“I never knew I had a passion for cocktails and mixing drinks,” said Martin, 32, who lives in Brighton. Martin came to Eastern Standard as a bartender after spending three years in Hawaii tending bar and enjoying the beach.
He grew up in Connecticut and has a culinary arts/business degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. When he came back to the East Coast seven years ago, the first job he landed was as a bartender at Eastern Standard.
After a couple of years tending bar, he moved up to assistant bar manager, then bar manager. Martin said his culinary background, his understanding of how different flavors work together, helped him.
Before going to college, he was told that if he wanted to work in the restaurant industry, he should learn to do everything, including picking the wine. His job as bar manager meant he picked the cocktails and beer, oversaw scheduling and inventory, and he even dealt with media who would come by. He has won cocktail competitions and been published in various cocktail guides.
The upscale restaurant is often packed before Red Sox games, and Martin said it’s an eatery that many Red Sox players frequent in the off-season.
About eight months ago, he approached Eastern Standard’s bar director, Jackson Cannon, about a career switch. He had been introduced to Privateer Rum about a year ago during some promotional events. When it was known he was looking for another opportunity, they reached out.
“Privateer came to me, and we started chatting,” Martin said. He said he turned down offers to go to work for bigger beverage companies.
”I wanted to work for something smaller but that has the ability to grow,” he said. The ability to have creative freedom was another plus.
In the end, it’s the rum that sold Martin, who said it will be his job to spread the word about its versatility behind the bar.
”Every step Privateer takes is laborious,” Martin said, “but it makes sense in the end when you taste the product.”
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.