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Drink Expert: Ram Udwin, Owner of Boy Drinks World

WRITTEN BY: GENESIS GONZALEZ | PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MICHELLE KIM

Innovative. Creative. Passionate.

Ram Udwin, the owner of Boy Drinks World, is heating up the cocktail world and topping it off the only way he knows how, deliciously spicy! Udwin has always had a passion for delicious food and great cocktails. What began as a food blog soon transformed into an exciting passion for all things cocktail. Immersed in books, attending festivals such as Miami Rum Fest, and providing lectures at various seminars, Udwin has taken his passion to the next level. Sharing his knowledge in making the perfect cocktail has proven to solidify Udwin as the Cocktail Guy!

When it comes to Udwin’s latest tincture, the Serrano Cocktail Spice, a one of a kind concentrated extract with a hint of Serrano, there was no shortage of hard work. Popular for so many reasons and enjoyed with just about every drink, Serrano Cocktail Spice is gaining notoriety among the cocktail scene, serving up a huge success for Udwin.

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Q: Boy Drinks World is a unique name.  Where did the inspiration come from?

Ram Udwin: Initially, I thought I would write a “foodie” blog because I like to eat. The name was Boy Eats World, which was a pun on the TV show. I always had that idea of a childlike awe-inspired viewpoint on the world where you’re like, “Wow!” I had that feeling about food, and I had that feeling about cocktails. I was trying to get across that concept of wonder and joy.

Q: What is the story and origin behind the Serrano Cocktail Spice?

RU: My little brother was getting married, and we went to Mexico for his bachelor party. I said to myself, “I’m the cocktail guy! I’m going to make these guys a crazy, spicy margarita; it’s going to be lights out, and I’m going to impress them.” I had gotten the ingredients from the store, but began to run out of the products. They chose to make a grocery store run, so I gave them a list that included limes and jalapeño peppers. They came back with Mexican limes, one Key lime and Serrano peppers instead of jalapeños. I was like, “Goddammit guys, don’t you know the difference?” I tried them, and it turned out I had one of those epiphany moments, saying “Wow! Serrano peppers taste so much better with tequila than jalapeños do.” I started to think that there are a lot of peppers out there, and maybe certain peppers go great with certain things.

Q: Do you feel most drinks could use a little extra spice?

RU: No product works in everything. I also make cocktail bitters, and that will be my next product coming out—an actual line of traditional bitters. I think every drink can use a little something for balance. When you’re making a drink, you’re usually adding something sweet, maybe something sour or maybe different elements of things. You can balance the sour and the sweet, but that’s not a very complex drink. All of the sudden you have bitter notes and sweet notes and different herbs showing, not only creating a more balanced flavor for your palate, but also a more complex taste. Those are the things that make these drinks more interesting; every drink needs a little something. People don’t always want to use peppers, and that’s fine. The idea is you can balance with heat or balance with bitterness. We’re creating tools for bartenders to get the effect that they want. Does it work in every drink? It doesn’t have to.

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Q: For those who may be new to the spice and bitter world of cocktails, how would you describe the difference?

RU: The cocktail spice is called the cocktail spice because it’s spicy! To be a traditional bitter, it has to be in an alcohol base and have some element that is a bittering agent, which is traditionally a medicinal bitter herb. The most commonly used is gentian, which is typically European and infused in a lot of different bitter-type products around the world. A lot of these bitter herbs and bittering agents have some traditional medicinal type property to them. The origin of bitters began in the late 1700, early 1800s before we had real pharmacology. People would do a shot of bitters every morning to aide in digestion, to kill their hangover, or to get rid of gout. There was a magical moment where at some point, along the lines, someone decided to spice up their morning cocktail with a little bitter so they could kill two birds with one stone. That became the way cocktails grew into their prominence. It was called the bitter sling, then someone started calling it the cocktail; after that point, they used “cocktail” for everything, which led them to calling that the old fashioned. So the real old fashioned is the original cocktail.

Q: Where do you find your ingredients such as your peppers?

RU: I’ve been buying my peppers from a place called Specialty Produce here in town; it’s a local place where they get a lot of their produce from local farmers. I am on the lookout for a dedicated organic provider, but that is just one of those things where you learn and grow in that respect. Specialty Produce is great; their stuff is always very fresh; you get the product closer to the time it was picked unlike at the regular store. It’s just a good resource to have when owning a business like this.

Q: When it comes to speaking at seminars, how did you first get involved?

RU: When I started going to these events, they’d always have these educational seminars. I’m not shy about talking to people. I really enjoy it. I wondered how I could start doing this. So when we went to Miami Rum Fest, I had met these guys at Tales of the Cocktail, and we became fast friends. The Burr family runs the Miami Rum Festival. If you can ever go, I recommend it. It’s insane; it’s like Comic-Con for rum! I asked if I could do a seminar. They were like, “Do a seminar? We’re not going to pay you, but sure, do a seminar!” It was a chance to promote who I was and to use this opportunity to show people what I’m doing—testing out some drinks and products on consumers and getting feedback. I did that seminar, and it was incredibly successful.

Q: How do you keep yourself educated on the trends?

RU: That’s the most exciting part. I do travel a bit. We try to go every summer to Tales of the Cocktail, a giant cocktail convention in New Orleans. All the newest product and hottest brands are there, and it’s all free to taste. It’s like Disneyland for me. It’s great because you have a community of people coming together once a year from all over the world, exposure to all of the cocktail writers, and access to all the brands you want to try. I’ve got friends in Scotland now and South America and all over the place, in which I’ve made great relationships and networked with.

Q: What would you consider your favorite drink?

RU: One of my favorite things is a rum old fashioned made with my passion fruit bitters; I call it the Passion Old Fashioned. It’s aged rum, some raw sugar syrup, the bitters and a little bit of orange peel; it’s super simple, kind of dry, refreshing and strong.

Q: What can we expect next from Boy Drinks World?

RU: I want to get the passion fruit bitters going. I think the next one is going to be grapefruit bitters, and then passion fruit bitters, but those are primarily my anchors.

BOY DRINKS WORLD
www.boydrinksworld.com