My Kingston — Crista“BAL Srokowski APRIL
Cristóbal Srokowski Ron Abuelo Global Brand Ambassador
Your recent visit to Kingston produced what lasting impression?
The first thing that I did just two hours after my arrival from Milano was the 20th anniversary party for J Wray & Nephew Master Blender Joy Spence at Hope Gardens. It was the best welcome to Jamaica! I went with my friend Christelle Harris from Hampden Estate, and we had such a beautiful night with the J Wray & Nephew family.
What’s the most memorable meal that you have enjoyed in Kingston?
Of course, I love the typical food of every country that I’m visiting. I was not capable of leaving Jamaica without tasting the goat!
What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for a day?
Kingston reminds me in some ways of Panama City, I would probably help to solve the problem of traffic jams.
What would be your recommendations to a first-time visitor to Kingston?
Visit the Blue Mountains and enjoy sips of all the wonderful Jamaican rums!
For brands that have been around for centuries, is consistency in quality and availability the way to remain relevant in a contemporary marketplace?
The heritage, the know-how and craftsmanship, the brand-building through inter-personal connections, and a critical attitude mixed with the ability to adapt product profiles to the consumers’ palate evolution make up the framework of successful companies — especially family businesses.
How does your personal lifestyle align with the rum portfolio you represent?
The company is a third-generation family business that has been doing rum for a long time. I’m not only representing a rum brand as the global ambassador but I’m also representing one of the national products of Panama. Moreover, I’m representing the name, history and legacy of the Varela family. That’s a big honour for me, but also reminds me of the huge responsibility that rests on my shoulders. We are defending the tradition and the high quality of our finest aged rums as well as the luxury of spirits. These values match with my own lifestyle philosophy of balance, a good quality of life, and love for design and gastronomy. Acting on behalf of this premium rum is both a pleasure and an adventure.
What’s the best conversation to start over drinks?
I’m usually asking: What do you like and why, especially? What do you think you are drinking? You would be surprised at how big consumer ignorance is and what influences outside opinion about the spirits world. As an ambassador of the rum industry, I try to teach and explain how beautiful and complex the rum category is.
If you could wear one garment or look for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Wow, I would probably choose a Paul Smith suit — because it’s classy and elegant — and an Etro shirt, with Salvatore Ferragamo shoes — because they are so damn comfortable!
What is the role of a bartender in the continuity of culture?
Bartenders are the prescribers, the orchestra directors, the show managers. They are the guides for an unexperienced customer and/or a companion that takes the initiative. The key to a liquor brand’s success are informed bartenders, who share the knowledge about rum craftsmanship and who build on mixology concepts — they are our real ambassadors.
Life’s a beach, or is it?
Well, if you’re so lucky to be living in Jamaica, then your life can be pretty full of sunny days and sandy weekends! For those — including myself — who live in airports, jumping from one place to another, the beach life is only for holidays!