taco window, perfect for our guests to grab and go!

Borrachito is located at 2016 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009. For more information, please visit:

Photo Credit: @fohnyc

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