BACARDI’S Global Brand Ambassador David Cordoba is regarded as being one of the world’s leading authorities on rum-based cocktails. Since concocting his first drinks 13 years ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he bartended while studying at university, to going on to wow drinkers with his cocktail creations at top bars in Europe, he’s always had a knack for creating boozy brilliance in a glass. Now based in London and employed by rum giants Bacardi, David spends most of the year jetting off to cities around the world to teach bartenders how to create top quality rum-based cocktails. Last month he arrived in Bangkok to host several exclusive training sessions for the 30 Thai bartenders entering this year’s Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition, a worldwide contest to seek out top bartending talent, and while he was here we stole five minutes of his time to ask him more about his enviable job.
Well, education about the brand is very important. We have 150 years of history and we realized that we have never shared this properly with our customers – the people that want to know more about our products, how they are made, and with what materials. So Bacardi needs someone like me to tell the story properly, and not only about the history of Bacardi, but also about bartending, how Bacardi can be used to make amazing cocktails, and so on.
What is the aim of your trip to Thailand?
The aim of my trip is to share my knowledge and tips with the 30 Thai bartenders who entered the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2013, and also host exclusive training sessions for the four most promising bartenders who will compete in the competition’s final round, to be held in March. Only one representative from Thailand will go on to train in Miami, USA, in preparation for the world final round, which will be held in Puerto Rico in April.
What must one do to be a great bartender?
There are many things that a bartender should do to be a great one, but one of the most important things is to be curious. A curious person is always eager to learn and, as a consequence, is also more creative. For example, some of the tools I use for bartending are not from bartending stores, and are generally not used for bartending. But I saw them in kitchens and shops and thought that they could be helpful in bartending, so I adapted them to suit my needs. Also, being a good host for customers is very important in this kind of career. A great bartender should give a warm welcome to each and every customer, offer great service, and impress customers with their personality.
What do you like best about your work?
I like being able to travel and meet people from different cultures, and share ideas for cocktails with them. In my job I can’t avoid drinking alcohol, of course, so I must take care of myself by exercising three to four times a week, and also by eating healthy foods. In the Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition 2013 we have a special session which teaches bartenders how to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Do you have a message for the Thai bartenders taking part in the competition?
Be proud to be a bartender and be confident! Confidence is the key to success in your career. And don’t forget to take care of your customers and be happy.