America's Best Bartender, Ran Duan, Serves Up His “Fathers Advice!”

America's Best Bartender, Ran Duan, Serves Up His “Fathers Advice!”

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UPRAR Media got the opportunity to sit down with America's Best Bartender, Ran Duan, at the Baldwin Bar inside Sichuan Garden located in Woburn, MA for an exclusive interview. When we arrived at 3pm, (the bar did not open until 5pm) Ran was already busy setting up and getting prepared for what was expected to be another busy night. That level of preparedness and, upon first impressions, really showed us what kind of professional we were about to have a conversation with. Ran welcomed us upstairs into a nice, quiet dining room on the 2nd floor. First off, we want to thank him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with us. During the interview, we asked Ran about his journey and even got him to share his recipe on some of his winning drinks during his competitions. We won't spoil all the details, just check out the video and some of the dialogue below.

UPRAR Media: "What got you into the business?"

Ran Duan: "After graduating, my father said hey I have a bar, why don't you do something with it? Fast forward 5 or 6 years later, I'm here today, so it's kind of based out of necessity I developed my passion for hospitality."

U.M.: What makes Ran do what he does, what's his motivation?

R.D.: "My motivation is always family, everything I do is for my family. To support, to provide, being able to love your work, come to work every day and knowing that you're not going to be miserable is a plus as well. I love taking care of my guests, hospitality, I love making cocktails. Serving guests and just that smile they have on their face from the experience makes us do what we do and makes us strive to be better"

Not all experiences have ended with a smile. We asked Ran about what he calls "TakeOutGate." An incident with Harvard professor Ben Edelman that created national headlines. From my perspective, Mr. Edelman's complaint was valid but what he tried to do was uncalled for. From reading the correspondence between the two, as many of you have, Ran did what any respectful business man should do. That's acknowledge the customer's concern and provide a resolution. He did it very professionally in my book. So we asked him....

U.M.: Has that experience at all shaped you in any way shape or form?

R.D.: "No, it has only justified everything we do as a hospitality industry, to serve our guests. To even be as professional as possible, even to the kind guest and not so kind guests. We have a policy here where we not only represent me, our brand, our restaurant and our family. We try to be civil and be also hospitable to every guest, even the ones that threaten us a little bit."

Well said Ran.

Now for those of you who don't know, Ran won the National Bombay Sapphire and United States Bartenders' Guild award for "Most Imaginative Bartender" in Las Vegas last September. We asked Ran about the process that led him to Vegas even before winning. He told us he has been competing for about 3 years now and is very enthusiastic about it. After beating out 10 of Boston's best bartenders', he went to Viva Las Vegas and represented us by doing what this city has been known to do on a consistent basis. Win, win, and win! (In my DJ Khaled voice)

U.M.: How did it feel to win such a prestigious award?

R.D.: "It felt amazing. It was my first US National title. It's amazing to represent my country. To be able to represent USA means the world to me because this is what I've become. This is how I've become a Chinese-American and this is like the final frontier."

In winning that competition, Ran was featured on the cover of GQ Magazine's "Men of the Year" December issue. That is a very nice suit! Congratulations!

For most people, this ride could've ended and it would have been great. But being a competitive person, he wasn't done. He took his talents to South Beach and won the "National Legacy Cocktail Showcase" sponsored by Bicardi in Miami, FL. That's right folks, back-to-back national titles. The winning drink in this competition was a little more special to him. His own signature creation called "Father's Advice." When speaking about this drink with Ran, you could tell how proud he was to have it showcased on such a big stage.

U.M: How did you come up with this drink?

R.D: "Father's Advice is inspired by my father, I had a baby boy recently named Maxwell, and he said the greatness of a man is not measured by wealth but by his integrity to love. His ability to put someone else's needs before his. That's the reason why he's worked so hard for 20 years. To want what's best for them, to want to provide, that's what being a father is about. That's what the American dream is about."

With his recent success and fame, he is trying to lend a hand, to not only his local community but his bartending community as well. Ran has allowed bartenders across the country to feature his signature cocktail at their bar and restaurants which will hopefully help bring some business their way. The "Fathers Advice" cocktail can be found in bars and restaurants in Miami, Portland, Denver, and of course here in Boston, MA.

Ran's journey is not quite over just yet. He will compete in a few global competitions in Australia and Morocco over the next few months.

Please join us, in not only showing your support for Ran Duan, but wishing him the best of luck as he represents his family, his town and his country in his upcoming competitions. We have all the links below where you can go to do so. On behalf of myself and the whole UPRAR Media staff, GO GET'EM!

The Baldwin Bar @ Sichuan Garden is located at 2 Alfred St, Woburn, MA (781) 935-8488

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