CPBA Bartender of the Month: Max Borrowman

CPBA Bartender of the Month: Max Borrowman
October 1, 2015 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

I make drinks for many different types of people with different palates and engage in conversation that allows the guest to feel at ease.

How did you start your journey as a bartender?

I began as a busser at an old Okanagan Hotel. From the get go I was interested in bartending. They moved me into the bar after about six months where I became the trusted bar-back. Did that for another six months or so before moving on to my first bartending gig at Earls. There I learned how to be quick and served a myriad of slushed cocktails and wonderfully blended Mojitos.

Up to that point I thought that all cocktails were blended and sweet besides the occasional Gin Martini.

When I eventually moved to Vancouver I learned that I was quite wrong about that. Quickly I became obsessed with classic cocktails. I wanted to be great at making drinks. Now that’s still what I’m trying to do.

What’s the next bartender trend that you see about to emerge in the bar industry?

Moving forward I think new techniques and products will be important. Books like Dave Arnold’s Liquid Intelligence and Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Bar Book have created a buzz. Learning how to make clear ice, for example, has been something that gets people very interested in our cocktails at Torafuku. Also sous vide techniques will be good for keeping infusions more consistent. I also think the bartenders who pioneered the global cocktail resurgence over the past two decades will be moving into more entrepreneurial roles and create their own companies much like Lauren Mote did with her bitters company. We will see more products like this on the market soon.

What’s the best part about your job? What is the most challenging part?

The best and worst part is the people; sometimes you get great people, sometimes you get horrible people. Most of the time we get good people though.

Do you have a definitive or signature cocktail style?

No. I like all cocktails that taste good. Stirred, shaken, doesn’t matter. If it’s delicious I will drink all of it!

What the most memorable moment working behind a bar?

Most memorable moment would be stepping behind my own bar here at Torafuku for the first time. Having worked in so many other bars that I didn’t help to create before in the past, getting behind something that was my own project which I helped design was very special to me.

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

Not sure of my next step. For now it’s just learning. My ultimate goal is to open a distillery some day.


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