It’s what Cesar Diaz, founding director of Cocktail Capital, does best.
What does he mix? Latin and South American cuisine to produce delectable tapas and full menus. Artisan and rare spirits to craft masterful cocktails. An eye for spaces and an understanding of people to create exceptional environments. The result? Odd Birds, Damianas, Milagro on 12th and Arepa Life.
The vision and theme behind all of Cocktail Capital’s establishments is to provide foodies and cocktail aficionados not only mouth-watering dishes and first-class cocktails but a unique restaurant and bar experience. Diaz aims to expand the city’s culinary offerings, promote the art of craft cocktails and showcase those who create them.
Diaz began his career in the hospitality industry working for Rosen Hotels in Orlando more than 15 years ago. Harris Rosen, a very successful hotelier provided Diaz with his initial inspiration. After Rosen, Diaz worked for Marriott hotels which reinforced his passion for the hospitality industry. During this time at Marriott, he also developed his knowledge and expertise in the beverage field. Diaz then moved to Miami in perfect time to become part of the revived craft cocktail movement.
In 2013, Diaz came to St. Augustine as part of the opening team of the Ice Plant. He had fallen in love with St. Augustine years before while dating his late wife, Michelle. He says it was their favorite place on earth and they always dreamed of living here one day. The Ice Plant was the perfect excuse to turn that dream into reality.
After helping launch the Ice Plant, Diaz developed the concepts for his bar and restaurant while keeping an eye out for vacant properties. The idea of a pop-up-bar came to fruition when he found an empty space at 33 Charlotte Street and Odd Birds was born. An overnight success, Odd Birds provided the template for Damiana and Milagro on 12th. In case he wasn’t busy enough, Diaz recently launched Arepa Life, a mobile food truck serving up this Venezuelan specialty.
But he hasn’t finished mixing it up. Something tells me he has a few more concepts up his sleeve. We’ll anxiously await those. In the meantime, you can sample dishes and cocktails from all of his restaurants and bars in one day and one location at the Made in St. Augustine™ festival. You’ll even get to meet Diaz himself who will delight the crowd with arepa cooking and mixology demonstrations.