One of Bangkok’s best bartenders, Kai know’s his way around a cocktail, whether it’s crafting a new recipe or stirring an old fashioned. When you’re in town and ready to kick off your night with a drinks, Kai is one of the go to people to help you let loose and prep for the night.
Finding sometime out of his busy schedule, Kai, sit’s down with Luxxetta for an exclusive interview. You can find him mixing away at Vertigo at the Banyan Tree.
Kai & His Career
Kai: To wrap a very long story short – I left Hawaii just over 4 years ago to become a bartender. In the midst of working abroad in Australia and New Zealand I flew to the beaches of Phuket for a holiday. A friend of mine asked if I would be interested to work for a hotel in Phuket as their bar manager/beverage consultant, and one thing led to another – and not long after I found myself managing the bars for one of the finest hotels in Bangkok.
- a. ‘Top 8’ Finalist of Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2016
- b. 1st Place Winner of Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2016 Thailand
- c. 1st Place Winner of Peter F. Heering Classic Cocktail Competition 2016 Thailand
- d. 1st Runner Up of La Maison Cointreau 2016 Thailand
- e. 1st Place Winner of Bacardi True Rum Night 2015 Thailand
- f. 2nd Place Winner of Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Challenge 2015 Thailand
- g. 2nd Place Winner of Perrier Mixologist Team Competition 2015 Thailand
- h. 3rd Place Winner of the MONIN World Cup 2014 Thailand
- i. 1st Place Winner of the MONIN World Cup 2014 Phuket
Is it important for someone to be passionate about this field in order to be a successful Bartender?
Kai: The two main criteria for becoming a bartender would come down to passion for the industry, and a good sense of hospitality. The skills of the bartender can be learned, but the passion or good sense cannot be – you either have it or you don’t. However you may not discover whether or not you do until you get started!
How do I get the bartender’s attention in a crowded bar ?
Kai: Believe it or not, the bartender has seen you walk up to his station. Now what you do from there will determine how quickly you’ll be served. Try to make eye contact with the bartender and have your money ready in your hand. This usually means that you know what you want to order – which makes you a fast customer for the bartender. If you are talking to your friend, looking down at your phone, or god forbid snapping at the bartender or waving your money in their face, you will be served last.
Would you consider yourself as a good drinker?
Kai: I’d like to think I am. I think the longer I’m in the industry, the less often I tend to drink. However on those moments in the night that I decide to, I’ll be drinking a bottle of rum or gin to see the empty bottom. 😉
What should I order at the bar to impress my date?
Kai: Impress your date by asking what they’d like. The last thing you should do is jump to conclusions and order something they don’t drink. This also gives you another opportunity to talk about something else.”
Tell us more about your award winning cocktail, is there any story behind it?
Kai: The cocktail which I competed with in the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition is called “The Haole.” The word itself is Hawaiian, meaning “The Foreigner,” which I’ve used as my mantra and motivation through the competition. That I was able to represent Hawaii, the home I’ve left behind and miss dearly, in a country such as Thailand. It’s refreshing, light, and bubbly, made from Bacardi, white vermouth, pineapple syrup, lemon juice, and ginger ale. Doesn’t that just sound like something you’ll want to sip down by the beach?
How can we follow you on social media?
The XXTT Team