Meet Pusser’s Rum Bartender on Deck Joe Farr
Joe Farr of Bibliothek Bar in Basel, Switzerland
What is the name of your drink, and where did the inspiration come from?
My drink is called First Overboard and is inspired by the job behind the Pusser’s Rum Brand. The Purser was (as you know) the person responsible for rationing out the Rum aboard Navy vessels. Understandably the rest of the crew where quite often envious or frustrated with this chap, for not being more generous with his Rum supply, and as such he would often be amongst the first casualties when the ship came under attack, with friendly fire being a common end to the Purser’s tenure. The drink itself includes Lapsang Tea syrup to represent the smoky gunpowder stored with the Purser’s rum & a musky Sherry to provide the damp conditions on board. A healthy measure of Pusser’s Rum helps to bind these two ingredients in typical Tiki fashion.
How did you end up as a mixologist?
I am a happy go lucky hippy. I ended up as a “mixologist” after arriving in London and being taken in by the mighty Trailer Happiness. I worked my ass off as a barback, keeping everything ship shape and trying to learn as much as I could from both the regular Rum lovers and a multitude of incredibly knowledgeable folks from distillers to brand ambassadors. After almost a year I began to take baby steps onto the bar, but Trailer is an excellent place to learn quickly. After nearly 2 and a half years I moved 3 doors down the road to the Portobello Star (R.I.P) where I set about expanding on what I had learnt. After over a year & a half there I moved out to Basel and am now working at Bibliothek Bar.
What’s your favorite rum drink?
It’s a very hard decision, but beyond a well-balanced Daiquiri or Mai Tai, I’d have to say a Hell in the Pacific. It has everything you want in one drink. A big rich Navy style Rum, such as Pusser’s Gunpowder, zesty Lime, floral Maraschino, tangy pomegranate molasses and vibrant grenadine, truly an inspired twist. Let’s go 55ml Pusser’s Gunpowder, 25ml Lime, 10ml Maraschino, 5ml Pomegranate molasses and 12.5ml Grenadine, shake well serve into your mouth.
Why choose rum over another spirit?
Rum to me is the spirit with the most to say. There is an incredible amount of diversity within the category from smooth and light bodied Cuban Rums to a raw and grassy Martinique Agricole, or a funky punchy high ester Jamaican to a rich and spicy Guyanese, there is a perfect rum for everyone if they can find it.
What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?
Great things are already happening across the Rum world, whether it’s the rise of certain distillery’s producing Pure Rums or a larger consumer market than ever before, Rum is definitely on the way up. That’s not to say there hasn’t always been top quality Rum available, but for a variety of reasons growth to the rum was until recently restricted. There is now an ever-expanding group of Rum purists fighting tooth and nail for Rum to be taken as seriously as Whisky & Cognac, and a huge number of great cocktail bars working with Pure Rums and hosting takeovers and tasting events, and that’s not to mention the amount of people jumping on the Rum bandwagon as Whiskey prices continue to soar. Rum to a spirits connoisseur represents a smorgasbord of opportunity and flavor, and I for one say welcome, dig in.
What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?
Pretty much anything can inspire me, as long as it is in itself inspiring. A good story is always a strong starting point but sometimes just playing with flavours or looking at what chefs are creating is always helpful. On a sentimental note, it definitely helped having a mother who is not only a great cook, but also involved in molecular food/flavouring production, and how much she included my brother and I in her work from an early age.
Please tell me about your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
Well there are a few things I am proud of but winning a Zombie Cocktail competition with my brother from another accent, Ronan Collins, is definitely up there, along with the design and implementation of the Winter Cocktail & Sunday Bloody Mary menus at the Portobello Star with Josh Evans and the rest of the team.
Any other interesting facts? Hobbies? Special talents?
Fire breathing and fire spinning are my most interesting hobbies, and I am going to try and scrape back some modesty by saying I don’t really have any special talents, that I am aware of.
How can people learn more about you?
You can follow me on Instagram under constant.hilarity or if you’re on the inside I tend to be available for debate in the London Bartender Association Facebook group. If you’re more of a face to face kind of person then get yourself to Bibliothek Bar, Basel, who you can find on Facebook or Instagram also.
First Overboard by Joe Farr
60ml Pusser’s Blue Label
25ml Lime Juice
10ml Crème de Cassis
10ml Amontillado Sherry
12.5ml Lapsang Syrup
5ml Simple Syrup (1:1)
2dashes Walnut Bitters