Meet Pusser’s Bartender on Deck Austin Hartman
Austin Hartman of the Paradise Lounge in New York City.
Tell me about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a bartender/mixologist?
Born in Chicago, raised in Santa Cruz, California. I got into the bar industry days after turning twenty-one with no bar experience and an eager attitude. I always enjoyed working the various roles in hospitality, but excelled and found a true passion for the bar side. In California I worked at a cocktail bar called The 515 that taught me a lot of basic fundamentals. I moved to New York in 2010 and immediately landed a job at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg. It was here I gained so much knowledge, a family and was given so much creative freedom in terms of mixing and cocktails. Since then, I’ve been all in.
What’s your favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail, and what is the recipe for making it?
I can’t say anything but the Painkiller. From the drink itself, the adaptable measurement for strength, to the connection and origin to the Soggy Dollar. Everything about it I love.
I have an original Planter’s Punch with guava variant that uses a split base of Pusser’s Gunpowder & El Dorado 5yr.
1oz Pusser’s Gunpowder
1oz El Dorado 5yr
2oz Guava juice
1oz Lime juice
.75oz Cinnamon-vanilla syrup
.5oz Demerara syrup
2 dashes peychauds bitters
Shake, strain into 16oz bamboo glass over fresh ice. Garnish with freshly shaved cinnamon
Why are you a Pusser’s fan? Why choose Pusser’s Rum over another spirit?
Pusser’s is a unique blend of great taste, history in the canon of cane spirits, and mixes well. Between the two expressions currently available, the applications to cocktails or sipping are extremely versatile. Did I mention it tastes great?
Where do you find inspiration for your cocktails?
Initially, I like to start with the basics for inspiration. From ‘island traditionals’ to ‘modern classics’, and then from there mixing with seasonal items or fun syrups and modifiers. Outside of cocktail canon, I’m often inspired by my other passions and find fun ways to reference them in said drinks.
Please tell me about your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
I’m extremely thankful to say there a few that come to mind. The first would be from 2015 when I was accepted into WIRSPA’s first class of their ACR (Authentic Caribbean Rum) program that allowed me the opportunity to travel throughout the Caribbean with a group of other rum enthusiasts from around the world that included Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. This sparked a love and passion for continued trips throughout the Caribbean and the cane products they create from Puerto Rico, Haiti, Martinique and more.
The next few year’s achievements included being one of the operating partners and beverage director at Montana’s Trail House in Bushwick. Co-founding the Cane Club Collective with Shannon Mustipher, Dani Deluna and Tom Rhoughton. The organization focuses on cane spirit education, development of community and fundraising for the Caribbean islands. Additionally the opening of my new bar, Paradise Lounge, in Ridgewood tops the list.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
Nothing to wild or crazy. At the end of the day I’m just a big old nerd. From comics to science fiction to LARPing, I love it all. I used to film sharks for the Pelagic Shark Research foundation in Santa Cruz, California. The sharks ranged from makos, blues and great whites to smaller pelagic species.
Any advice for those aspiring to be in the industry?
Find what drives you in the industry and chase that rabbit down the hole. Stay inspired and creative. If it’s creating cocktails, reinventing methods or developing new syrups, shrubs, tonics or the aspect of hospitality and customer service, explore it. Let it keep you going, and once you feel you’ve exhausted it, reinvent your approach. Take care of your mind, body and soul. Because as soon as it waivers or becomes exhausted it clearly begins to affect your work and drive.
How can people get in touch or learn more about you?
Personal – @partyfartman
Paradise Lounge – @paradiseloungenyc
Cane Club Collective – @caneclubco
Ready Player Rum – @readyplayerrum
Facebook – www.facebook.com/austinrhartman