Brand liaison for the House of Agricole
(Rhum Clément, Rhum JM, and Rhum Damoisseau)
1) Bucket List items for this upcoming year.
- Get way better at French
- Work with bartenders around the country to elevate education about the category of rhum agricole and the heritage of the ti’punch
- Visit Guadeloupe and the distilleries there
- Teach my dog to rollover
- Play the piano more
2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry.
I guess I would have to say, thus far, it’s been just getting this job. I have long been a huge agricole advocate and working for House of Agricole was a dream of mine but it would never had become a reality if I hadn’t been a nagging, persistent, go getter. This is super cliche to say but I think I have proved that if you are passionate enough about something you can create your ideal career and future. I now get to be at the helm of the agricole movement and influence a whole generation of cocktail culture loving folk. Who better to do that then someone that has been living and breathing rhum for the love of it for years?
3) Favorite Drink + Recipe
The day I fell in love with agricole was when I first sipped a ti’punch Ol’ Man Winter made me at Eveleigh nearly 5 years ago.Here’s how I prefer mine these days:
- 1 lime disk (cut off a disk from the side so that you get more lime peel then flesh)
- 1 barspoon canne sirop
- 2 oz 100 pf (or higher) blanc rhum agricole – I prefer Clement Canne Bleue or Rhum JM 100 blanc
Squeeze disk into glass, add barspoon sirop, lightly muddle lime disk to wake up lime oil, add 2 oz rhum and 1-2 ice cubes. Swizzle. Enjoy.
4) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
The r(h)um industry today is not where it could be but it has a tremendous amount of untapped potential that is just starting to blossom. Whisk(e)y is having it’s heyday now but eventually when consumers finally realize how reasonably priced a great bottle of r(h)um is – and that all r(h)um isn’t sweet, and that there really is a r(h)um for every palate and application – that is when we’ll see real growth. I think the US arrival of Havana Club (or Havanista I guess we should be calling it) will kickstart a new r(h)um revolution and maybe, just maybe, the people will forget about whisk(e)y for 5 minutes – and they should, our history is rooted in rum.
5) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.
There have been 4 super influential people in my career so I’m gonna have to go with that. Lol.
Chris Ojeda, AKA Bar Papi, broke every New Jersey sports bar bartender bad habit I had when we opened Soho house West Hollywood. This was where I was introduced to an old fashioned without a muddled fruit salad and that a shaken manhattan was unacceptable. He would run time trials on me whilst asking me the history of a Tom Collins …..and what Genever was……and where I grew up – literally causing me to have an inner nervous breakdown but making me able to handle any situation. Oh, and also how to make a damn good cocktail.
Dave Kupchinsky AKA Ol’ Man Winter and I worked side by side for over 4 years in which he taught me many things but mostly his unmatched palate and stubbornness to accept nothing but perfection made me never settle. It also made me frustrated with most of my creations nearly all the time, but I would rework and rework a cocktail until it was menu worthy and I wouldn’t trade that discipline for the world.
My dear friend Brooke Arthur, whom held my hand as I started the transition into brand work, gave me a start on the other side of the bar. It’s always a weird, awkward transition into the brand world and she did it so gracefully that hopefully some of it rubbed off on me.
Lastly, Ben Jones, whom somehow not only put up with my persistent badgering to give me a job, but also actually gave me a job. He is someone that I could listen to talk about rhum for days because he loves it so much. I think his blood is about 50% agricole, which makes sense as he split time between Martinique and the US as a child and first tasted agricole off the still as toddler. We joke that he is the man that put the H in rhum – and essentially he did because he was so determined to bring his family’s heritage to the US. I, for one, am very glad he did.
5) Any last words?
Swizzle, Swizzle, Swizzle
6) Learn more about Kiowa Bryan.
Kiowa has lived and breathed hospitality since the day she took a job at the local ski resort in Vermont bussing tables in order to obtain a free ski pass. A lot has changed since then – she’s spent the last 16 years working every job in every sort of bar/restaurant around the country. It wasn’t until opening up Soho House West Hollywood in 2010 that she fell in love with the creativity, history, and grace of craft cocktails and spirits. It was also here where she first tasted rhum agricole. You could say the rest is history but in fact the rest has just begun. In addition to being brand liaison for the House of Agricole (Rhum Clément, Rhum JM, and Rhum Damoisseau), Kiowa has run bar many programs around Los Angeles. She is also co-founder of No Scruples – a collective of talented bartenders nationwide that host events benefiting local charities. She loves unicorns, the Yankees, and singing Disney songs spontaneously in public places.