These days, it’s no surprise to see bartenders on the public stage – from recipe books to collaborations with big-name brands, the trade is stepping out from behind the stick and into the spotlight.
The latest development in bartending’s profile-raising phenomenon comes from rum powerhouse Bacardi. For its new marketing campaign, the brand filmed a music video featuring five bartenders from around the world, set to an ASMR-inspired track created out of the soothing sounds of the bar.
Each bartender was flown out to Slovenia for the shoot, then crafted a signature Bacardi serve at their respective bars to accompany the campaign.
‘As part of a crop of top bartenders that are coming through strong within the industry, it’s part of our job to introduce the consumer to amazing spirits and cocktails,’ says Lawrence Gregory of the Curtain Hotel in London, who starred in the video along with Julia Rahn of Germany, Raysa Straal of the Netherlands, Adrian Nino of France and Nicole Fas of Puerto Rico.
For his Sound of Rum serve, Gregory, who calls himself ‘The Rum Boss’, created Flamingo Domingo, which is currently listed at the Curtain Hotel.
‘It’s a fierce drink with floral notes and a smooth finish, packed with rich Caribbean flavours which pay tribute to the unique heritage and fascinating history of Bacardi,’ he explains. ‘I also took inspiration from the other bartenders I met on the video shoot – I learned so much from their vibe, flair, flamboyance and grace so I had a lot to draw from when creating my cocktail.’
There’s no doubt that projects like the Sound of Rum highlight bartending as a viable and exciting career path. They have the potential to attract more people to the trade, show the opportunities it has to offer, and elevate it to a more respected – even glamourous – status (so glamourous when the glasswasher breaks for the third time in a week, no?).
But Bacardi's campaign also raises questions about what it takes to find professional success in bartending today – and what success looks like in the first place.
Are a bartender’s ‘vibe and flair’ – and marketability – just as important as their well-crafted drinks? Is being publicly recognised and working with big-name brands the goal to aspire to, akin to a musician signing a record deal?
‘I think the performances in the Sound of Rum show the versatility of seasoned bartenders and how multi-talented you need to be to get to that next level,’ Gregory says.
As for what those multiple talents are, and what that next level entails, we'll have to wait and see.