Max A. Solano is the founder and principal of Bar Chef Productions, LLC, a beverage consulting firm and multi-state spirits and beverage brokerage based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to Covid, Max was a mixologist for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada, Head of Whisky Education and also served as a brand partnership acquisition analyst. Solano began his career in the food and beverage industry at a very young age in Massachusetts. Since then, the industry veteran and Las Vegas native has become one of the West Coast’s most exciting, respected and creative mixologists and spirits educators. Before joining Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits in 2015, Solano was the Head Mixologist for Chef Emeril Lagasse restaurants and Beverage Manager for almost 10 years.
Solano’s approach to creating cocktails is quite versatile, with a strong focus on a large array of fresh and homemade ingredients, as well as using many unique ingredients and spirits from all over the world. Regarding his vast library of original creations, his passion for a well-crafted libation extends to all spirits, but he puts a particular focus on the whiskies of the world. Under his reign, Delmonico Steakhouse was also named Top 10 craft cocktail bars in the U.S. by Gayot for three consecutive years (2012-2014).
Regarding whisky, Max created the Book of Whisky for Delmonico Steakhouse over a decade ago—one of the largest restaurant whisky selections in the country at that time, offering almost 800 varieties from nine countries. Max’s expertise on whisky extends to all major producing countries; their styles, production, brands and laws. Solano is also an avid whisky collector, with an unwavering passion for antiquities from both Japan and the United States and is currently pursuing his Master of Whisky pin.
Solano has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Forbes Magazine, USA Today, Whisky Advocate, Shanken News Daily, New York Times, Saveur magazine, GQ magazine, The Tasting Panel, LA Weekly, Imbibe magazine, Las Vegas Review Journal Cheers, Vegas Seven magazine, Today in Las Vegas, Style magazine, Las Vegas Food & Beverage, Fox News, ABC’s “The Morning Blend,” “The Valley View” and many more.
Along with having won several national cocktail competitions, and having received many accolades and awards over his years behind the bar, in 2011, he was named Bartender of the Year by the Nevada Restaurant Association and also Best Restaurant Bartender by Vegas Seven Magazine. In 2014, once again, he was named Bartender of the Year by Desert Companion Magazine. And, in 2016 he was awarded Best of Show and overall champion at the WSWA’s Iron Mixologist competition.
Lastly, Solano, also known for years for his superbly acute sensory evaluation abilities, currently serves as a veteran Spirits judge at the coveted San Francisco World Spirits Competition, co-chair at International Whisky Competition (IWC), TAG Global Spirits Awards and the American Spirits Council of Tasters (ASCOT Awards).
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