Who are you?
Danil Nevsky, Russian-born and Scotland-reared former bartender from Orchid in Aberdeen, as well as Tales & Spirits in Amsterdam. Nowadays, I’m partner at ‘Cocktails For You’, which is the leading social media community for bartenders worldwide with over 600,000 followers to date.
What do you do?
My official self-imposed title is “Minister of Mayhem”. I bartend part-time globally, write part-time for our own website (as well as Tales of the Cocktail), and manage the business aspects of our company.
Some of our projects are:
The Vagabond Project: 12 months, 12 bars, 12 countries. I’m an apprentice in 12 different bars around the world learning from the best in the business & sharing that knowledge throughout our community. Sharing is caring!
The Kazakhstan Initiative: We’re actively helping this disconnected from the mainstream community in central Asia develop by setting up an official organisation, inviting speakers, organising events and training bartenders. What if we can help build a cocktail community from scratch?
Barometer Bar Show: We’re the International Partners for this fledgling bar show so we’re trying to develop a world-class bar show using our online communications network.
I manage this mayhem.
How did you come to work in Scottish hospitality?
At the age of 15 my parents moved from London to Scotland since my mum was in the Oil and Gas industry. I’d quickly found myself in much more rural surroundings and needed friends, as well as something to do. Having done low scale theatre from the age of 11, I craved attention and I NEEDED A STAGE which I found it in the Hospitality Industry.
Que getting a job as a banqueting waiter in a hotel in the middle of nowhere in the North-East. Suddenly, I’d gotten a disposable income no one my age had, and with that came independence, as well as life’s little pleasures (read: a bottle of Baileys washed down with a litre of Blue WKD - NEVER AGAIN).
Age 18 I found myself behind the stick at then Aberdeen’s busiest bar with a good squad & decent training, where Mojito’s flowed like water and B-list WAG’s drank Chambulls (read: champagne & red bull pitcher).
Who are/were your mentors and inspirations?
Ben Iravani - This gentlemen opened Orchid at the age of 26 without a loan & just a vision. It was Aberdeen’s first late night cocktail joint, after which everyone followed in their stead and many of Aberdeen’s finest owe their careers to him.
Iain McPherson - The worst moustache in Edinburgh but probably also it’s most inspirational bar owner. He has ideas come into his mind that I couldn’t even fathom, as well as the determination to see them through to the end. He broke away from the old cliques of Edinburgh and set out to do his own thing against all odds. Fucking legend.
Lydia Soedadi - She saw in me the potential I could only dream of, and invited me to join her squad in a bar that wasn’t even open at the time.She trained and mentored, not just as a boss, but as a caring mother as well as fearless dictator.
What excites you about hospitality?
The chaos and anarchy of it all. There are a million ways to do everything we do and the ways of doing them change depending on where we are or the language we speak, as well as the culture that surrounds us.
The challenge, the pressure and the success that follows the hard work we put in everyday. The feeling you get when you serve a drink/food choice to a person who didn’t know what they want and you “felt” this is what they wanted in your gut and you absolutely smashed it out of the park.
Self high five all the way.
What are you doing to up Scotland’s hospitality game?
Honestly, I don’t live in Scotland anymore, but I do go on about it all the bloody time.
What has been the pinnacle moment of your hospitality career so far?
I really can’t tell what the pinnacle is to be honest, but there is a moment that sticks with me that made me feel really good. A couple of ladies from Moscow came in to have to drinks to our bar in Amsterdam, they’d pulled out a city-guide & asked for the “Russian Scottish Guy".
It turns out a guide-writer had been in and enjoyed my hosting so much he specifically wanted to include me in the guide as something worth travelling to the bar for. I didn’t even know who this person was to thank them, but it was a really awesome recognition of the hard work put in.
What trends do you predict for the Scottish bar scene?
Gin is King & Whisky is on point. I see people dipping their toes into fermentation. We’re coming back to a “Less is More” attitude.
What trends do you predict for the Scottish brands?
More collaboration between producers and bartenders/bar owners. More “Slow” products, where time has been taken to create something as opposed to rushing to put a pish gin on the shelf to cash in on a trend.
What is your biggest hospitality pet hate?
Cliquey fucking bartenders.
The worlds is a massive place, climb out of your circle-jerk group and go see some shit instead of googling it, you prick.
What would be your perfect Scottish night out?
Dinner at the Chop House in Edinburgh followed by drinks at the Bon Vivant.
What would be your perfect Scottish holiday?
Isle of Skye.
How do you promote Scotland abroad?
Mainly through word of mouth, but also by constantly sending people over whilst promoting the different bars, restaurants and personalities from that country.
What is your favourite Scottish colloquialism/tradition?
Addressing the Haggis at a Scottish wedding. Nothing like that lingering smell!
What do you miss most about Scotland?
The beef and the banter. Theres no steak like a dry-aged Aberdeen Angus, and there no banter like Scottish Pub banter!
What surprises you most about people abroad’s impressions of Scotland?
“Oh you guys are pretty sophisticated here!” like we’re sort of 3rd world country that has no clue about anything going around us.
Finally, what advice would you offer a young person/someone coming in to hospitality for the first time?
God gave you two ears, two eyes & one mouth so use all 3 in that proportion. Also if you’re a bartender/waiter do at least a month in the kitchen just to learn that environment, you’ll thank me later.
What is your personal motto?
“If you don’t take risks, you don’t drink champagne!”