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Batten Down The Hatches!: Young, Ambitious Bartender Wants To Bring Tropical Vibes To Warsaw

Christopher Reyes

From the beginning of his career working behind the pub at the age of 17, Jakub Leszczyński knew that his love for the craft of mixology would be undeniable. Currently working with a distribution group, finding time to bartend at multiple events as well as sustaining a full-time job all at once; Jakub is positioning himself to become a well-known figure in Poland’s gastronomy network. Another love that’s he is not ashamed to talk about is his love for rum.

We are taken onto his pirate ship and venture off on a journey into his philosophy when it comes to making cocktails, providing necessary and useful information about rum to his colleagues and guest and what’s to come in his future.

What’s your favorite Tiki-Style Drink?

Like everything in my life, I like to keep it fun and classy. So I have to go with Painkiller. It’s amazingly good for any moment.

You’ve been tasked to make up a cocktail on the spot, what is your philosophy when constructing a cocktail?

Something fun and sexy of course depending on my guest, but I would kick things off with some funky and refreshing cocktail. You can’t go wrong with that. When it comes to constructing a cocktail, I like to keep things simple. Make subtle twists on classics but still make it a unique experience. I let my creativity flow around and follow my gut.

Throughout your bartending career, what has been the one thing that has stood out to in front or behind the bar?

To be honest, it’s my regular guests. I’ve been so lucky that they allowed me to test some crazy and sometimes a bit weird ideas. They always had valuable pointers and helped me perfect every idea.

Tell us about your favorite rum brands and why?

My most favorite is Clairin. To be more specific Clairin Sajous. I fell in love with it from the first taste and it opened my eyes to the world of rums which probably started this wonderful journey. Also one of my favorites and my guilty pleasure is Bumbu. Words can’t describe it, you have to try it! All of those mentioned above are distributed in Poland by my good friends from The Last Port.

Tell us about The Last Port?

The Last Port is a really young and ambitious company that was born from a love of great quality spirits. It’s mostly Rum but there is much more than that we can offer like Tequila, Mezcal, Gin and many more. Our warehouse is located in Gdansk but we distribute products all over Poland. My goal here in Warsaw is to promote the products that we have and broaden people’s knowledge of rum.

What are some cocktails that you will FUCK, MARRY, and KILL

FUCK: Daiquiri, it’s down for whatever, whenever. It gets you in a great mood and makes a great companion throughout the night.

MARRY: Negroni, it’s always there for you and it’s always consistent… I think I should use that for my Tinder profile…

KILL: Long Island Iced Tea, it has everything in it but it’s still empty and shallow. Neither fun or tasteful.

What is it about the cocktail culture in Warsaw that makes it stand up to the rest of the popular cities in Europe?

It’s wild, it’s authentic, in a way it’s also fresh. I’ve traveled a lot and bartended in a number of different places and the one thing that I like the most working here in Warsaw is that people are themselves whether you like it or not.

What recent events have you bartended at?

The most recent ones would be Campari Academy, Spring Break Festival, Revive Festival, Red Bull X Dawid Podsiadlo and Telekamery Awards.

Out of all five of them though, I would say Telekamery was my most favorite. I had a chance to meet a lot of celebrities (whom I will not mention) and journalist which changed the way looked at them. It was also a great opportunity to network as well.

What was the funniest/interesting situation you encountered behind the bar?

Once I was working in a place in Gdańsk, At a point, I’ve been behind the bar for about 2 years thus far so I knew a few people and vice versa. One time I had a guest came for a couple of drinks. He was minding his own business and I was doing my thing. When he decided to pay, he asked me for a discount. This happens quite a lot, so I asked him why he thinks he’s entitled to get a discount. He answered with confidence that “he knows bartenders”. When I asked him which one, he said: Jakub Leszczyński. So I played along and asked questions about their “friendship” and with great detail, he told me how they met, times where they went to almost every party together and that they are actually planning a trip together with couple other friends this summer.

From his stories, these two seemed really close, so maybe that was the reason why he was so upset to find out that I’m Jakub Leszczynski.

I was so impressed with his dedication to this lie, I gave him 10% off on this bill.

Top 3 favorite bars you would like to visit around the world? Why those places?

Clyde Common, Portland, USA

This is a bar of my favorite bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler so this is my number one on the list!

Caffe Giacosa, Florence, Italy

This bar is told to be a birthplace of Negroni. I love history and as I told before, I am a huge Negroni fan, so this place is on my Bucket List.

American Bar at The Savoy Hotel, London, UK

Another historic place featuring great cocktails and bartenders from all over the world. For many, it’s a dream to work there, for me being able to have this experience as a guest would be more than enough.

Thank you for your time, Jakub!

The Last Port distributes alcohol beverages like rum, mezcal, tequila, and other exotic liqueurs like Ancho Reyes. For more information about their company and services they can offer you, please visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thelastport.

Christopher Reyes