– Call me a lucky girl! She grew up on the countryside in Poland with an essential closeness to the forest and family roots that forever has shaped who she is. Driven by heart and loving to be in motion she found her way to Norway where she is today working as bartender at Bortenfor in Oslo. Meet Ania Kulak.
With a passion for nature and sustainability and with two feet on the ground she likes to travel, try new things and explore. Energy and creativity are running in her veins and she’s got bartending in her blood since like forever. Yet she ran into her first job in the industry by chance.
– I was working as a waitress, bumped into a bar manager at a party in a club and came back home in the morning with a job offer as a barback. It turned out later that my decision to accept the offer changed my life forever, Ania says.
When Ania stepped behind the bar and qualified to a Polish bartender competition something clicked immediately. She felt that she really was in her true element.
– At that time one of my friends was opening a new cocktail bar and offered me a job. He aroused my passion for cocktails and I guess I won’t exaggerate if I say that thanks to him I’m in the industry for good. I love what I do more than anything, Ania emphasizes.
Increased awareness of health and wellness in the hospitality industry.
Bartending is not just a job anymore for Ania, it’s a lifestyle and a community with bartenders sticking together, supporting and taking care of each other in an industry that has it’s challenges.
– There is for sure a dark side with work environment problems. Today’s awareness and an ongoing discussion is needed to handle issues as sexual harassment, disregard and underestimation of women and health problems caused by stress and unhealthy night-life, Ania says.
The modern bartender has better prerequisites to handle the challenges. More and more employers take important measures to a support a sustainable hospitality industry focusing on the health and wellness of staff. And a number of organizations are offering education, support and assistance programs helping to make working life healthier.
– I feel happy to work in the industry at a time when we are more sensitive and aware of all this. And I hope that awareness of mental and physical health will grow, she adds.
Sustainability is a long lasting trend that is getting stronger.
The emergence of a no waste trend and sustainability in the bar is the result of a movement aiming to take responsibility for a better world in the bartending industry. Foraging is one of the trends following this movement.
– It’s getting less popular now. And I’m saying this with a heavy heart as it’s my beloved field, says Ania.
– But I’m convinced that sustainability and the trend of using ingredients from local producers is going to grow even more in a close future, she adds.
Lead by heart through life.
Letting her heart make the most important decisions in life is something Ania has done with great success.
– I rarely listen to my brain to be honest. Spontaneous by nature and with a crazy mind I make a lot of my decisions by impulse. And great people I’ve met on my way have led me into new directions in life, smiles Ania.
When you see a chance, take it!
When she heard about Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards, Ania didn’t think twice before signing up for the competition. Hernö Gin was already well known to her, but she did some massive research on Sweden resulting in her semifinal cocktail “Blådis” with inspiration from the Swedish cuisine.
– I had already heard about the beauty of the Swedish nature, but what I saw arriving at Hernö Gin and The High Coast of Sweden totally blew my mind. And the fact that the best gin in the world is handcrafted on a 1800 century farm on the Swedish countryside is really impressive, emphasize Ania.
Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards is a memory Ania will never forget and she adds that the experience of northern lights, unusual for the season, was an amazing finishing touch she was lucky enough to experience.
– My advice to everybody who is considering taking part of Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards 2019 is: Don’t think! Just do it! You will enter an amazing adventure in the most challenging competition and you won’t regret it, ends Ania.
Anias advices to you who are dreaming of a future in the bar industry:
• Follow the good and helpful people you meet.
• Listen to others, but do what’s right for you.
• Be ambitious.
• Find new solutions.
• Be a nerd.
• Leave your comfort zone.
• Have fun.
• Find balance in life.
Anias advices to you who are lucky enough to go the finals in Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards:
• Research! Read as much as you can about Sweden.
• Bring extra clothes and comfy shoes.
• Be prepared to do your presentation in the rain without being distracted by the weather.
Beet me Lopez!
Super simple dessert delish with a strong kick of Hernö Navy Strength Gin, created by Ania Kulak.
30 ml Hernö Navy Strength Gin
20 ml condensed coconut milk
20 ml beetroot juice
30 ml lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker. Shake and double strain to a big coupe glass. Simply as that. Enjoy.
Hernö Gin har tilldelats 68 Master- and Guldmedaljer i världens största och mest prestigefulla dryckestävlingar. World’s best Gin 2017 och 2018, World’s best London Dry Gin 2017, World’s best Gin & Tonic 2016, San Fransisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold 2017 och Gin Producer of the Year både 2017 och 2016 är några av dem.