Search form

Scroll To Top

Meet Juan Boria: The Boston Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic 2017 Champion

Juan Boria Portrait

The Local Champion tells us his inspiration behind his winning "Bearly Legal Baya Margarita", and of course, plenty of bear hugs. 

OUT caught up with Juan Boria - the recently crowned Boston Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic - fresh off his win. The Cocktail Classic is Stoli's annual competition to find North America's Number One Bartender. LGBTQ bartenders and allies across the U.S. and Canada will compete to represent their home city on the grand stage of cocktail mixology during Pride Week, June 7-11th, in Key West, Florida. Here's what Juan had to say about the competition.

OUT: Juan, congrats on being named the Boston Champion in the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic! How does it feel?

Juan Boria: Thanks! I'm wicked excited and honored to represent Boston and my bar (The Alley Bar) in Key West! If it wasn't for Mizery pushing me to sign me up the night before the deadline, I wouldn't be here talking to you! The support I have received from the Boston Nightlife community has been unreal! I still can't get over the fact that I won a trip to beautiful Key West!

You were able to get an edge up on the rest of your Boston competitors with a super creative cocktail, "Barely Legal Baya Margarita". Can you tell us a little bit about the drink, and your inspiration behind it?

Actually, its called "Bearly Legal Baya Margarita," ("Bearly" because I'm a muscle bear, haha!).

Believe it or not, I came up with this drink right before the deadline! I'm a total beach bum at heart. So a beachy cocktail was in my mind since the summers I'm in Ptown working right next to the ocean! I have done weird mixology combos. Mixing beer and liquor or mixing two different types of liquors to create something new and exciting. I have been making my own sweet sour mix for the past 8 years that I like to use behind the bar. I decided that would be part of the drink! I was looking at the Stoli flavors and Blueberi and Razberi stood out to me the most. Then I decided to be a daredevil and add tequila to the mix! Then adding some blueberry and raspberry preserves to the mix! That gives a beach sunset look. Last but not least, a ginger beer float!

I like trying new things and this was a great hit with everyone that tasted it!


It sounds delicious. The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic honors the unique legacy of gay bars as original safe spaces and community centers and the role our bartenders have played as hosts and caretakers throughout history. Tell us about what your role as a nightlife professional means to you.

Gay bars are considered homes for most people. They look forward to going to that place and seeing their friends. Most of them would consider them their chosen family. My role in the industry is to put a smile on someone's face, whether by cracking jokes or throwing some playful shade, and giving out plenty of hugs! I work at bear bar in Boston (The Alley Bar), and every time I enter the bar I feel the love from everyone! No one cares what you look like, what you're wearing, or what you do for work. Everyone cares about each other, and they always ask how you're doing and give out plenty of hugs. And they always come together when someone is in need.

As you know, part of your prize for winning the Boston competition is an all-expense-paid trip to Key West, FL this June. Have you ever been to Key West before?

I have never been to Key West before. I have traveled up and down the East Coast, but never made it that far! I'm wicked excited to cross this off my bucket list!

And if you take home the title, you'll be included as the Grand Marshall of the Key West Pride Parade. Have you ever been the Grand Marshall of a parade before?

I have never been a Grand Marshall before, and that would be exciting to be part of it!

And in Key West, you'll be competing for a chance to win $2,500 to $7,500 for your hand-picked charity, Fenway Health. Anything you want to mention on your relationship to that organization, or why you picked it to represent?

I chose Fenway Health because they are awesome! They are a non profit clinic that does a lot of community outreach for the LGBT folks. They have so many services under one roof! From eye exams to dental to regulars doctors. They helped me out when I had no insurance at the time by putting me on a sliding scale so I could afford a doctor visit or an eye exam. This is my way to pay it forward with them, and give other individuals a chance to get help when they need it the most.


Any advice (or trash talk!) for your competitors as you head into the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic Finale - June 7th - 12th in Key West, FL?

Just be yourself and live in the moment! I can't wait to meet the other bartenders in June. I wish everyone the best of luck!

Amazing. Well we can't wait to see what innovative cocktails you stir up this June. Good luck, and know that all of Boston will be rooting for you!

To keep up with Juan and the rest of the action in the 4th Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, visit

Latest Stories Editors