“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald


If there is a guy in town who you can trust to make you the best cocktail to spice up your night, it’s Maxime Boivin, one of the co-owners behind the new restaurant and bar SafeHouse. With more than a decade of experience in the world of mixology, he knows how to add his own twist to any classic. This might explain why the established alcohol brand Appleton Estate decided to partner up with him to create custom holiday cocktails for the upcoming season.

Since I am always curious to learn more about something every time cocktails are implied, I asked him some questions to demystify his work.


How does someone decide to become a mixologist?

When you find something that you love to do every day and for several hours, and on top of it, it can pay the bills at the end of the month, it’s a gift from life. I met the right passionate people at a point in my career where I needed to find something that drives me. Creating drinks and hosting people at the bar was, for me, the best job in the world. I still wake up every morning thinking I made the best decision choosing the bartending life.


What are the particular skills you need to have to be a great mixologist?

An open mind. You need to be ready to learn from every situation that is presented to you. You have to be ready to read old books and press a ton of citrus juice! And you need to enjoy what you do, because you work in front of people – they will see it if you don’t enjoy yourself behind the bar.


You made a name for yourself while working at Maison Boulud. What’s the most important thing you learned while working there?

That the secret of fine dining is good preparation. Get your ingredients as fresh as possible and make them ready to use for your shift. And whatever the amount of money you have in your account, being happy at what you do is the best thing that can happen in life.


What is the best part about your job?

The girls! I think the best feeling in the world as a bartender is the look in the eyes of a happy customer, thanking you over and over for the amazing night you made them have. Making people happy with my cocktails and my service, giving them one of the best experiences they’ve had at a bar or a restaurant – that’s the best part of my job.



How would you describe the cocktail menu at SafeHouse?

The cocktail menu at SafeHouse is simple and small. It puts the guests in a comfortable position with their mixologist. The bartenders have the chance to work with great spirits, like Appleton Estate, which is fun to work with and easy to use in so many ways. We also provide fresh ingredients so our mixologists can customize every visit and make variations over and over.


What’s the standout feature that makes your bar different from any other?

The décor and the ambiance! You won’t find a better place that can fit every kind of night! You can meet with friends or go on a Tinder date, meet with your mom or your boss for a cocktail or champagne! Music is always on point and service is always our priority in making every night a special one.


What is your favorite cocktail to make with Appleton rum?

For me, I want to have fun with a bold and strong rum. The Appleton Rare Blend is a great spirit to sling in a great Old Fashion. I made a variation with allspice, long pepper syrup and black walnut bitter. With the orange twist flambé, it makes one heck of a drink!

Kingston Fashion

2 oz. – Appleton Estate Rare Blend

0.5oz – Allspice syrup

2 dashes of black walnut bitters

Orange peel


What cocktail trend would you like to see disappear?

Cheap cocktail pre-mix, fake grenadine and bleached cherries that my grandfather was loving so much (I took his Manhattan with three cherries and always asked for an extra!) I would like to see all fake and chemical ingredients disappear!


If you had to create a cocktail inspired by our magazine (avant-garde, provocative and fashionable), what would you mix?

I created this cocktail for the Made with Love competition a few years ago with Appleton rum, black-truffle-infused honey and homemade espresso bitter. It’s the perfect drink for those tuxedo nights where you rock those Stan Smith Adidas!




About The Author

Marie-Ève Venne
Lifestyle Director

Marie-Ève is a little person who still secretly wishes she was one of the Olsens twins. You can catch her running from event to event, a coffee bigger than her face in one hand and her cell phone glued to the other. At Dress To Kill, she is the one writing about the newest musician you need to discover and that trendy bar that makes the best damn cocktails in the city.

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