Behind the Bar: Brian Klemm's Journey to Becoming Selvarey's Brand Ambassador


Former bartender and drink extraordinaire Brian Klemm caught up with TBDE during the most recent Lejay Creme de Cassis video shooting where he showcased an exquisite new cocktail with spicy notes and sweet creme de cassis, dubbed "Success & Riches". Despite recently making a transition to the brand side, Brian spoke to TBDE about staying true to his one great passion: creating amazing drinks.

Brian's efforts came in preparation for "El Diablo Week" - a Cinco de Mayo inspired celebration featuring one often forgotten concoction, the El Diablo cocktail, typically featuring tequila, creme de cassis, lime juice and topped with ginger beer.

Brian, a veteran on the LA bar scene, with successful passages at Magnolia House and Los Balcones, has recently made a switch from behind the bar, a place where he was so comfortable with, to now being the full-time Brand Ambassador of Selvarey, a role he now embraces on a daily basis without looking back too often. 

"I woke up one day and realized, that's it. It's all about SelvaRey rum now and I am loving every minute of it". He's referring to the award-winning premium rum co-created by Bruno Mars. The line includes an amber colored cocoa version infused with local chocolate from Panama and a white rum, which is smooth to drink on the rocks, despite being aged only for 3 years.


Success & Riches

  • Lejay Creme de Cassis
  • SelvaRey Cacao Rum
  • Habanero Mint Cordial
  • Elderflower Liqueur
  • Lemon Juice
  • Angostura Bitters

The drink is then shaken and stirred over a rocks glass featuring a large branded rock. Garnished with wild flowers.

I woke up one day and realized, that’s it. It’s all about the SelvaRey rum and I am loving every minute of it.

The two rums combined give Brian a lot to work with. The sweetness of the chocolate is not overpowering and truly brings out the cocoa spicy notes. The white rum is the perfect starting point for virtually any recipe, stirred or shaken.

It's typically not easy for bartenders to make a switch to the brand side. There is something about creative freedom that gets lost in branding while much more is asked of the palate, which has to become well trained to recognize the strengths and shortfalls of the rep'd brand and category. The talented typically succeed in this transition. Brian Klemm is the latest example in a line of successful bartenders who made the switch to the "other side".