Bartender on Deck: Nick Hicks



Nick Hicks – Little Octopus, Nashville TNAttach3163_20180419_171441

Tell me about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a mixologist?
I started my bar career while in college and fell in love with the science and art behind cocktails and mixology. I have been consuming copious amounts of beer, wine, and spirits knowledge from as many sources as I can find ever since.

Favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail and recipe?
Classic painkiller: For our version here at Little Octopuss we use 1.5oz Pusser’s Rum, 1oz OJ, 3oz Pineapple juice, 1oz Coco Lopez (coconut cream), shaken vigorously and dumped into a Painkiller tin mug, then float ½ oz Plantation OFTD rum with freshly grated nutmeg on top

Why are you a fan of Pusser’s?
Have been a fan of drinking rums since I could drink, started with spiced rums and moved quickly into navy rums. I enjoy the full but smooth flavors of navy strength despite the higher than average ABV of the rum. With Pusser’s I like the tradition and rich history of an authentic spirit that showcases its origin and classic flavor of a quality blended rum.

Where do you find inspiration for your cocktails?
I get inspired by seasonal flavors and combinations, from fresh fruits and herbs to interesting combinations. I enjoy complex and layered tastes in drinks and using classic cocktails as a springboard for building new cocktails

Please tell me about your greatest accomplishment in relation to the spirits industry.
While only competing in a few bar competitions or official completing bar related certifications, I really enjoy the smaller moments. When a guest says I make the best version of a certain drink or stating their enjoyment of a ‘dealer’s choice’ cocktail I’ve made them with a surprising combination/ingredient and how well it worked

What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
I’ve taught myself to be ambidextrous. I can fully throw, catch, write, etc with either hand and of course bartend equally with either. It comes in quite handy in improving my speed and efficiency behind the bar.

Any advice for those aspiring to the be in the industry?
I encourage those getting into the industry to dive in with passion. Educate and immerse yourself in any and all aspects of the industry that excite you to constantly learn and grow. While what bartenders do is relatively simple, it still requires hard work and dedication and it’s the little details that can make the biggest differences. I still enjoy discovering new techniques or bits of information from fellow bar professionals or even other industries not directly related to hospitality to improve my own skills and abilities. And never be afraid to let your natural personality shine through at work.

How can people get in touch with you?
I’m not that into using social media platforms but people can always check out the Little Octopus website for current cocktail list and can email me directly