Joshua Ivanovic chats with The Yum List about Cocktail Solutions and life as a mixologist.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
We have three main services that we provide with Cocktail Solutions. The first is our bottled, ready to drink cocktails. They’re made 100% fresh to order with no preservatives or additives and they’re perfect for events, birthdays, wedding and parties etc if you wish to serve cocktails but don’t want to hire a bartender and setup a temporary bar. And they’re yummy! The second is our cocktail catering service where we handle everything from bar setup to bartenders, to writing creative cocktail menus for events and parties. The final side to Cocktail Solutions is a consultancy service.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is definitely watching guests and clients really enjoy the cocktails that we supply. Every event or delivery we do we always put 120% effort into so its really nice to see people enjoying the finished product. The worst is probably the lack of sleep we get the night before a large order. It’s so important to us that our products arrive fresh which usually means making them the night before. If we receive a large order of 500+ cocktails its not uncommon that we will pull an all-nighter making them. But the satisfaction always far out weighs the fatigue.
What’s the best thing about running Cocktail Solutions?
For me I think it’s a toss up between the satisfaction I mentioned earlier and the fact that we get to meet and work with so many great people in KL. We often collaborate with brands or work alongside food caterers so we’re always meeting new people and seeing how successful brands and companies carry out their duties. This has helped us to overcome certain hurdles in the past by learning from companies that have been operating for a lot longer than us.
What’s your personal favourite cocktail?
Hmmmmm… I love the simple classics. Can’t beat a classic Daiquiri or a classic Margarita. There’s a reason why these drinks are as popular today as they were nearly a decade ago.
What’s your favoured food and cocktail pairing?
I love playing around with white wine based cocktails and pairing them with leaf salads. We just paired a Chardonnay and Sherry cobbler with a citrusy leafy salad (please excuse my lack of food expertise).
Tell us a story about one of the cocktails you prepare.
We did a really fun event for Belvedere and Banana Republic a few months back. They wanted four different cocktail recipes but in small servings so we did three in shot glasses and one two-tier orange based vodka jelly. We were allowed to get very creative with each serve so we toasted marshmallows and all sorts. It was really fun.
What’s one of the funniest most outrageous things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
I used to bartend at this tiki lounge/club called Mahiki in London. Its a bit of a haunt for celebrities so I saw some pretty crazy stuff. One in particular was the night that Queen Latifah came in. She arrived with one friend, no major entourage like most celebs would and sat at the bar for a portion of the evening drinking Reserva De La Familia Tequila and Absinthe with myself and another friend of mine that was working that night. At about 4am she decided it was time to leave but didn’t want to deal with the sea of paparazzi we all knew were outside so we decided to create a diversion by putting a black bin liner over one of the waiters top half of his body and ushering him out the back door. All the paparazzi paid so much attention to the diversion we’d created, snapping away thinking it was someone important that we had 30 seconds to get her and her friend out the door and into her car. I think out of all the celebs I’ve met and served she was probably the coolest. So down to earth.
The perfect day off would be…
… driving to the East Coast, surfing for five hours then having home cooked dinner and watching a movie with girlfriend and business partner Lexie.
A life in the day of a mixologist/ businessman is…
Wake up as early as possible (usually around 10am), send some emails in bed, completely forget to have breakfast, deliver some cocktails that we made the night before, probably collect some bespoke labels from the printers for a delivery that needs to be made for the next day, completely forget to have lunch, make some cocktails in the evening, remember how hungry I am and cook dinner, send some more emails, watch a couple of hours of TV then pass out on the sofa. Then do it all over again the next day.
What do you do for fun?
I try to get over to the East Coast to surf as much as possible during monsoon season. If I can do that once a week it usually helps to level me out and disconnect from work for a few hours. I try to get to the gym as much as possible but usually I don’t have time so surfing is kind of my only source of exercise. It’s a passion of mine as well. We cook at home a lot as well. And there’s obviously the occasional round of beers with friends.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about the cocktails prepared by Cocktail Solutions?
That they’re always made with attention, passion and care. We really feel strongly about making sure our clients are happy. Even if that means shaking 2000 cocktails for an event rather than batch making them. We would love to be known as a company that will try our very best to provide whatever it is that our clients want, even at the last minute.
How do you select your ingredients and why?
Always quality when it comes to fresh ingredients. Good fruit suppliers is a necessity. Especially mint as we make our own fresh mint syrup for our Mojitos. In this humidity it’s tough to get really good quality fresh mint.
What’s your view on the cocktail scene in Kuala Lumpur?
It has grown rapidly and impressively over the last three years. There’s a bunch of great places that have opened up recently like Ril’s, Tate, Omakase, Circus and NAKED (shameless plug as its my new bar in Plaza Damas). On top of that, it seems like the consumer interest in cocktails has increased considerably. I think KL has a very bright future. It’s nice to see Diageo World Class has made a re-appearance this year as well.
What can customers look forward to in the upcoming months?
With regards to Cocktail Solutions we are looking at introducing a range of six unique flavours on top of our six classics. We’re working on the flavours now and having lots of fun doing it. Its looking like a big year ahead so we’re very excited.Check out some of Joshua’s creations and a very special Yum List cocktail via this link.