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LONDON CREATIVE: Ricardas Znamenskas

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This week we caught up with Ricardas Znamenskas, the talented bartender and Brand Ambassador at Be At One!

1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY ON BECOMING A BARTENDER?

When I moved to London 11 years ago, I tried my hand at a few different trades but nothing really felt right until I picked up a cocktail shaker for the first time. I was introduced to the bartending world by a friend of mine and that really is how it started. My career in bartending started, following a trial at Be At One in Covent Garden and I haven’t looked back since.

This job has opened up so many doors for me and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As well as bartending I help train new recruits and I am now an official Brand Ambassador for Be At One, after winning the annual Bartender Challenge earlier this year for the second time. I’m so proud and love sharing my experiences and helping others to discover their own talent.

2. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A GREAT BAR?

A great bar starts with a great team. People come to Be At One for two reasons – amazing cocktails and a fun packed experience. It is my job as a bartender to provide both of these. Having a strong team to work with makes it so much easier as we bounce off one another to keep the energy behind the bar really upbeat. We have over 100 cocktails to choose from on our new menu and we all know them like the back of our hand. It’s important that every bartender in the company knows how to make each drink perfectly every time, whilst giving guests a bit of a show – we fancy ourselves as quite the entertainers, and pride ourselves on making seriously good cocktails.

3. WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAKE YOUR CONCOCTIONS EXTRA SPECIAL?

Our cocktails are delicious, even if I do say so myself! People come to a cocktail bar and expect to be served perfect drinks but what makes ours extra special is that they are made by some of the best and most well-trained bartenders in the industry. We go that extra mile by adding a bit of fun to our drinks too. Be that with some exciting garnish, a twist on a classic or making a traditional drink while throwing in a few dance moves to get the party started behind the bar too. We want everyone who comes in to our bars to have the best time.

4. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THE NEXT BIG DRINKS TREND WILL BE?

That’s a difficult one! Gin is huge and our love for it is going nowhere. Whisky is really popular too, and vodka is fantastic in cocktails – I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The Pornstar Martini for example remains our most popular cocktail – we sell nearly 2,000 every day! But if I had to choose just one spirit that’ll be the next big thing, I’d have to say rum. I think we’re going to see golden and spiced rum really take off. It’s such an exciting spirit to work with and mixes really well with a lot of different flavours.

There’s loads of fantastic rum drinks on our new menu that launched on 17th October. One of my favourites is called Monkey Punch; it’s a rum based milk punch made with El Dorado rum, Coco Pops and banana. How delicious does that sound? The Jet Pilot – Plantation O.F.T.D rum, Plantation 5-Year-Old rum, spiced lime liqueur, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit, lime and absinthe –  is also amazing. Or how about the Matt The Rat – a mix of Sailor Jerry rum, orange liqueur, orange, lemon and lemonade. I could keep going, but don’t just take my word for it, the proof is in the pudding, you’ll have to come on down to try them for yourself!

5. WHEN YOU’RE NOT BEHIND THE BAR, WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO TO ENJOY ON A NIGHT OUT IN LONDON?

You’re not going to believe me if I say Be At One are you? I know it sounds crazy as I work there but I love being on the other side of the bar to enjoy the Be At One experience as a guest too! Not only do I know the drinks are going to be amazing but I also love the music and the party vibe – it’s really difficult to beat and I benchmark every other bar against it.

If I do venture elsewhere though, I’ll probably go to The Pink Chihuahua in El Camion, Mr. Foggs Residence or Cahoots.

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