Tell us about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a bartender/mixologist?
As far as I remember, I’ve always loved to be around people; having fun and making them happy. After graduating in banking and insurance, i worked in a office for 2 months and quickly realised, that it was not for me. I love going out and meeting people and bartenders were always interesting for me; it’s like they were on a stage. Entertaining, having fun, making great cocktails, meeting new people, but most of all making everyone happy. They were doing all the things I love to do and getting paid for it. This is when I realised that I wanted to be a bartender. Although I didn’t just want to be a bartender, I wanted to be a very good bartender and open a bar one day. A bar that will make a difference in the industry and will make people happy. I read a lot of books, went to many presentations, entered many competitions, worked in many bars and traveled a lot. All this experience was leading up to the opening of Laki Kane. Through my 17 years of experience in the bar industry I learned what was missing in the market and what makes people happy, this is how Laki Kane came alive. A bar where you can discover and lose your self in an authentic and premium Tropical Escape.
What’s your favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail, and what is the recipe for making it?
I love Pusser’s Rum in general and I have made many cocktails with it. There is one that stands out, it’s an absolute masterpiece, called the Guinness Punch in Manhattan! Making a cocktail by mixing Guinness Punch and Manhattan is utter madness but I say bring it on. I remember I was experimenting with Timmy Falzon and Luca Chinalli, when we tasted the final product. We looked at each other and couldn’t even speak. The flavours were absolutely insane! If you haven’t tried it yet, you have to come to Laki Kane and experience this.
Guinness Punch in Manhattan
Pusser’s Gun Powder Rum – 30ml
Guinness, date syrup and pimento leaf reduction – 10ml
Mancino Chinato – 20ml
Cynar – 10ml
Milk – 40ml
Put all the ingredients together and clarify through a coffee filter. Once the liquid is clarified, brown and clear, pour it into a mixing glass.
Stir well and strain in large cup over a big chunk of ice. Garnish with a chocolate basket full of raisins .
Please tell us about your personal connection to rum. Why choose rum over another spirit?
Rum was always a very interesting spirit for me. When I was reading about spirits, rum was the most interesting out of all of them. There was something about the history, the production, the varieties, but most of all where rum was made. Rum is made mainly in beautiful tropical destinations and this is something that I am very passionate about. My romantic relationship with rum started about 14 years ago, when I started working in Floridita bar in Soho. Sadly this bar doesn’t exist anymore, but at that point Floridita was one of the best bars. This is when I met Richard Woods and he passed his knowledge and love for rum to me. After that i moved to Mahiki to work. There I started working shoulder to shoulder with Papa Jules and my love for rum and the tropical lifestyle become stronger. I started traveling around the Caribbean to learn about rum, and then around the world to teach about rum, tiki and cocktails. And again all this experience was leading to the opening of Laki Kane, a bar that represents my biggest passions; rum, tropical lifestyle and making people happy.
What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?
Rum is the most mesmerising and versatile spirit in the world. Rum is fun, quality and it brings people together. Aged rum is much more complex than any other spirit, at least for me. There are not many rules and regulations when it comes to rum. This is why rum is one of the most versatile spirits, but is also why rum is one of the most misunderstood spirit too. I don’t think that strong rules and regulations should and will apply, but there should be some. People should know what goes into the rums they are buying. They should recognise that rum is a lifestyle and fun but also quality too.
Spiced Rum is the fastest growing category of rum. In Laki Kane on the second floor we have our own ‘re-distillery’ for rum masterclasses called Spiced Dry Rum Club. In the 3 hour rum experience guests can learn about rum, taste different rums and make their own Spiced Dry Rum using the method of distillation instead of maceration. This way they can create their own rum using the spices and dry fruits they like without using any sugar. It’s definitely something I would recommend to anyone that likes rum or wants to understand rum.
What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?
When you don’t like your job, you think about the things you love whilst you are working. When you love your job you think about things related to your job when you are not working. My brain never switches off when it comes to cocktail creations. Almost anything can trigger ideas about cocktails in my head. Trying different fruits, vegetables, herbs, spirits etc. Having dinner and recognising flavours and tastes. Seeng something that I can turn into a vessel or hearing something that can become a great cocktail name or a beautiful story that I can replicate into a cocktail and many other inspirations.
Please share your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
Been able to go around the world and pass on my passion about rum, cocktails and the tropical lifestyle to other people is one of the most rewarding things. In terms of achievements, Laki Kane definitely is my biggest achievement. As the only bar in the world that doesn’t use refined sugar to make its syrups, we use only the natural sweetness of the fruits, sugar cane juice, honey, agave etc. We also use unique tropical fruits like Soursop, Cupuassu, Jack Fruit, Sapodilla and many more, to transfer guests to a tropical destination. With a lab on-site, we make most of the ingredients in-house. Our cocktails are very theatrical and unique. We are also the only bar in the world that has a rum distillery in it and definitely the only producer of Spiced Dry Rum. Everything we have done has been created with the customer in mind. It took 17 years of experience and over a year of hard work from me and my business partners Steve Kyprianou and Sam Robson.
What is an interesting fact about yourself? Any special talents or hobbies?
People spend most of their lives working. If you don’t like what you do you will never be happy, even if you are making lot of money. I have been blessed to turn my hobby into work, in fact most of my hobbies are work related. Outside of work, I love sports and I wish I had more time to practise it, I love travelling and learning about different cultures, and I love animals, learning about them and seeing them in the wild.
How can people learn more about you?
Facebook- Georgi Radev and Laki Kane
Instagram- tikibigdaddyg and Lakikane
Twitter – Tiki_RumMan and Laki Kane
LinkedIn- Georgi Radev and Laki Kane