Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Anthony Drummond – From behind bars to raising the bar

Published:Wednesday | February 19, 2020 | 12:17 AM
Anthony Drummond (centre) makes his training sessions at the Riviera Main Pool Bar light-hearted and fun.
Anthony Drummond (centre) makes his training sessions at the Riviera Main Pool Bar light-hearted and fun.

When Sandals South Coast bar manager Anthony Drummond was asked what was his favourite quote, he quoted Dora the Explorer’s, “We all have something that makes us happy, I know you do, too, but the happiest thing about being happy is being happy with what you do.”

Being happy with what he does has certainly been a hallmark of Drummond’s colourful 14-year career, more than half of which he spent ‘behind bars’ as he jokingly puts it. From bartender to manager, Drummond relishes his Sandals journey; his own growth as well as his current role to impact those he manages.

A true Sandals baby, the now 32 year-old landed his first job at Sandals South Coast back in 2006, the same year he completed his studies in Hospitality Management at the Heart Trust training institution in Culloden.

“At the time, I had friends working at Sandals South Coast and they spoke so highly of the resort that I decided to apply,” says Drummond. He also admits that while attending Black River High School, he dreamt of one day becoming an actor as he loved being on stage. “I never pursued that dream, as I found a new passion in bartending”. But it wasn’t long before the bar became his new stage.

As a bartender, Drummond’s undeniable charisma gained him the reputation of a talented bartender who drew people in and kept them hooked. Nowhere is this more evident than in his enviable fan base of adoring guests, many of whom would return year after year to watch Drummond in action and whet their palates with his latest creations, bar games, and stories.

“But charisma could only bring me so far. If the bar was going to be my stage I had to know it inside out, all its nooks and crannies,” says the bartender who dedicated himself to learning the overall bar operation throughout his seven years in the profession. “Additionally, in order to provide that ‘above bar’ service for which Sandals is known, I had to take some risks, learn some tricks, excite and create.”

Indeed, it was Drummond’s ability to create that landed him the title of being the top bartender at the resort several years running. He is also an awarding-winning bartender who has walked away with top honours in various bartending competitions, including the Eldorado Drink Competition of 2010 and the Stolichnaya Jamaica Cocktail Master Competition of 2013, where he represented Sandals and Jamaica at the international level.

RISE TO THE TOP

Drummond’s rise to the top was strategic and consistent. It didn’t take long for the resort’s management to realise that this fun-loving, baby-faced bartender had all the makings of a superb bar manager – an energetic, fare and compassionate team player who was respected by his colleagues and passionate about learning and teaching, not to mention being a stickler for excellence in service delivery with an eye for detail.

However, Anthony himself admits that his transition to management was not an easy one. “I was offered the bar supervisor position three times before I finally accepted it,” he said, noting that it wasn’t because he doubted his abilities. “I was having the time of my life behind the bar and I wasn’t ready to give that up; serving up cocktails was everything to me.”

“But, eventually, I realised that because you’re passionate about something or love being in a certain position doesn’t mean you have to only do that or stay there,” says Drummond. “Sometimes stepping into a new role and trying something different is what makes life interesting, or shall I say, colourful.”

With that epiphany, Drummond decided to put aside the shots and go for the bottle. He spent six months as a bar supervisor and four years as an assistant bar manager. In 2017, he was appointed bar manager, and since then he has been busily raising the bar at Sandals South Coast.