by Justin Porter Biel
JARDIN ALQUIMIA is the newest bar to join the Todos Santos nightlife scene. Located beside Casa Tota Hotel on Calle Obregón, you enter the bar by walking through two wooden doors and down a dimly lit hallway. Past the curated photo exhibit, you’ll find an open-air courtyard, and this is where the space really comes alive. Jardin Alquimia is a carefully constructed bar, a balanced merger of natural materials and clean aesthetic design. Inside is a plethora of vegetation and plant life, exposed stone and brick walls, wood tables, and an L-shaped, concrete bar. In one corner orange embers flicker from within a brick oven, and on the other side of the courtyard, soft lighting hangs over a raised stage.
While Todos Santos is a town full of nightlife and culinary delights, the team at Jardin Alquimia has created something distinctive and new. They offer some of the best cocktails in town alongside an authentic passion for food. The laid-back vibe of Jardin Alquimia is a perfect compliment to the Baja lifestyle.
After his initial visit, Destino writer Justin Biel caught up with Jorge Ochoa Acuña to learn more Jardin Alquimia.
I love what you have created with Jardin Alquimia, Jorge. Tell me a little about the team behind Todos Santo’s newest bar.
There are 4 of us, and we ́re all partners. Carlos Ramón Puerto is the master mixologist, Juan David Orozco is the exotic Colombian Chef, and Miguel Angel Ochoa is the main owner & designer.
Opening a new location in Todos Santos, how important was it to create a good vibe for your guests?
We like to think that everything spins around good vibes. Jardin Alquimia is a relaxed and friendly place. The patio itself is beautiful, and it has different vibes for guests to enjoy. You can have a fun night with lots of friends and funky cocktails, or a private chat with your loved one paired with a couple of glasses of our beautiful Spanish Grenache.
What do you specialize in at Jardin Alquimia?
We specialize in mixology. We took months developing the menu to be sure we were 100% happy with it. Our cocktail menu is inspired by the four basic elements of alchemy: earth, water, fire & wind. Every single cocktail we serve has a particular inspiration, and the ingredients are all carefully chosen. For example, fire cocktails have spices and intensely flavorful ingredients, earth concoctions utilize nutritious greens, water cocktails highlight seaweed and balancing flavors, and for wind cocktails, we use rose petal inspired by how air influences the pollination of flowers.
Whoa? I had no idea the thought process behind the cocktail menu was that in depth?
Yes, we take our cocktails pretty seriously.
What about the food menu?
At first, we tried to keep the food simple. For the first month, we only had three different tapas every day. But after a while, people came back requesting dishes from the nights before. Now we have a menu of seven bar food favorites.
Do you have any favorite dishes?
I enjoy the Barley Risotto made with Grana Padano cheese. There’s also a perfectly cooked, brick oven Cochinita Pibil Slider and a daily Fresh Catch Ceviche.
I noticed the stage in the corner of the courtyard. Do you have plans to host musicians on certain nights?
We have Latin Jazz music every Monday night. We also have a few performance dates scheduled for February & March that we ́ll be soon.
There is a lot of attention to detail and artistic flair – both in the mixology, interior design, food, and especially the photography exhibit. Why is art such a significant influence at Jardin Alquimia?
Our slogan is “Art & Cocktails.” One of our partners, Miguel Ochoa, is a fantastic outdoors designer, but also a musician and admirer of art. Juan, Carlos, and I also appreciate art in different ways. At the most fundamental level, each one of us has a lot of passion for what we do: cooking, mixing cocktails, music, and serving people. The influence of art is an essential part of who we are. It was only natural that art would be an inspiration in the development process of Jardin Alquimia.
You have undoubtedly succeeded at integrating art in the overall ethos of your location, which is really great. What else makes Jardin Alquimia stand out?
We created the food and drinks with a lot of forethought, which makes them unique. We also provide space for artists to show their work, regardless of the style, which is a great way to tie back into the community of artists in Todos Santos. However, above all, the people that come to Jardin Alquimia are what really make it special. The majority of our guests are locals, and they come here two or three times a week to share in the good vibes. We also have a lot of curious tourists who walk through the gallery to find us and mingle. So, it’s the people, and we love it.