On June 23, the tightknit Miami bartending community was rocked by the brutal killing of one of its own.
Louis Salgar, who was both a bartender and a talented musician, was fatally shot at his Upper East Side home. A few weeks later, 51-year-old Raul Reinosa (AKA Reinoso Martinez) was arrested in St. Augustine, after fleeing the scene in a stolen Honda. Reinosa is facing burglary and murder charges.
Just two months after the tragic event, Louis' sister, Nicole Salgar is keeping the memory of her brother alive through music, cocktails, and art.
Although Nicole currently lives in New York City, she and her brother remained close. The artist relocated to the Big Apple to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. She advanced in her career by curating art shows and becoming an integral part of the street art movement.
After her brother's death, Salgar wanted to find a way to honor him using her skills. She designed a commemorative t-shirt for Gramps, a bar that Louis worked at, with funds raised from the sale going to a scholarship set up in the young bartender and musician's name. A similar event is being planned at Broken Shaker.
The shirt will be released at a special party at the Wynwood bar on September 21. The fundraising event is sponsored, in part, by Fernet Branca. The Italian brand will also issue a limited-edition coin, also designed by Nicole Salgar. Only 100 coins will be produced, with each one presented to a bartender that participates in a three-month-long cocktail program. Each bartender will be tasked with creating a special Fernet cocktail and offering it at their bar. One dollar from the purchase of each drink will benefit the Louis Salgar scholarship.
In addition, Nicole Salgar plans to host a Louis Salgar cocktail week next year on June 14-20. The young artist tells Short Order that she is working diligently on these projects because she wants her sibling to be forever tied to the community he loved so much.
"My brother loved this city. He was very proud to be part of the bar and music communities and was very passionate about helping them continue to grow. He loved creating cocktails and was like a mad scientist, always trying crazy new recipes."
Salgar also says this is a way for her family and herself to heal during this time.
"My family is trying our best to stay strong during this time. We have to keep fighting for him." She confides that knowing the man responsible for the crime has been apprehended helps, saying, "We are very happy that the man responsible for taking Louis' life has been caught. There needs to be justice."
In the end, Salgar shares that she is just trying to continue where her brother left off.
"This is my way to keep him alive. I want to give back to this community as much as I can as he would have done."
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Louis Salgar will also be honored at this weekend's Guitars Over Guns event at the Fillmore Miami Beach. The event, which features concerts by Spam All-Stars, Suenalo, and Tomas Diaz, will be held on Saturday, August 23, at 7 p.m. Louis Salgar's Rosemary's Baby cocktail will be offered. Tickets for Guitars Over Guns are $100 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.