Meet Pusser’s Rum Bartender on Deck Buddy Newby
Buddy Newby of The Jungle Bird in Sacramento, California.
Tell me about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a mixologist?
I began bartending around six years ago at a local pizza restaurant where I prepared their house cocktails with little room to experiment. From there, I moved to Tankhouse BBQ, owned by my friend Tyler, who pretty much let me do my own thing. I worked there for about three years. Recently, I opened The Jungle Bird with Tyler and his wife Melissa. I ended up bartending because I was already working nights serving so through natural progression began bartending and fell in love with it. I love the social aspect of it and being able to give people a fun experience.
What’s your favorite rum drink? Recipe?
My favorite rum recipe is probably the Old Cuban. It has great flavors and when it is made with a premium spirit like Pusser’s 15 Year Aged, the drink can have so many levels with the richness of the rum and effervescence of the sparkling wine.
The Old Cuban:
6 large Mint Leaves
¾ ounce Lime Juice
1 ounce Simple Syrup
1 ½ ounces Pusser’s 15 Year Aged
1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 ounces Champagne
1 lime slice
Please tell me about your personal connection to rum. Why choose rum over another spirit?
I choose rum because of its vastness, depending on its region of origin or the cane that was used. I also just love the story or history of it. Lessons I never cared about in high school are now becoming something I appreciate and study. It’s fun to nerd out with like-minded people, and I enjoy having the opportunity to educate people.
What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?
With so many new companies emerging and doing cool stuff, I see the market expanding greatly. Rums that I had heard of but couldn’t get are now becoming easier to get, which creates a huge market for the public. The more we know behind the bar, the more we can bring those products to our guests. I love how companies want to educate us so that in turn, we can do that for our guest.
What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?
My peers – the girls and guys around me that are pushing the envelope and coming up with fun recipes – help me because we are in this together, and sometimes, those conversations had over a cocktail spur into great ideas and great drinks.
Please tell me about your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
My greatest achievement is taking an idea I had to do Tiki Tuesday one night a week at a BBQ place and turning that into a business. I wouldn’t have guessed five years ago, that I’d be where I am today. It’s really due to the support of my family and friends.
Any other interesting facts? Hobbies? Special talents?
I love to rollerblade. I have been doing it for 16 years now. It’s sometimes what keeps me sane. It’s really an outlet for me to release frustrations. I’ve also created lasting friendships from it. Nothing feels better than soul grinding a kink rail, brah.
How can people learn more about you? (Social media handles, website, etc.)
Facebook: Buddy Newby
Instagram: Buddynewby or Junglebird916