King of Mixology with Wilson Pires

03 Jun 2015
2 min read
Award-winning head Mixologist, Wilson Pires from restaurant Gusto, the Conrad hotel’s Algarve hotel run by Michelin star Chef, Heinz Beck talks to FOUR about being named hotel of the year and being finalist in Hilton Worldwide EMEA Mixologist of the Year.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Faro, in the very south of Portugal to a humble family full of different heritages and cultures which I assimilated during my upbringing.

What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
Like most of the kids I aspired to be famous – a football player, musician, actor etc – it didn’t really matter at that time. When we are kids we don’t think too much, we just feel. But, today, I have more realistic expectations to just be an inspiration to people. Not the best in something, but someone with the ability to inspire people and help them change something small in their lives for the better.

How did you find your way to wine and spirits?

I started working in bars, because it was an easy way to save money to pay for my studies and also meet the ladies! But then, in my last year of university, while I was working in a Beach Cocktail Bar, I started to get a real interest for the job. In that time, I knew nothing about this world, but I just fell in love with the flavours, the aromas, the colours and everything else that could be used to create the most beautiful and delicious cocktails.

Where do you find inspiration for your drink recipes?

I think that I’m lucky, because a lot of times the ideas just start to pop-up in my mind, without even thinking too much. At any time, with anyone anywhere I can get a flash of inspiration and then I simply start to work upon that idea.

What interesting trends/themes are going on in the spirits world? What’s on your radar at the moment?
Right now, in Portugal, we are trying to showcase that we are bartenders because we have the skills and the passion that this profession requires. A lot of people look at it as simply a job but I see it as a creative and culinary profession that has the potential to influence a person’s hotel stay and overall experience.

What is your most indispensablecocktail ingredient?

I’ve just one that I can consider my favourite ingredient and the one that I love to work with: ginger juice.

What is another of your favourite tipples?

My favourite wine is achilled local white port with tonic.

Do you cook at all? What kinds of things do you like cooking at home on your days off?
I really like to cook, but honestly I don’t do it very often. Usually I cook once a week, usually on Mondays. It is the day when I have all the family and friends together and prepare something delicious for everyone to share.


Conrad Algarve

Estrada da Quinta do Lago

8135-106 Almancil



+351 289 350 700