Words by Andrei Talapanescu / Ingmar Voerman
Photography by Ming Chao
Andrei is one of the bartenders that's pushing the boundaries in Amsterdam. This Romanian gentleman works as the head bartender at the renown Pulitzer's Bar and excels in mixing classics, developing new cocktails and being a natural born host. This is Andrei's story, from tequila flavoured spirit to working together with Team Lyan, and everything in between..
Name: Andrei Talapanescu
Date of birth: April 18, 1989
Function: Head Bartender at Pulitzer’s Bar, Amsterdam
Living in: Amsterdam
"My first rodeo in the spirits world happened around the time I was 17 years old. I just got my first cocktail book and a shaker. And it was pretty much all it took, I was hooked immediately. "
Tequila flavoured spirit
'I Kept on convincing my mother to buy me some spirits and mixers so I could recreate the recipes from that book.
We’re talking Finest Call Margarita Mix and 'Tequila flavoured spirit' ... yes that was a real thing in Romania 11 years ago."
From water polo to bartending
"I was still playing water polo at the time, I was part of the National team, and also playing for the 2nd best team in Romania.
So, drinking was not part of my training schedule.
When I returned from my 3rd European Championship, I decided to quit water polo, and focus on my university, but in the same time I became a bartender at a club in Bucharest."
Coming to Amsterdam
"In 2010, I switched from my university in Bucharest to one in Amsterdam, and for the 1st year I did not work at all.
After that I joined the team at House of Bols and Bols Bartending Academy, where I spent 4 years working as a freelancer."
"In the same time, I took on several projects in the city, few event shifts at Little Buddha, reopening Rose’s Cantina, and opening ABE Club as assistant bar manager. During my time at ABE (a very short one) I started picking up shifts at Feijoa, it was only then when I felt I became part of the bartending scene in Amsterdam."
Know your classics
"I remember Remco Babay and Rob van Looy asking me to make all these drinks that I only read about once in a book somewhere, Kevin Kroon sitting at the bar and ordering Tuxedo’s and other drinks from his vintage book that he just got. I knew I had to step it up."
"Two years later I got the chance to be part of the reopening team of Pulitzer’s Bar. I had met Andrew Nicholls when he was opening Dvars, and I always wanted to work with him, so this was my chance.
And I’m glad I did!"
"At the moment, I’m still enjoying my time at Pulitzer’s Bar, and working with Ryan Chetiyawardana(Mr Lyan) is an absolute pleasure. Ryan, the team and I are looking into expanding the brand awareness of Pulitzer’s Bar on the global scene while continuing our collaboration with Team Lyan. Besides that, I have a little side project which I cannot say too much about at the moment."
Future plans & goals
"When it comes to future plans and goals, and this might sound childish, but for me, goals and dreams change every night.
I do not know what’s around the corner and what my gut instinct will tell me, I leave my options open, and I strive to be the better today than I was yesterday. And of course, I would like to work at Dandelyan (just voted World'd Best Bar at W50BB) for a bit..."