In our final interview before tonight’s big Bacardi Legacy winners announcement we bring you, all the way from Leeds, Oliver Pluck from The East Village.
Tonight Oliver, Iain and Santiago, this years Bacardi Legacy UK 3 Most Promising, are put out of their misery when the the winner is announced. For the last few months they have been promoting their drinks in anyway they see fit to bartenders and consumers across the globe.
Each of them took a different approach to the task at hand so before it is confirmed who will be representing the UK at the global final in San Francisco later in the year we sat down with each of them to find out what they had been up to.
You can read all about Santiago and Iain’s campaigns here and here, now it is Oli’s turn. For those in the flair world Oli will be an instantly recognisable character having played a big part in the UK and international flair community (and we can attest that he has a whole lot of brilliant stories to prove it).
During that time he worked in every type of bar out there from dive bars to swanky hotel affairs and even did a shift at a royal wedding. However it is The East Village in Leeds where his heart is, a bar he built with his own fair hands that is knocking out great drinks to the local student crowd (who are obviously a lot classier than students were in our day).
BarLifeUK: Take us back to the Bacardi Legacy Final when the top 8 competed to become the 3 Most Promising. How did you feel it went when you walked off the stage?
Oliver Pluck: I was as happy as I could have been when I’d finished on the stage. Presenting is probably my key strength so I felt rather good as had practiced a great deal in the lead up.
I certainly didn’t think I’d nailed my spot in top three though, it was a strong line up and everyone brought their A game so just just focused on my A game and hoped my B Game didn’t make an appearance as it could have been anybody’s
BLUK: So your campaign recently finished, what did you get up to promoting your cocktail, Amistat?
OP: It’s been a hell of a ride. I had so many ideas it was hard to know which ones to pick and which would work best for me. I ran a competition on Instagram that garnered and lot of support and created a great buzz around the drink, people were asked to order an Amistat and post a picture of it with a promotion card for the chance to win a holiday for 2 in a 5 star hotel.
Getting in pictures of people enjoying my drink from around the country and world was really great and gave me lots of encouragement that I was on the right track.
I also decided to bottle up serves of Amistat and send it to the top 50 bars in the world, which was a great idea until I decided to wax seal each bottle. It turns out to be more of a skilled job than I realised. Myself and Jo (Oli’s long suffering, very patient and significantly better other half – ed) spent a day in The East Village labelling bottles, make a mess with the wax and packaging them all up. The post office were not impressed when I turned up with all the boxes 10 minutes before closing time!
In the last few days I took Amistat on tour starting with the Oxo Tower in London before heading to Brighton at Shuffle Bar, The Exchequer in Dublin, Amsterdam’s Door 74 and Porem, my old stomping ground of Dubai at The Fairmont and finally Nu Bar in Bologna. It was great to bartend in such amazing venues and knock my drinks out.
I had great fun creating a retro 3D cocktail menu showing different ways to serve the drink through one of those old 80’s viewers, I was really excited about my original idea until I found out Door 74 had already done it, it’s still cool though.
I ended by throwing a big party at my bar in Leeds as a thank you to everyone who had supported me during the campaign with train tickets free for anyone travelling up from London.
BLUK: What if Bacardi had given you an unlimited budget? What would you have done?
OP: I would have done exactly the same, I’m really happy with what I achieved and enjoyed the whole campaign.
BLUK: The winners announcement is close now, what will you do if your name is read out?
OP: I would steal the mic and give a Oscar worthy acceptance speech (whether that is a Paltrow tear affair or a DiCaprio global warning rant remains to be seen – ed)
BLUK: Finally what is your Spirit Animal?
OP: A drunken monkey
What we think?
It is always tough to be the only finalist outside London, especially with the pressure of a newly opened bar to run, but there is no doubt that Oli has done the rest of the UK very proud. Amistat means friendship in Spanish and Oli has certainly shown the friendship that exists throughout or industry during his whole campaign.
Oli will be the unknown quantity to many bartenders based in the UK but just a glimpse at what he achieved will have anyone wanting to find out more. Tonight is going to be a tense affair but we know that the 3MP have become good mates over the past few months and whoever wins will have deserved it. Could that be Oli? Ohhh you’d better believe it could.
Amistat by Oliver Pluck, The East Village, Leeds
Amistat, meaning friendship in Spanish, is the inspiration behind the cocktail based on the new found friendship Cuba has found with America. In 2015, after 54 years there is now another US embassy on Cuban soil. Not to forget that it was only 55 years ago when the Bacardi family had their land confiscated by Fidel Castro. So after such a struggle and fight for Cuba’s Independence who wouldn’t want to raise a glass to friendship?
37.5ml Bacardi Carta Oro
12.5ml Woodford Reserve
12.5ml Amontillado Sherry
10ml coffee liqueur
3 dashes of spiced chocolate bitters
Stir ingredients with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with an orange twist.