Bartender on Deck: Sunni Aceves


Tell us about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a bartender/mixologist?

My name is Sunni Aceves and I’m originally from Albuquerque, NM. When I first moved to LA I was serving tables and started bartending from there. I had a friend recommend me to a local Tiki bar and jumped on the opportunity. I worked under a Welsch mixololgist by the name of Rhino. His philosophy was “if you are going to put work into something, make sure it’s always your best work or else it’s not worth it”, that went for everything in life, even small tasks that seem unimportant. That is something that has stuck with me since. His passion for life and mixology in particular could be seen through everything he did. He was like watching an artist paint. I learned so much from him.

What’s the recipe for your favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail?

My favorite Pusser’s cocktail is hands down the Painkiller. It is such a well balanced cocktail. The juices compliment the rum so well and vice versa. The perfect amount of dessert and the perfect amount of cocktail, dusted with spices take me away to paradise.

Pusser’s Rum Painkiller

  • 2oz Pusser’s British Navy Rum
  • 3oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1oz Orange Juice
  • 1oz Coconut Cream
  • Shaken over crushed ice and dusted with nutmeg.

Please tell us about your personal connection to rum. Why choose rum over another spirit?

Honestly, before I worked at Tiki bar I knew nothing about rum and rarely drank it. It now holds a special place in my heart. Rum is the ultimate vacation libation. Whether you are sipping a Mai Tai on a beach in Hawaii, drinking Hurricanes on the streets of New Orleans, or enjoying a freshly made Pina Colada in Puerto Rico, it takes you away to another place. A lot of people come into the bar and are craving something they had while vacationing. It’s as if when the rum hits your lips you are taken immediately back to that special place and amazing moments you shared.

What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?

I think rum is absolutely on the rise as Tiki bars hit their resurgence. Rum drinks are so much fun and so smooth that most of the time we forget that we are drinking at all! What better way to celebrate than with “vacation drinks”? After all, nights out with friends are in fact mini vacations themselves.

What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?

What inspires me most while bartending is getting people to try things that they normally would not have or even dislike, because when you find that perfect balance its like magic. I like watching the enjoyment and almost disbelief across the face of someone that was so sure they weren’t going to like something.

Please share your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.

I think the greatest part about working in a bar is the connection to people. Some of the greatest and least expected bonds form over cocktails. I’ve watched patrons meet their future spouses sitting at my bar. I, myself have been gifted the greatest friendships from this industry. I think if I have achieved anything working in the spirit’s industry, its shared love and happiness for one another.

What is an interesting fact about yourself? Any special talents or hobbies?

Outside of the bar, I love anything that involves being active or outside. Anything that can get me a little extra California sunshine!! I also love to paint.

How can people learn more about you? (Social media handles, website, etc.)

Instagram: @sunnid88 or @dreamalwaysart is my art page

Become our Next Bartender on Deck
5 Super Simple and Delicious 2-Ingredient Rum Drinks
5 Super Simple and Delicious 2-Ingredient Rum Drinks
If one thing is certain, it's that our collective love of rum is stronger than ever. Last year rum drinkers around th...
Read More
Drinking Like a Sailor: 3 Classic Sailor Drinks You Need to Try
Drinking Like a Sailor: 3 Classic Sailor Drinks You Need to Try
After a harrowing day at sea, there was nothing better than a ration of rum aboard Royal Navy ships. Pusser's Rum is ...
Read More
Tools of the Trade: 3 Essential Bar Tools Your Home Bar Needs
Tools of the Trade: 3 Essential Bar Tools Your Home Bar Needs
The popularity of home bars has been growing since at least 2019, and the pandemic is probably driving these numbers ...
Read More