Friends With Benefits: Gemma Reyes
Gemma Reyes is a badass. As a criminal justice major at UNLV, the Las Vegas native has been a police volunteer, done active-shooter training and has even been on ride alongs with the cops. “But the food and beverage industry kinda swept me up, my heart kinda went towards that industry,” Reyes says. “Criminal justice will always be there, it’s my future career.”
So, for now, you can find Reyes being a badass bartender at MB Steak at Hard Rock Hotel. She’s worked in the food and beverage industry since she was 18 to support herself, starting out as a host and then server. In 2016, she was hired by downtown hot spot La Comida (the same owner as MB Steak) and got her first break in bartending.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to get behind the bar, and I learned hands-on and I picked it up immediately,” Reyes says. After her stint at La Comida, and after sharpening her bartending skills, Reyes became a part of the opening team at MB Steak.
“Its my favorite job out of all the jobs I’ve had,” she says. “It’s been an amazing company to work for. It really is. I work with such genuine people. Amazing mentors.”
Reyes says she’s known for being efficient, friendly and fast-paced when she’s behind the bar. “I’m in my element,” she says. “I’m passionate about making drinks. If I see someone else having a good time it makes me feel good, because I helped them get there.”
It’s a Gem
MB Steak tasked its bartenders to create their own cocktail, and Reyes’ submission permanently made it onto the bar’s menu. “I wanted to do something out of the box,” she says. “The idea started from my favorite pancakes, lemon poppy seed with blueberry compote—I wanted to make a drink out of that. It came out amazing.” The It’s a Gem (named after its creator) is a blend of Empress gin, muddled fresh blueberries and lemon, house-made sweet and sour and
a splash of simple syrup.