Hailing from Houston and Austin, Texas, Rashidi Barrett has been actively immersed in the development of cocktails and the spirits industry since 2013.
After serving as a United States naval submariner, Barrett spent more than 20 years bartending before moving into the cocktail industry more than 5 years ago.
Through brilliant mentorships, constant self-pursuant education in agave, whisk(e)y, and opportunities in world class bar programs, Barrett’s focus began to shift to comprehending the philosophy of the modern-day consumer and science of flavor.
In 2014, he became an ambassador for Angel’s Envy bourbon where he implemented an in-depth approach to olfactory and palette education with trade and consumers, alike. He took his preliminary findings to the agave community in 2015, where he became an active voice in the Tequila Interchange Project, advocating the preservation and quality of distilled agave spirits. His experiences led to his first seminar for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference in 2016, with the ‘Art of Paring’, which blended the science of aromatic and volatile compounds into understanding the basics of tasting spirits from a culinary perspective.
As a product of his distillery research and internships in Minneapolis, Kentucky and California, Barrett has started to author a book devoted to broadening the average consumer’s knowledge base with spirits and flavor in relationship to a backbar with a culinary frame of mind entitled, ‘DTSOOT’ (Drink The Sh** Out Of This), which debuts in 2019.
In 2017, he became the curator of spirits and education for Las Perlas Mezacaleria and Seven Grand Whiskey bar where he hosted, educated, trained and extensively discussed the origins, history and wonders of whisk(e)y and agave varietals to the greater Austin community.
In his own words: My passion for the industry, at its core, is attempting to understand the current psychology of the modern drinker. Finding ways to break stereotypes in drinking, and imparting a better understanding or introduction to a spirit or flavor, for example, is extremely gratifying. Trying to create the right dialogue with an individual or among a group of about their likes and dislikes is why I love what I do.
In early 2018, Barrett transitioned his educational expertise to the Beam Suntory team as the Austin Luxury Spirits Specialist, where he continues to educate the community as well as consult nationally with other bar communities. For the past two years, Barrett has shifted his focus … enlightening with his experiences in the culture and whisky making in Japan as his focus has shifted to learning more of the kaizen philosophy and approach to whisky and life.