Pekka Pellinen: “I would prepare something sweeter for Armenians”
World famous Finnish mixologist hosts master class-taster.
World famous Finnish mixologist, creator of several cocktail mixes, mixologist for the Finlandia platinum trademark Pekka Pellinen, who is on a special visit to Armenia, hosted a festive banquet for mass media representatives at Jose Complex and hosted an exclusive master class on June 14th. The participants of the master class not only had the opportunity to taste the special cocktails mixed with Finnish vodka, but applied their knowledge and made their own cocktails as well. During the media banquet, Pekkak Pellinen presented with the peculiarities of his job. As Pellinen likes to say, “a professional mixologist can always choose and mix the right drink at the right time and place and for the right kind of people”. Pekka, what are your impressions of your visit to Armenia? Pekka Pellinen: This is my first visit to Armenia and I have great impressions. But I still haven’t been able to see a lot and get acquainted with the culture of bartending in Armenia. I have only visited one place and can’t give an evaluation based on that. I would like to see the culture of bartending in Armenia, get acquainted with the service and the ingredients that are used here. What did you want to serve the Armenian participants of your master’s class? P. P.: First, I wanted to share some of my skills that help me attract customers. For instance, the usual is seeing someone enter a bar and order vodka with tonic. But it would be more interesting, if the bartender offers something special like a combination of grapefruit and tonic. You talk about your job with great motivation. How did you choose your profession? P. P.: I had put my strengths to the test in college. I studied hotel and restaurant management for four years, but I quickly realized that working at a hotel and preparing food weren’t for me. It was then that I realized that I wanted to become a bartender. Which is your profession-work, entertainment, hobby or resting? P. P.: For now, it’s work. People outside the bar have a hard time guessing that I’m a bartender. After getting to know me for a while, some of my acquaintances suddenly noticed how I mix drinks and asked me if I was a bartender. Do you often mix drinks to come up with a new recipe? Could you briefly describe the process? P. P.: Whenever I mix drinks together, I definitely remember the four components that are the guarantee for success, including sweetness, acidity, alcohol and the mixer. I must say that each component must exceed the other in terms of force, meaning acidity must be less than sweetness and there should be a sense of it in the mix. What do you think you need to have an ideal drink? P. P.: Let me put it this way-if I had a bar and only sold my favorite drinks, my bar would only have four customers. I don’t think I would get anything out of that. A bartender has to present a variety of drinks and take into consideration the type of drink, where it’s made and the customer it is made for. Based on what you said, we can assume that you would offer the same to Armenian customers. What would be the particularity of that recipe? P. P.: It mainly depends on what kinds of tastes Armenians prefer (after Pekka said this, he asked what kinds of tastes Armenians prefer, and when he got the answer he was waiting to hear, he continued). I assume that Armenians like more sweetness. So, I would prepare something sweet for the Armenian customers. Brandy is the glorious drink of all Armenians. What do you think? P. P.: Armenian brandy is truly wonderful. I prefer Ararat. Armenian brandy goes great with a cigar. My friends know what I like and bring me Armenian brandy often. I have never tried mixing brandy with any other drink. It has a very exquisite taste. What do you think the future holds for bartending in Armenia? Which country do you think is the leader in bartending? P. P.: I think London is the leader in that regard. But I’m certain that Moscow and the cities in the countries of the region will become the largest centers for bartending in the years to come. Based on that, it’s safe to say that bartending will change in Armenia as well. I think the culture of bartending will be different in five years from now. Interview by Astghik Melik-Karamyan