Fri | Sep 18, 2020

Bartender brings winning personality to the Internet

Published:Thursday | September 10, 2020 | 12:08 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Rajiv Johnson.
Rajiv Johnson.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Rajiv Johnson’s signature drink is tagged South Side, a mixture of gin, mint, lime juice and simple syrup. It’s not too fresh, not too sweet. It’s the opposite of a mojito, and is much smoother because it has gin instead of rum. Johnson is the friendly face of Sandals Resorts International’s Online Marketing Campaign, dubbed the Sandals State of Mind Video Series, and he is relishing the experience.

The former professional footballer, who became a bartender five years ago, has become an Internet star overnight, particularly because of his prowess in mixology at Sandals Montego Bay’s overwater bar, Latitudes. And, as for the state of mind he enters that bar with daily, the 34-year-old says, “I am always ready to satiate the appetite of each guest who comes into contact with me at the bar, using some of the diverse offerings that bartending affords me.”

In five years he has become one of the most sought-after bartenders, and being named the face of the company’s online campaign, he admits he would want no other way. His guests are regular TripAdvisor members and take responsibility for his rise within the short period he has been juggling the blenders, shakers and tasting spoons.

On a busy day there is no time to count the number of ‘creative’ juices that flow at the overwater bar. “When the hotel is busy, we have up to 600 people in house,” he said.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Johnson was hand-picked to be the face of the company’s series, which was launched after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, to help guests recreate the Sandals experience at home.

It features an energetic Johnson providing step-by-step instructions on how to recreate both old favourites and new twists on traditional drinks. To say he has been a hit among guests would be an understatement.

He explained, “That experience has been great. I’ve received a lot of positive reviews and I have met so many people. With the resort now reopened, people come to the bar and ask for the person that was doing the State of Mind videos.”

A people person with a big personality and infectious smile, Johnson loves what he does and his guests love him even more. “I love learning to make new drinks, meeting new people, getting to know them and playing my part in ensuring they have the best vacation,” he said.

For his consistent efforts, Johnson has received several awards and accolades, including being named the resort’s Diamond Team Member for the Year 2016. He credits his immediate supervisor, Shinton Dixon, and bar manager, Angella Richards-Farrier, for being constant sources of motivation and encouragement.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com