We order a couple appetizers off the happy hour menu: Bruschetta ai Funghi e Prosciutto, flaunting melted gorgonzola and sautéed mushrooms, and the deep-fried fresh mozzarella of Mozzarella in Carrozza (you can’t take the Wisconsin out of this new California girl). Our second round gets fiery with a tiny torch caramelizing snappy ginger cocktails. Hendrix gin, homemade rose water, fresh basil, and lemon juice are donned with caramelized ginger crystals. We like crystals. You’ve been behind bars all over the world. Do you notice differences, similarities, or trends in drinks or drinking across regions? Drinking is definitely a social act everywhere (or at least it’s supposed to be!). In the US, where the market for exceptional brands of liqueurs and alcohol is much richer, the craft cocktail movement is a whole new area of bartending that’s currently in its peak. Bartenders are taking the knowledge of inventing cocktails to a whole new level with really crafty and unique cocktails. In Europe, meanwhile, cocktails are simpler and more straight forward. When you’re not serving drinks in style, where would we find you? Well the one place that you will never find me is the beach! But I play in a local soccer league every Sunday, and I would never say no to a good sushi with my wife or a midnight single malt scotch and a cigar with friends. You were born in Bulgaria and now live in California. What do you miss now and what would you miss if you moved back? I definitely miss all my Bulgarian friends and the food, which is
so different than here. I’m also a bit of a soccer fanatic, so I’m missing being able to watch live soccer games. If I ever leave, I’ll of course miss the weather and all the good friends I have made here. What’s the best thing you’ve done in the last year? Getting people to enjoy bartending the way I do through teaching at Flair Project’s bartending school. I am always looking for talents who can work with us. Do you have any signature moves? I do have a few signature moves that I try to mix up; they all involve either a little magic trick at the end or a funny sketch that can get everyone at the bar laughing. You have to see it live! And I am always working on something novel, but you won’t see it behind the bar until I perfect it in the practice room. What’s the most exciting thing you’re looking forward to taking on this year? I’m excited about shedding light on and expanding the popularity of a different style of bartending in Santa Barbara. I love flair, both as a service and a competitive sport, and I want to spread the word on its greatness. We’re excited too. More than just jaw-dropping feats with bar basics, bartending flair is an extra shot of expertise, passion, and service to the classic cocktail. Happy hour just keeps getting happier.
FLAIR PROJECT 805-280-8507 flairprojectsb.com
90 | JUNE 2015
Published on Jun 1, 2015