Interview of The Week
Pusser’s Rum Bartender
Bar Manager at Oddfellow’s in Exeter.
1. What is your background?
Originally from California, I emigrated to the UK in 1990 with family. Being from sunny LA, we drank a lot of margaritas and daiquiris, as we had bounteous quantities of citrus and tequila with the Caribbean not too far away! I never thought of myself as a mixiologist, I just took pride in making really good drinks for everyone. I was always an enthusiastic part-time bartender throughout university and beyond. It wasn’t until I was 26 when I took up hospitality as a full-time occupation. I spent a season in a bar in Greece with the added benefit that my roomie was an amazing mixologist. We both inspired each other further and upon my return to the UK I started to enter local cocktail competitions, most being hosted in the bar I now run.
2. Please tell me about your personal connection to rum. Why choose rum over another spirit?
I would choose rum over other spirits as I believe it is the most versatile. It can be left un-aged and has a lot of savoury notes, which are pleasing for the palate. Higher residual sugars allow for easier-drinking too. Once aged it only heightens the delicious sugar flavours and holds its own against the tannins and char from the barrel. I never tire of drinking rum.
3. What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?
Well, I think that depends on marketing and the next generation of drinkers. Anyone under 25 has been brought up to see drinking like smoking, which has had a massive impact on the industry. As a result quality and small batch has replaced quantity and faceless global, hence the craft industry increase we’re seeing. I know a drink as fine as rum will never be forgotten!
4. What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?
I like to see each cocktail as a journey to satisfy all the taste buds and if possible surprise the other senses. I love bitters and garnishes to make you think of certain flavours whilst the drink tastes of others.
5. Please tell me about your greatest achievements in relation to the spirits industry.
I would say there are two: being invited to appear as a Mixologist on Deck for winning a Pusser’s Rum competition, as well as the work I’ve done locally to improve the knowledge and cameraderie of local bartenders south of Bristol through masterclasses and informal competitions. I also want to encourage greater recognition and support from the major brands. The Westcountry rocks!
6. Any other interesting facts? Hobbies? Special talents?
I ring church bells! Not quite the usual hobby for a bartender. I co-captain a city-centre church in Exeter with my mother. I can also build computers.
7. How can people learn more about you?
Sadly I don’t have anything much about me! I can be found on Instagram (boogemeister).
Ryan’s Winning Pusser’s Rum Cocktail:
45ml Pusser’s Spiced Rum
15ml Domain de Canton
15ml Lime Juice
5ml (bar spoon) Campari
5ml Sugar Syrup
2 drops Chocolate Bitters (Bitter Truth Xocolat Mole is what I used)
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish with fresh ginger slice.