Andrey Bolshakov is the head bartender at Insider Bar in Moscow. He makes us two cocktails, one with peanut butter distillate and Cocchi Torino the second with sea buckthorns distillate and squid ink oil.
Andrey introduce yourself
I am Andrey Bolshakov and I am 32 years old. I’ve been in the F&B industry for the last seven years. I am born in the Siberia of Russia in a small industrial city, where I graduated two higher educations – computer science in the sphere of economic and jurisprudence. I tried to open my own business, and when I was 24 years old, I decided to move to the south of Russia to start from scratch. I went to a bar to look for a job. I started working in a high-volume bar with cocktails and a lot of fun, and I fell in love with the bartender job. I moved to Moscow to City Space bar, where I started my journey from barback to Senior bartender for four years. Alongside being a bartender, I took the role of Eastern Europ Ambassador for Bombay Sapphire for four years. In 2020, I was invited to work on the opening of the Insider Bar.
Insider is a bar where innovation lives in harmony with nature like should be the bar of tomorrow. The topic of the coexistence of nature and innovation is reflected in every inch of our bar. The bar is called Insider and that is our philosophy. An insider is a person that has some accurate and deep information in a certain area. With the world-renowned crystal maker Baccarat, we are creating special drinks to taste in their crystal glasses. Furthermore, we collaborate with pastry chefs, perfumers, and many other people who elevate their craft to a higher level.
The classic you want to show us
5ml of Peanut Butter Distillate
60ml of Michter’s Rye Whiskey
10ml of Cocchi Barolo Vermouth
15ml of Cocchi Torino Vermouth
2 Drops of Salt Solution
3 drops Angostura Bitters
The bar you dream of
I honestly believe that Insider is my dream bar because here I can reveal all the ideas I collected for the past six years. Everything I think makes a difference in a modern bar. I have a fantastic opportunity to create cocktails in an amazing prep room with hi-end equipment, do a collaborate with the finest example of cross professions, meet fascinating people from around the globe, and work with the best team ever. My dream is to have an opportunity to work in Insider bar for some projects with people like Jeff Koons, Virgil Abloh, Rene Redzepi, Grant Achatz, to learn from them and create together something unbelievable.
What do you do in your time off
I like to read books about philosophy and art, always trying to find an opportunity to visit museums to find inspiration there, go to the cinema with my girlfriend, meet my friends or in some sporadic cases when I have time to go to the countryside. I very enjoy staying face to face with wild nature for a couple of days.
The spirit you like the most
Wine and Champagne, I admire how winemakers create balanced and exciting examples working with nature. I find it very complicated, and I admire the level of their dedication and professionalism. Maybe one day I will have my own winery.
What makes a good cocktail
Obviously, the cocktail should be balanced, it’s not something new, but if we imagine a perfect world where all cocktails are balanced, what will impress you? In my opinion, it’s a concept and idea behind the cocktail. Now it’s not enough to make just balanced cocktails. It’s become important what you want to say throughout the cocktail.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
My favourite ingredient is honey and different sour parts for cocktails. We have more than 250 types of honey in Russia, which bring a specific note to already known cocktails.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
30ml of Havana Club Rum 3 Years Old
30ml of Sea Buckthorns Distillate
3g of Sea Urchin Caviar
20ml of Acacia Honey Water
15ml of Lemon Juice
3 drops of Squid Ink Oil
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
My suggestion is to go to Japan. There is a very unique culture that impacts what you might see behind the bar there. Definitely need to talk with Shingo Gokan and the bartenders from SG club, also the head bartender of the Masq bar – the beauty of esthetic.