A conversation with Tommy Cole
In the summer of 2022, Tommy Cole the brand ambassador of Santiago De Cuba Rum and Georgi Radev the owner of Laki Kane got together and delivered an amazing Cocktails In The City experience for our guests.
Over 1000 coconut cocktails were painstakingly drilled out, prepared, served and enjoyed and in 2023 Tommy will be back again with Callooh Callay and the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
A brand ambassador’s job sounds amazing, so who are they and what do they actually do? We caught up with Tommy Cole for more information….
What is your background to becoming an ambassador?
Having cut my teeth in the then newly budding Sydney-based bar scene during the early 2000s, I relocated from Australia to the cocktail capital of Europe – London, where I have spent the last decade honing my expertise across numerous channels.
With over 15 years of experience in the hospitality on-trade, the last 5 years have seen me under the guise of Diageo Reserve, where I have recently side-stepped into the sister-business world of Justerini & Brooks as the appointed Portfolio Brand Ambassador to Ron Santiago de Cuba.
What does a brand ambassador do?
A brand ambassador is often regarded as the public face of the brand, my duty is to create awareness driven by the passion and excitement for the ever-growing-in-popularity category of premium Rum, via events, campaigns, and activations.
On a day-to-day basis, I can be found spreading the spiritous word of Ron Santiago de Cuba, interacting at a consumer level and with bartenders in trade in order to advocate, educate and establish a long-lasting appreciation for this incredible spirit.
Who are you partnering with at Cocktails in The City in 2023?
Ron Santiago de Cuba will be showcased this August and September with two different bar partners: Callooh Callay (Shoreditch), and the Breakfast Club’s very own speakeasy, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
As our 2nd rendition at CitC, we wanted to demonstrate the versatility of the brand and how well it works across a variety of venues, bringing a touch of Cuba and the Caribbean to Bedford Square Gardens this Summer – as well as having the chance to work alongside some of our well-respected partners.
What do you believe a good ambassador should deliver in their role?
As a representative to your craft, I believe it’s truly important to believe in what you stand for. Being able to speak with confidence, bravado, knowledge, and understanding is vital – not only to better seed your brand/product at the point of consumer, but more so to instil your personal sense of passion for what you characterise, epitomizing a sense of connection.
As an accredited WSET educator, I also strongly believe in the continuous drive to share knowledge and interest in the craft behind the label – seeking out the thirst for depth and discovery amongst consumers, bartenders, cocktail and Rum-lovers alike.
Can you recommend a signature serve to make at home for each of the expressions?
Ron Santiago de Cuba Carta Blanca:
You can’t beat a true classic, the Daiquiri – utilising the perfect balance of 3 simple ingredients: Rum, lime & sugar. The formula of which is often tweaked to personal preference, I personally like mine a little drier (less sugar), but feel free to switch it up to your own taste.
50ml Ron Santiago de Cuba Carta Blanca
25ml fresh lime juice
15ml 1:1 simple syrup
Ron Santiago de Cuba Añejo 8-Year-Old:
The Santiago Spritz – a refreshing & effervescent summer sipper, made with an archetypal Cuban sweetener – aguamiel: a slightly salted honey syrup paired fresh citrus and topped with soda.
50ml Ron Santiago de Cuba Añejo 8-Year-Old
40ml Salted honey syrup*
25ml fresh lime juice
Top Premium Soda Water
Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 11-Year-Old:
The Canchánchara – This age-old cocktail pre-dates even the Daiquiri. Utilising synonymous flavours of the island of Cuba, this is a delicious re-emergence of a stone-cold classic.
50ml Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 11-Year -ld
40ml Salted honey syrup*
25ml Fresh Lime juice
Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo 12-Year-Old:
Best enjoyed neat – the depth of flavour and rich complexity of this well-aged Rum is best showcased stood alone.
With heady aromas of dry Sherry, whisps of Robusta coffee, dark chocolate, and stone fruits – the finish leaves you with a woody, dry-tannic sensation. But don’t get me wrong, it works wonders in a spirit-forward serve such as a Rum Old Fashioned or Rum Manhattan.
*Salted Honey Syrup:
- Combine 2-parts liquid honey to 1-part hot water.
- Season well (to taste) with flaked sea salt.
- Stir well to combine.
- Allow to cool before bottling.
- Keep refrigerated – lasts for 1 week.
And finally what campaign have you most enjoyed in the role?
I am very excited to share the recently launched, and 1st edition of – the Casa del Daiquiri Competition!
As a part of the wider campaign that falls in line with our celebrations of the honoured Daiquiri throughout the month of July – this year the competition element is giving bartenders the chance to showcase their creative skillset to produce their very own take on the classic serve.
The regional winners will be invited to compete at a live final within their market, presenting to a panel of industry professionals – for the chance to win the 1st place prize to Bar Convent Berlin, as well as being inducted into the Casa del Daiquiri ‘Hall of Fame’ for 2024 in partnership with Difford’s Guide, where their winning cocktail and professional profile shall be upheld for years to come; amongst plenty of other exciting prizes to be won.
Register & Enter for the competition here: https://tinyurl.com/Casa-del-Daiquiri-2023