CPBA Bartender of the Month: Cameron Brown

CPBA Bartender of the Month: Cameron Brown
September 1, 2016 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

Currently I work at Cactus Club KYC.  I make a lot of drinks as fast as possible, while giving our guests the best experience I can.

How did you get into bartending? What was the inspiration for your career route?

I started working in night clubs when I was 19. I’d never been to a night club at the time and I didn’t drink at all.  I had just moved back to Kelowna after being on the road for 3 months to start college.  I had a friend working there as a porter and basically gave me no choice but to come work with him.  I needed the money and had a lot of fun my first night.  I met Dave Simpson there and he got me into flair bartending.  I competed and practised flair for years.  I then moved to Vancouver where no one wanted a flair bartender at the time.  I met Trevor Kallies and he got me into cocktails and the cocktail community.  I worked for Trevor for a couple years and competed and tried to learn everything I could about cocktails and spirits. I then moved back to Kelowna where I am now.

Is it barrels, carbonation or cocktails on tap? What’s the latest trend you see in bartending?

The latest trend I see is sherry.  Lower ABV cocktails.  As well as a focus on service industry staff taking better care their health and well being.

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

The best part of my job is giving guests a fun, unique experience. I truly love making someone’s night whether it’s a great drink or any other way I can go over and above their expectations.  The most challenging part of my job is trying to keep a work-life balance. I love what I do and I find when I’m not at work I’m reading about spirits and cocktails or traveling for things related to the industry or hanging out with industry people. It’s something I’m trying to work on.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

I love single malt whiskey.  There’s such a range of different flavours and things you can do with whiskey!

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

It use to be stirred dark spirit cocktails with lots of vermouth and amaro. Now a days I like to take a scientific approach to things and force myself to use unique ingredients such as salt and different acids. I also really enjoy fun techniques like milk washing and different methods for infusions and carbonation and things along those lines.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

When I was working at Granville Room and all those late nights where the room would be full of bartenders from across the city, cutting loose and having a good time together.  Man those were some great nights!

What’s the next step for you when it comes to tending bar?

I’m not really sure right now. Just keep pushing myself to learn new things and experience as much as I can and see what opportunities that leads to.

What’s your go to drink to drink?

A pint of Guinness.

What’s your go to drink to mix?

Depends on the guest but I’ve always been a huge fan of a Silver Bootleg Gin Fizz.  Light refreshing and delicious.

Fernet, Mezcal or Chartreuse?



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