Warning, this article might make you extremely thirsty.



Have you ever taken the time to wonder about the process behind the creation of your favorite cocktail? If you are like me, you are probably the kind of person that sits at the bar and annoys the shit of every bartender by asking too many questions. If not, it might be time you turn your curiosity switch on and learn about your favorite poison.

To help you in your quest of drinkable knowledge, we sat down with Samuel Trudeau who’s the head bartender at Snowbird Tiki Bar –and also the new brand ambassador for the whole Bacardi family- to learn more about his background as a mixologist and what makes the perfect rum based cocktail.

His adventure as a mixologist/cocktail enthusiast started in 2012, when he met Manny Vides Jr, a big name in the cocktail industry, doing a lot of international competitions for brands like Bombay and Grey Goose.  They started working together at Le Mile Public House, a Dix30  district pub. Around the same time, he also met Lawrence Picard (who we talked about in the past, here and here), who showed him the entertainment part of the business.

“I became obsessed with the cocktail universe. All I was doing was working and coming back home to practice and read everything I could on the subject. I realized that it was what I wanted to do with my life and that I had nothing to lose by trying. It’s been five years since I took that decision and I’ve never looked back.”

He ventured on his own to open L’Gros Luxe in Longueuil and worked there for two years, mostly making his mission to change the perception of people regarding the cocktails served at the restauraut -think Bloody Caesar with burger sliders in it-  by bringin novelty to their cocktail menu.

“I gained a lot of experience through the last years, and after winning a few competitions, I realized that maybe it was time for a new challenge. I wanted to work again with Manny -who owns the Snowbird- so we sat down and started talking about what we could do together.”

After jumping into the adventure of the Snowbird, Gavin Gomes from Bacardi approached him to be the portofilio ambassador for the brand, a job that he had previously refused. “I didn’t feel ready at the time, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have remorse refushing the job. I simply think the timing wasn’t right for me” he says. Finally saying yes to the opportunity,  he feels like he can do a lot with the education part of his new function. “I want to go back to what it really means to be a brand ambassador. It’s not about trying to sell a product, but making sure people know the history of the brand and what they are drinking. I want to make them happy” he adds.

Does he feel like people still have a lot to learn about the way they are drinking? “Well, people are ready to make a meal with more than 14 ingredients, but they don’t even take the time to boil sugar and water together to create a simple syrup for their homemade cocktails. It’s okay if you want to buy the cheapest bottle of alcohol on the market and drink it straight, but it’s the gastronomic equivalent of taking all of your meals at the Mc Do’s drive thru.”

The culinary metaphors are something that come often during a conversation with Samuel, since he takes a lot of his creative inspiration from the food gastronomy and has an obsession for fresh ingredients being well used. That doesn’t stop him for thinking that sometimes, other bartenders can push a little bit too far their quest of perfection.

“Some people are always seeking to be the most innovative possible, but it can be a little bit too much. Stop going crazy over the perfect recipe for your artisanal bitter and go ask companies that have been doing it for years to learn directly from the source. That way, you can focus on the hospitality part of your job as a bartender, the formation of your team and the creation of a simple but awesome cocktail list.”

Hospitaly is precisely the key of working in a tiki surrounding and you have to fully embrace the vibe of that kind of bar to truly appreciate your experience. Even if some people can have prejudices at first and think that type of bar only serves overly sweet cocktails with too many tiny umbrellas, they should definitely give it a go. “At the Snowird, we are always trying to add a new twist to the classic cocktails, that is why we served something like the Moda No 8, which is the drink that I created for Rum Day. It’s a very alcohol foward cocktail served in a classic old fashioned glass, with big ice cubes and a zest on top. It’s not what you expect from a tiki bar and that’s what I like about it.”

“We can also serve you something like the Maestro Fresco, made with Bacardi Maestro. With that kind of name, you would expect the rum to be dark and aged, but it’s actually a white rum perfect to be mixed into cocktails with some vanilla accents. You can have fun by pairing it with different food combinations and discovering new accents. It’s a never ending exploration.”

So, are you thirsty yet?


For those of you who want to recreate Sam’s cocktail at home, here’s the recipe!


2 parts BACARDÍ

8 Años

½ part Cointreau

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

¼ part Brown Sugar

Method: Fill double rocks glass with ice. In a mixing glass, add the four dashes of Angostura bitters and brown sugar. Add all liquid ingredients, ice and stir. Empty the double rocks glass and add one big ice cube. Strain the mixing glass contents into the double rocks glass. Garnish with lime zest.