Interview with Mixologist Rob Floyd

Rob Floyd (Mixologist, Bar Rescue expert, global mixologist with Princess Cruises, and Founder/CEO of Rob Floyd Entertainment), shares how he got into Mixology, his favorite books, and his favorite spot to catch a sunset. He also shares words of wisdom for aspiring mixologists! After reading this interview you will be inspired to Sip Boldy!

Lauren — Travel and Write Today: How did you get into Mixology? You truly turn making a cocktail into an art form! 

Rob Floyd: I got into the bar business as so many people do – as an accidental profession. I absolutely love making people happy, and the interaction every night it feels like anything can happen. There is a thrill to the business, and to marry your own creativity to a job is a wonderful feeling. There is a great study that says people laugh and smile about 17 times a day, but in a great bar, they do it 17 times an hour. I currently train over 2000 mixologists around the world, and I make sure each and every property and team live by the “Rule of 17.”

TWT: I love this rule. I am going to start counting!

TWT: What is your process for creating a new cocktail? What is your favorite drink that you’ve created? (Willing to share the recipe)?

RF: My inspiration comes from one of the greatest actors in the history of theater. It was from a time when women were never allowed to headline or star on stage, but Eleanora Duse was so brilliant, people thought she might be possessed, especially during her powerful performances. She had the theory that to be great you had to “ballaste yourself with reality and throw yourself into the sea, the sea of inspiration.”  For me, guiding hundreds of properties around the world, I make sure what the property is about first. What is their essence and what do they want to be about? Making the cocktails and beverages reflect that brand, and then to be profitable and exciting is the next step.   

My favorite cocktail I created was called the “Smoke on the Water” and it was in honor of a fantastic friend named Adam Pliska. We would serve it when I ran the SLS back in the day. We would atomize Scotch, and then mist it with Liquid Nitrogen. Here is the recipe (but no LN2 here)

5 Blackberries muddled

2 oz. Blended Scotch

.75 oz. Lime Juice

.5 oz. Agave Syrup

.25 oz. Combier

Muddle blackberries and combine all ingredients. Shake with ice and fine strain into a glass with a nice ice sphere. Mist with a very peaty atomized Scotch.  Garnish with Orange peel. 

TWT: This sounds delicious. I need to try one of your creations! 

TWT: Where did you grow up? What is your favorite place to visit when you go back home?

RF: The first part of my life I grew up in New Jersey. South Jersey to be exact where we would run into the great city of Philadelphia, or take trips to New York City to see shows and eat at great restaurants. Also, the Jersey shore which was always spectacular. We moved to Florida when I turned 12, and I loved living in Lakeland where I had great friends and could hit the beaches year round. My family is still in the Florida area so visiting is a blast. I also still love my trips to Philly and NYC. 

TWT: I grew up on Long Island, and I absolutely love visiting NYC. I spend a lot of time in the St. Pete Beach, Florida area too.

TWT: What are some of your go-to restaurants and bars in Los Angeles?

RF: I still enjoy the Roger Room and The Spare Room when I am in town. My company, Rob Floyd Entertainment, is currently based out of Nashville but I love to get back to LA. The bar scene in LA is one of the best in the world by far. 

TWT: I agree about the bar scene in LA, but Nashville is one of my favorite cities in the country.

TWT: What are some of your favorite books? Who are some of your favorite musicians?

RF: That is a tough question! So, I still read a book a week, and here are four that I hold dear to my heart:

1.  Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain 

2. Liquid Intelligence – Dave Arnold

3. The Power of OneBryce Courtenay

4. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger

For musicians:

1. Cardi B. (We have launched Whip Shots together, and she is an incredible person and a brilliant performer).

2. I listen to a lot of country music in Nashville.

3. I still love the AC/DC era

TWT: Country music is one of my favorite genres – seeing a show at the Ryman was one of my most memorable experiences!

TWT: What is your go-to coffee order, and from where?

RF: Really, I just do black or an Americano.

TWT: Where is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?

RF: This is where I LOVE LA – best sunsets ever…. Except I do all of Princess Cruise lines, and so I get to go on their amazing ships quite often. My favorite sunrises to catch are off the coast of Alaska or in New Zealand. 

TWT: Sounds incredible.

TWT: What advice would you give to other aspiring Mixologists?

RF: Don’t give up, and do not be too hard on yourself. Out work everyone else in the room, this will never be easy, but it will always be rewarding. Take the time to study your craft and attend seminars and be a part of the bartender guild if you can. Above all, make people happy and love yourself. You are part of an incredible community of artists that transcend feelings and good will to all. Our craft is special, and it will take you as far as you can possibly imagine. I’ve been on the TV show Bar Rescue for almost a decade, and produce TV and Live shows all based on what I learned from behind the bar. 

TWT: I know the hospitality/restaurant industry has been significantly impacted due to the pandemic, how can we help?  

RF: The USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is fantastic. They have done a wonderful job helping the bar community. They are also always in need of help as well. You can visit your favourite bar spots as they start to open up, as well as buy gift cards and a little swag from places to keep them afloat. 

Follow Rob Floyd via the links below:

Instagram: @drinkwithrob

Facebook: @robfloyd

TikTok: @drinkwithrob