Interview with Jason Alexander – TIKI Connoisseur / 2014 Iron TikiTender Winner / Owner of Tacoma Cabana

Jason Alexander 

TIKI Connoisseur / 2014 Iron TikiTender Winner / Owner of Tacoma Cabana

1) Bucket List items for this year.

  1. Master more exotic/tropical/Tiki drinks
  2. Teach people how to make exotic/tropical/Tiki drinks
  3. Refine my use of rum(s) in beverages
  4. Create more original exotic/tropical/beverages
  5. Travel

2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry. 

I don’t feel that I’ve achieved too awfully much for the rum industry. Although I enjoy educating guests on rum and letting them know that there is quality rum out there that can be on par with the other spirits, owning and working in my bar has always been about the drinks for me. Anybody can pour you a glass of rum from their massive collections, but there is something to be said about making a quality beverage while entertaining your guests with fantastical stories about said drink. To me, that is more important than a glass of rum.

I could easily run my bar program with a dozen bottles of rum instead of the near 300 bottles and still be just as satisfied. Maybe I just might do that.

3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

1934 Zombie Punch without a doubt. He’s the king of all that is Tiki.  If you don’t know that recipe, then you’re doing it wrong.

4) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 yrs.?

I see rum and rum based drinks becoming more popular as people start to understand that rum doesn’t necessarily mean sweet.While I enjoy rum being a very undervalued and underrated spirit (good rum at an even better price), I can see rum getting the true premium tag that some bottles can command.

5) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have help you. 

  1. Connor O’Brien. I quickly learned from him when I first opened exactly what being a bartender meant. Give the guest what they want with sincerity even if it is a vodka and soda lit on fire. To the guest, that is the greatest drink ever.
  2. Earnest Gantt. Without him pioneering the exotic cocktail, none of this would be here today. I love dissecting his recipes down to the spoonful and the last drop.
  3. Justin Wojslaw for always being there to bounce recipes and ideas off of. Matt Pietrek for making me push my self. Helena Olson for being my biggest fan and one of my very first influences. Her words to me have been inspirational to say the least. Josh Miller for answering my rum inquiries.  All of my guests and everyone who’s tried a drink of mine and told me it sucked. Those are my mentors and because of them I get to do what I do and that is pretty awesome!

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Author: Fede

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