Meet Pusser’s Rum Bartender on Deck Georgi Radev
Georgi Radev of Mahiki in London, England.
Tell me about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a bartender/mixologist?
I was born and raised in Bulgaria. I graduated with a degree in banking and insurance. My future wasn’t linked with the bar industry except for one thing. I have always been a wild child and I loved to go out in bars and clubs. I was always the heart and soul of the company. I often felt a bit jealous when I was looking at the bartenders. They were having fun, entertaining the guests, making those beautiful cocktails and were like celebrities on stage. They were doing all the things I love and getting paid for it. Working in a office felt like keeping a wild tiger in a cage for me. I didn’t even make it 2 months and I stormed out of the office and joined a bartender course. Bar tending became not just a passion, but a way of living for me. Finally, I was happy and had a vision in my life. Getting to know all the different spirits, liquors, syrups and flavours and how to mix them was amazing. It was like learning a new science. Normal people have 6 senses and good bartenders have 7. Good bartenders can feel what flavours will work together in what proportion.
What’s your favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail, and what is the recipe for making it?
I love Pusser’s Rum, and I’ve created so many different cocktails with it. It’s very difficult to pick just one, and I will give you few. I love old classic cocktails with Pusser’s and new modern tiki creations alike.
Georgi’s Pusser’s Rum Hurricane Cocktail Recipe
Pusser’s Blue Label – 2 ounces
Re’al Passion Fruit – 1 ounce
1/2 once lemon juice
1 half fresh passion fruit
Angostura Bitters – 3 dashes
Method: Put all the ingredients in a blender with crushed ice and flash blend for 5 seconds.
Why are you a Pusser’s fan? Why choose Pusser’s Rum over another spirit?
I love Pusser’s Rum and I always have. I very often give Pusser’s Rum as an example of good, full-flavoured rum. There are so many different reasons that I can give, but I will be more generic. Pusser’s Rum has a great true history. Pusser’s Rum is powerful symphony of aromas and flavours. It is perfect for tiki cocktails. It’s powerful and flavourful and it doesn’t get lost in tropical drinks. It’s not too punchy and it doesn’t overpower all the beautiful exotic syrups that you add in a tiki cocktail. The range is absolutely amazing. Gunpowder for the real tough rum lovers, Blue Label to take the age of the Navy strength. Pusser’s 15 is like a bench mark for premium rums and not over sweet Spiced in which you can taste the rum and the real spices.
Where do you find inspiration for your cocktails?
For me a cocktail is not just a good mix of ingredients. For me, a cocktail should be take you on a journey. The journey starts with the story around the cocktail, the name, the vessel, garnish, ingredients, and the way you will serve it. If you love making cocktails, inspiration is all around you. You can find inspiration from a movie you watched, when you went shopping, from a dish you had, when you travel etc. Inspiration could fire in your brain in different ways. I can get inspired from a cool cocktail name, from a vessel I found, from different ingredients I get exited from, a story, etc. All these things can trigger my imagination, and I will create a cocktail journey from it.
Please tell me about your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
I love tiki, rum and cocktails. I do presentations all over the world to pass my passion and knowledge. I worked with many rum brands to help them develop. I have managed one of the most famous rum bars in the world Mahiki for over 10 years. I helped develop the formula of Mahiki Coconut Rum. But my biggest achievement so far is the creation of the first U.K. tiki Festival called Spirit of Tiki. This festival showcases the tiki life style and how different spirits work in beautiful classic and modern tiki cocktails. Spirit of Tiki combines all the things I love in one festival: tiki, rum and cocktails. This way I can pass my passion and love to the thousands of visitors we get every year.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself? (Special hobbies or talents?)
We live in a crazy world where everything is so fast and everyone is so busy. We spend most of our lives working and if we don’t like our jobs we will never be happy. I am so glad that I turned my hobby and passion into my job and into my career eventually. Making people happy is what makes me the happiest person. I follow the Aloha Spirit and pass the positive energy. Everything we do in our industry is to make people happy: All the different Spirits and cocktail ingredients that get created, the different bar concepts and cocktail innovations,and all the service and entertainment improvement in the bars are made so people can have fun and spend money while enjoying themselves.
How can people get in touch or learn more about you? (Social media handles, website, etc.)