Daniel Zarate of Casa

DANIEL ZARATE
BAR DIRECTOR | CASA, COSTA MESA


“Hospitality is key. Casa is my home, and when I welcome someone to my home I am going to take care of them. I want to provide cocktails that belong in any big bar in the world,
because we are world class, and we’re a hidden gem in Costa Mesa of all places.”

Nestled in an unassuming suburban town in Orange County, CA is Casa, a renowned world class cocktail bar that provides quite literally, the best cocktails of your life. “Service is a monologue, where hospitality is a dialogue.” With Daniel running the show Casa is able to provide their guests with first-class cocktails and hospitality.

Zarate found his love of cocktails while in college. Throughout those years he worked as a bar-back and became fascinated by the world of alcohol. Working his way up as a bartender, he learned how to make every shot you could think of and perfected the ratios to make a delicious, boozy Jack and Coke, among other things. After college, he traveled and re-located to New York. Before he was able to become a bartender there, he worked as a bar-back in the Lower East Side of Manhattan learning the specifics on how to make not a craft cocktail, but classic cocktails; the standby Old Fashioned, French 75, and a solid Gin Martini. He spent that year observing other bartenders, studying, drinking and experimenting on his own, learning to perfect the ratios that make a classic cocktail. After a few years in New York, Zarate found himself back in Los Angeles, his home, working in different bars continuing to perfect his art. He made his way down to Orange County, where he met people who shared the same passion, eventually leading him to his position as Bar Director at Casa.

Zarate is very humbled by all his accolades; however, he believes if you are constantly looking back and celebrating your previous accomplishments you are not continually moving forward. He stands by his words, “Always look forward and always keep your head up”, and owes a lot of gratitude to close friends and colleagues. His biggest mantra for those familiar with the bar industry is, “Stay humble, it doesn’t matter how successful you are because you still don’t know everything. If you’re not learning something in the business everyday then you’ve either lost the plot or you’re doing it wrong."