Interview with Oriol Elias – Rum blogger at THREE OF STRONG

Oriol Elias

Tiki drinks and rum blogger at THREE OF STRONG
/ Tiki Bartender at TAHITI

1) Bucket List items for this year.

1-    The first thing that I would like for this year is to have more time for me and for write on my blog Three of Strong (www.threeofstrong.com). I would like to taste more rums and improve my rum reviews, I would like to make better tiki drinks and, of course, I would like to have more followers reading my blog. I hope it could be useful to share my knowledge with all the cyber world and, at the same time, learn more things (and improve my English!!!LOL).

2-    I work as a bartender at tiki bar Tahiti in Barcelona (Spain) and we worked hard in our 37 tiki drinks menu, categorized in:  Classic tiki drinks, Modern tiki drinks, Swizzles, Traditionals of the Caribbean, For share and Non-alcoholic tiki drinks. I am very proud of it and I would like to put Tahiti like the best tiki bar of Spain and one of the best tiki bars in Europe. I would like to convert Tahiti in a new “Must Have Bar” to visit for the tiki travelers.

3-    I would like to participate in more rum or tiki drinks competitions and increase my knowledge with that kind of experiences. Also I would like to attend to more seminars, tastings, rum fests and improve my knowledge in rum tasting, because I think that it’s a way that never ends and in each step you could learn more and more interesting things.

4-    Travel, travel and travel…visiting different countries, cultures, talking with rum aficionados of all the whole world, visiting distilleries, visiting tiki bars, tasting more rums and improving my rum collection in each one of this travels with rum references that aren’t available here in Spain. And of course, if it’s possible, I want to make guest bartendings in some of this travels!

5-    Open my own bar…it’s my dream…I put it on my list each year, maybe one of this years it could be a reality. I only need money or an investor…It’s easy, I only need a volunteer that make my dreams come true!

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

My biggest achievement is to be considered part of the rum industry and to collaborate in its evolution and grown with my little grain of sand. Write about rums and tiki drinks as I want and be accepted by the rum and tiki community is a great achievement for me. And also, be considered as a referent of the tiki drinks in Spain and Europe is a thing that makes me very proud of my work and helps me to work harder in order to improve every day a bit more.

3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

Well, there’s so many drinks that I love…all with rum and all very tiki…I could talk about the Mai Tai, the 1934 Zombie, the Corn&Oil, the Ti’ Punch, the Navy Grog, the Undead Gentleman…but if I have to choose only one  I’m going to talk about a drink created by me: Bald Bastard Swizzle.

BALD BASTARD SWIZZLE

Ingredients:
1oz Appleton State VX
1oz Lemonhart 151 Demerara
3/4oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2oz Falernum
1/4oz Allspice Dram
1 dash The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters (or Peychaud’s Bitters)
3 dashes Bittermen’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Instructions:
1-    Put everything (except the Bittermen’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters) in a tall glass or highball.
2-    Add 2/3 of the volume of the glass with crushed ice.
3-    Swizzle it with a swizzle stick or barspoon.
4-    Add more ice to fill.
5-    Float the 3 dashes of Bittermen’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters.
6-    Dust with powdered cinnamon.
7-    Garnish with a marraschino cherry.

4) Where do you see the rum industry today?

The rum industry is growing day by day, we have more quality references on the market and better distribution.

Now, in Spain, is easier to find more rums than 2 years ago, when I had to buy this rums in UK or Germany.

Talking about the Spanish market, the Gin&Tonic is still the most drinked by the people…yes, it sounds stupid but the people wants to drink that shit because it’s “popular”. A part of my work at the bar is make the people try new things, and in a bar with a 90% of rum drinks on the menu, when I talk about new things I’m talking about rum, and when I talk about rum I talk about seriously good rums. Here, when the people thinks about rum, they think about a crappy white distillate to mix with cola, and my mission is to open their eyes to an incredible world of different D.O.’s, finishings and flavours. I’m proud because we have some costumers that drinks rums neat right now and I hope this costumer profile will be growing up.

The rum industry is catching the interest of another distillate drinkers, like whiskey or cognac drinkers, because it is offering a very good quality products.

We have more media references and a lot of great rum festivals all over the world.

People are changing the industry with their innovations, like Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits Distillery with his aging reactor.

We are in a good point but there’s still a lot of work to do!!!!

5) Where do you see the rum industry in 5 years?

I don’t know it for sure but I would love that the rum industry was at least at the same level than the whiskey industry, and the people knows exactly what kind of rum they like and how they want to drink it.

I think that we could have a better distribution and it will makes the different rum brands more available for the whole world.

I hope the advances in the industry allows to make rums with better quality and the professionals of the rum sector will have the best technologies and knowledges to improve their products.

For sure, some new distilleries will surprise us with a lot of new references.

I hope the rum will be treated with the respect it deserves and, of course, the new gold era of tiki drinks will stay with us forever.

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

Jose Gotarda, he is a bartender of Barcelona, he was my first teacher in cocktails and mixology, he teaches me how to use each tool, each technique, each distillate and liqueur, and of course how to treat the costumers with my better smile…He always considered that I have a lot of talent and he makes me trust on me and my abilities.

Ivan Castro, he is a Spanish tiki lover, he mades me get interested on tiki drinks. I was making cocktails and I was very interested on rums when I discovered his blog Bastardo Saffrin (www.bastardosaffrin.blogspot.com), a Spanish blog about tiki drinks that he writes when nobody in Spain are writing about it. My mind was shocked and I felt the necessity of taste that drinks and discover this new world that he shows to me. He became a friend for me and he taught me a lot of things about rums, tiki drinks, story of tiki and homemade syrups, he also transmitted me the attitude and the way of the Aloha.

Jeff  “Beachbum” Berry. When I met the Bum in New Orleans I said him “Thank you for all, master” and he answered me “Don’t call me master, I’m only a bum”. He gives me a great lesson about the tiki philoshopy with that frase, but for me Jeff is THE MASTER. His work and his books makes the tiki rise from his ashes, he is the real influence in each one of the new generation of tiki bartenders, and he is respected for all the old tikitenders. His knowledge shows us the way.

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Author: Fede

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