DRINKS WITH… BENJAMIN JOHNSON!

The Lord Gladstone is one of Chippendale’s prized pubs. I first wandered in there for a pre- taxidermy lesson drink (to calm my nerves) and instantly felt at home. Super relaxed with @chefernie serving up some super yummy grub, I knew this pub would become a new favorite.  Then I got the opportunity to interview The Lord Gladstone’s general manager, Benjamin Johnson for my ‘Drinks with…’ segment of my rum blog and I pretty much jumped at the chance. Even though we had only a short time, what we lacked in time was made up with hilarity and talks of Benjamin’s love of Bundaberg Rum.

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Tell me about what you do for a living? I am a partner in a pub group company called Bourke St. We currently have three hotels in our portfolio, The Lord Gladstone, we just picked up Botany Bay Hotel and we also just picked up the Hampshire Hotel, which we are currently renovating. My role is to go in to these pubs, turn them around and play the licensee/ operations/ general manager role.

What is the best part of your job? I get to do what I am naturally good at for a living and that’s being charismatic and sociable with people. So basically, my job is to make sure people have a good time!

Now on to the reason I am here, to talk about my beloved elixir. What is it you personally love about rum? I love the complexity of rum, for exactly the same reason people love top shelf whiskies or a fine wine. I love reading the back of the bottle, searching the rum I am drinking up on the internet, finding out about how the particulate rum I am drinking is made and it’s origins… without that sounding wanky.

What is your drink of choice? You can’t go wrong with a Bundaberg U.P rum and coke.

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If you were in a room surrounded by the most amazing rums in the world, what would you chose and why? If I was in a room with the crème de la crème of rum, I would still be reaching for that bottle of Bundaberg U.P. rum. I grew up in a small coastal town where Bundaberg U.P. was pretty much all we had in the sense of high-end alcohol. All my teenage / adult memories have been built around Bundaberg U.P, so therefore it’s nostalgic as much as it is to do with the taste.

What rum based drink do you most enjoy making for yourself or a guest? We already know the answer to that! Bundaberg! U.P Rum! To the grave! I love it straight up or with coke. Nothing more needs to be added! There’s no need to ruin a classic. If that wasn’t an option then it would have to be a Spiced rum and ginger beer mix. I can make a mean Dark’n’Storm, it’s just one of the simplest and one of the best tasting cocktails out there!

What’s the most recent rum purchase you made and why? Ah, ha! A bottle of Bundy! A State of Origin limited edition! HA! Bundy teamed up with State of Origin this year and they have their logo on the front of the bottle. It’s awesome!

What was the most disappointing rum you have tried and why? Malibu rum! That rum just brings back horrendous memories of underage drinking and then spewing my guts up. I can’t shake the memories and can’t bring myself to try it since. Infact, any sort of coconut rum mix generally gets a no from me.

Do you have a few words of courage for me (and any new rum drinkers) during this rum quest? Just keep drinking, and never stop asking questions! Obviously if you are at a bar and it is heaving, maybe refrain from asking too many questions then. But any good mixologist or bar tender will always give you the time of day if you ever wanted to sit down and speak to someone about rum.

 

Although our meeting, was short but sweet. I really enjoyed speaking to Benjamin about his love of Bundaberg Rum. I have not really given Bundy much of a chance to be honest, but to hear someone speak with such passion and love, it honestly makes me want to give it another shot… I may even have a drop tonight 🍹