Paul Sevigny, Disaronno brand ambassador
Paul Sevigny, Disaronno brand ambassador

Paul Sevigny is currently the Eastern United States Brand Ambassador for Disaronno and Tia Maria, two premium liquor brands with rich legacies. Prior to that, Paul worked behind the bar at the Florida Room in the iconic Delano Hotel in Miami Beach. Building up a name for himself, he has consulted on beverage programs for high-profile clients such as GHM Americas Hotel Group, Morgans Hotel Group, Table 8 Restaurant Group, and the Fontainebleau Miami. He has also placed high in multiple cocktail competitions including the 42 Below World Cup, Bombay Sapphire/GQ’s Most Inspired Bartender, and the Cherry Heering World Cocktail Competition. In his minimal spare time, Paul maintains affiliations with the United States Bartenders Guild and the United States Sommelier Association.

In advance of Disaronno’s July event at the Sixty LES new rooftop bar, Tiki Tabu, Paul did some Q&A with Downtown. His responses were both honest and informative, as he painted a picture of life as a brand ambassador while explaining about how music and family play a role in his work. Paul can be followed on Twitter via @Paul_Sevigny, while Disaronno is on there as @Disaronno_USA.

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Do you remember the first time you ever tasted Disaronno?

Paul Sevigny: The first time I ever tasted Disaronno was actually when I was in high school. My grandfather’s favorite drink was a Godfather, which is a cocktail made with Disaronno and scotch. I used to steal a sip of his drink from time to time.

Today, I like to re-create different variations of the Godfather by substituting different base spirits with Disaronno, while experimenting with different types of bitters to get some really interesting flavor combinations.

Prior to working with Disaronno and Tia Maria, you consulted on beverage programs for a lot of high profile
clients. How did you first wind up in the beverage industry?

PS: I have worked in the hospitality industry my entire life. It wasn’t until I moved to Miami in 2006 that I was able to create a name for myself in the beverage industry. I took what I was absorbing from the cocktail scenes in New York and London and applied it to form my own style of creating drinks. I was fortunate enough to work in some
very high profile venues that enabled me to master my craft. This allowed me to get exposed to the right people in
both the hospitality industry and with major liquor suppliers.

I’m aware that years ago you had a company of your own called Paul’s Boutique. Beastie Boys fan, or a pure
coincidence?

PS: Not a coincidence at all. I am a huge Beastie Boys fan. I am a big fan of music period. It inspires everything I do, from my personal style to my choices professionally, and it certainly influences my cocktail creations. I have been known to name a cocktail or two after songs that have not only inspired me, but also connect with the ingredients used in the drink. Kind of like the inspiration behind the name Paul’s Boutique.

Has sharing a name with Chloe Sevigny’s brother ever led to a bizarre situation?

PS: Actually, a few times. I first met him in Miami in 2010, when I was working at the Florida Room at the DelanoHotel. He was spinning records and a mutual friend introduced us. We had a laugh, as two Paul Sevignys in the
same room was a pretty rare occurrence, especially since it’s not a common name. Four years later, while working
with Disaronno, he was the DJ at the New York City version of one of our signature events, the Disaronno Terrace. We saw each other and started to laugh, reminiscing on that night in Miami when we first met. We even had some press at the event take photos of us together, which resulted in a story called “Will the Real Paul Sevigny Please Stand Up?” Pretty funny stuff. I have seen him a couple of times since then, and we always have a good laugh about it.

What is the average day on the job as the Eastern United States Brand Ambassador look like? Are you traveling
most weeks?

PS: I do travel quite a lot. Most of my travel is spent creating advocacy with our brand in the bartending community. Through events, training, and relationship building, the goal is to create a buzz around our product with key influencers who influence what other people drink. I also help with training our distributor sales force on our portfolio. This includes teaching about the brand, its history, and cocktail development.

What do you wish more people knew about your field?

PS: That it’s hard work. Most people think being a Brand Ambassador for a liquor brand is glamorous. Yes, you get to travel, visit some of the most exciting and influential venues in the country, and meet amazing people, however it’s still hard work. Traveling from location to location and working long irregular hours can be taxing. It is all worth it, but certainly not as glamorous as some may think.

To stay up to date on your field, are there particular publications you read? Does most news come through
word of mouth and conventions?

PS: For me, I get most of my information from visiting accounts and seeing what people are doing in the most
influential establishments, tasting their creations, interacting with the bartenders themselves. That networking
also happens at large scale cocktail events such as Tales Of The Cocktail. From time to time, I do read articles from
Liquor.com and Difford’s Guide, but more so because I am interested in the material in general.

When it’s time to order a cocktail with Disaronno, how do you usually take it? On the rocks? Mixed with
something in particular?

PS: Usually mixed, but with simple cocktail variations. My go-to Disaronno cocktail at the moment is the Padrino. It’s a variation of the Godfather, using Disaronno and mescal, with a touch of grapefruit bitters. I am also enjoying a variation on our signature cocktail, the Disaronno Sour. The version I love right now is called the London Sour, which features Disaronno, gin, grapefruit, and lavender bitters.

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Were you always a spirits drinker? Or did you start off with beer?

PS: Early in my consumption career, I mostly drank beer. It was cheap and refined enough for my unadvanced palate.
Now, it depends on my mood. I love having a great crafted cocktail as much as a glass of fine wine with dinner, but
also could easily enjoy having a beer or a shot of tequila. It depends on the situation and what calls to be enjoyed at that moment.

Are there any upcoming events or promotions for your brand in New York?

PS: Yes, we recently were involved in the grand opening of the Domenico Vacca store and DV Club, where Disaronno
Sours were served to guests. VIP’s in the DV Club were treated to Disaronno Riserva. We are also holding our
annual Disaronno Terrace event in New York City at the end of July at the Sixty LES new rooftop bar, Tiki Tabu. At
the event we will be featuring our signature Disaronno Sour in custom sour jars. I’ll be whipping up some cool
Disaronno Sour cocktail variations too. Should be a great night, especially with the view of the New York City skyline as the
sun sets.

Is there a bar in New York City that Disaronno looks at as a “home bar” or a place to launch new products?

PS: We have a very versatile product line and have great relationships with venues all over New York City. Trattoria Il Mulino has been a great partner for us. They do very well with both Disaronno and Zucca Rabarbaro, a new product we just relaunched this year. Scarpetta has also been a great partner for Disaronno, giving us great visibility with the brand. Last year, in the Hamptons, we partnered with Beautique to host our summer Disaronno Terrace events. Their New York City venue is a great place to try our new Disaronno Riserva, a premium blend of Disaronno and scotch that’s been aged in marsala wine casks. It’s the perfect after-dinner drink.

When you’re not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

PS: I like to spend time with my wife, my baby daughter Violet, and my dog Rocco. As busy as I am, I always enjoy my time at home. I love sports, play guitar, and took up a new hobby this year, wine-making. I will be bottling my first batch of Sangiovese at the end of July.

If given free time while in New York City for business, how do you usually spend it?

PS: My job is so focused on being out and about, doing things that people would normally do with free time, such as
eating, drinking, and socializing. I do enjoy shopping for all things vintage: clothing, records, glassware, etc. I have always been intrigued by anything dated that tells a story. New York City has plenty to offer in that department.