For extra tales on TikTok, take a look at our whole series here.
Like many workers within the restaurant business, Los Angeles-based bartender Lucas Assis discovered himself out of labor on the onset of the pandemic. Though no stranger to social media, like many throughout the globe, Assis found an sudden supply of camaraderie within the video-sharing platform TikTok.
Whereas Assis has all the time had an Instagram account, he initially regarded TikTok as an “app the place children would go and simply dance,” he confessed in our current interview. After pals lastly persuaded him to publish on TikTok, Assis quick grew to become a fan favourite, with a quickly rising viewers that numbers over 30,000 followers at present.
TikTok proved to be the proper medium for Assis, offering him a stage to indulge his love of storytelling. Putting a tone each approachable and authoritative, Assis’s movies are partaking and academic. Whereas he usually shakes up basic cocktails and regales viewers with their notable histories, Assis additionally isn’t afraid to provide his unvarnished opinions on fashionable spirits, touting himself as “the Brazilian man who hates celeb mezcal and tequila.”
Beneath, Assis shares with VinePair how bartending on TikTok has gotten him by means of this troublesome time, supplies a foolproof manner to determine high quality tequila, and dishes on the worldwide vacation spot he’s headed to drink as soon as journey restrictions are relaxed.
When did you first begin utilizing TikTok? What has your expertise been like thus far?
I would like to say it was September of 2020 after I actually began posting on TikTok. I used to be so stunned about how partaking the social media platform is, from feedback forwards and backwards but in addition networking. We name it the BarTok household — it’s a bunch of bartenders who get collectively and now we have a bunch textual content the place we’re all the time texting one another. … It’s created such an superior neighborhood. There’s not plenty of craft bartenders on TikTok, which is what I actually do, however in the actual world there’s this bizarre animosity between membership bartenders and craft bartenders. … I really like that on TikTok we’re all working collectively.
Has utilizing TikTok affected you personally?
Completely, particularly throughout this complete time being out of labor. I believe it’s actually saved me occurring the inventive facet — by not shedding monitor of making cocktails or shedding my style buds whereas not within the [restaurant] atmosphere on a regular basis. I’ve been contacted [by] and have completed a bunch of tastings with completely different manufacturers, issues that we’d do on a weekly foundation in a restaurant however that I’m doing now on a extra private degree.
What do you see in your TikTok account sooner or later?
For me, to start with, what I attempt to inform myself — and I see this quite a bit from different folks on TikTok, that they’re actually confused concerning the views — is I’m extra fearful concerning the engagement. So I positively see myself doing this for some time. I usually say that I don’t need TikTok to be my solely enterprise. I would like it to be a part of my enterprise. I really like to use TikTok as a part of nearly like a portfolio, and have cocktails which have historical past, [combined] with my very own recipes, my information of mezcal and tequila, and take a look at to capitalize on these issues whereas utilizing TikTok.
What’s your most considered TikTok video to date?
I did a four-part sequence of etiquette on the bar, issues like why folks cowl the tops of their drinks. For one of the videos, I [asked] why some bartenders put an the wrong way up shot glass subsequent to your drink. It’s one thing that you just don’t actually see that a lot— it’s a very massive factor on the East Coast, however in Los Angeles, I’ve been to only a couple bars that do it. So I simply shared that it signifies that the following shot is free, form of a manner to talk to the opposite bartenders that for this individual, the following drink is on us. It’s a super-simple video. It’s not a cocktail video, but it surely’s gotten like over 500,000 views. After that one, it’s [the video] the place I say don’t drink celebrity tequila and clarify why.
You’re very discerning about mezcal and tequila. What initially drew you into the class?
My spouse is Mexican. Her mother and father are Mexican. She was born right here, however she has actually robust ties to Mexico and we’ve traveled quite a bit to Mexico. We’d all the time land round Guadalajara, and I simply actually began falling in love with the meals largely, after which I received into mezcal and tequila. One of many cooks that I labored for right here in Los Angeles was probably the most educated guys about mezcal and tequila, so I began selecting his mind after which actually fell in love with the [spirits], too. I used to be ready to journey down to Tequila and go to a few the distilleries that he is aware of there, and speak to the mezcaleros in Oaxaca. I additionally received to go to the Del Maguey distillery, the place they make the Pechuga mezcal, which is without doubt one of the most uncommon sorts of mezcal. I actually fell in love with the business and I really feel actually robust about celeb tequila, which I perceive is a good enterprise, but it surely’s additionally killing that business.
What would you inform customers who need to be extra considerate about how they spend cash when it comes to tequila and/or educate themselves concerning the spirit?
So it’s a very easy factor. Tequila remains to be very a lot regulated in Mexico and each tequila bottle has a four-digit quantity someplace on the backside. They’ll have ‘NOM’ after which a four-digit code. Should you look that quantity up on-line, it would let you know the place the tequila is made and each single tequila that’s made on the similar distillery. That code is a distillery code. If there are actually 100 tequilas being made on this distillery, [then] this can be a mega-distillery; they’re seemingly utilizing diffusers and components. … It’s overwhelming stepping into tequila as a result of there’s like 150 manufacturers and also you don’t know which one is nice, however I can let you know there are like 10 which might be nonetheless made the best way it’s supposed to be. They’re family-owned and the folks actually care about maturing the agave, they actually care concerning the spirit. So in the event you examine on-line, and there’s one tequila or two tequilas made at that distillery, I’d say it’s a fairly secure guess that it’s going to be product.
What’s the drink that made you fall in love with cocktail tradition?
The Sazerac, it’s my favourite cocktail — I actually consider that the combination of sugar, anise of the absinthe, and whiskey or Cognac (typically each) is admittedly simply the proper cocktail.
What’s your favourite cocktail guide?
“Regarding Cocktails” by Sasha Petraske.
What’s the primary ingesting vacation spot you’re headed to as soon as journey restrictions ease up?
Oaxaca, Mexico! I completely love that metropolis and state. The meals is so completely different from anyplace in Mexico; the tradition, the artwork, the individuals are so variety. However most significantly, the mezcal. I can’t wait to return to be taught increasingly about this spirit and have the option to style it from the supply. Unbiased mezcaleros have actually been struggling with the cease on tourism and we’ve received to do every thing we will to hold the artwork alive.