titleportrait To call Nick bartender feels like an insult, I mean the man isn’t exactly sliding beers down the bar, though despite being one of South Africa’s most awarded barmen, Nick insists he’s just a bartender “I’m here to serve my customers” he says to me.

Now, Nick hasn’t always been a bartender, he’s actually a qualified quantity surveyor (I still don’t know what that is) but the calling of the cocktail shaker was too large for him, and so he put passion first and followed his dream. Good thing he did, as it’s taken him all over the world conducting workshops and seminars as well as competing in both Bacardi Global legacy cocktail competition (where he made the final 8 in 2013) and Diageo World Class Global Bartender (placing 17th amongst the worlds 50 top barmen). The man is a legend with a beard to match.

My first experience with Nick was walking into The House of Machines ready to order my usual “pint of lager” when someone suggested I let Nick make me a drink. So after a quick little chat about what I usually drink and what flavours I enjoy he set out to make me an old fashioned. That single drink changed my drinking habits for life. Watching Nick fuss over everything from smoking the glass on a block of maple wood to trimming the edges of his perfectly cut orange peel blew my mind.

When I set out to document Cape Towns craftsmen (and woman) I always had Nick top of my mind, I don’t think I have ever met a more passionate individual in my life and it comes across in every drink he makes for you, from his stirring technique to his flamboyant pouring he will walk you through every step of the 20minute process…what comes out of the other side is heaven to your mouth. Take a look at the little photo documentary below to get an idea.

final-drink Nick spreads the word of bartending on his tumblr The Alchemist Says and you can find him at The house of Machines most weekends or in any bar around the world really, best to keep track of him on his twitter and instagram 

Nick wears a levis Trucker jacket and old Levis Sawtooth Western shirt.

Okay. Stay fancy.

6 thoughts on “Live In Levis – Nick Koumbarakis

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