David Ruiz is the Stolichnaya Brand Diplomat in Northern California. He works on cocktail development for Stoli as well as events, sponsorships and staff training. Before coming to his current position, David tended bar in San Francisco and did a lot of cocktail competitions. He regularly hung his hat at a bar in SOMA called Mr. Smiths, which David describes as “a really cool cocktail bar in a seedy part of town.” He worked at Mr. Smiths doing weekly/daily cocktail menus and had a lot of freedom (which he credits to the owner, Kevin). David started in the industry when his sister got him a job barbacking for Harry Denton at Rouge in 2002. “It was insane, the days when you could still beat on your barback and pour stuff on them and all that good stuff,” he says. He was told later that everyday they would try to get him to quit, but he pressed on and worked his way up. David loves the people and friends in the bartending community, and enjoys that everyone has something to bring to the table and a unique story. Imagination within reason and making drinks approachable is what is most important to David. Find him making jams specifically created for cocktails in his spare time. If you have a spare glass container, make sure to save it for David Ruiz.