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Alen Nikolovski



As the current GM of the famous Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst – a regular entrant on lists of the best bars in the world – he could not be better placed to offer advice through FDM on the weird and wonderful world of Bourbon.

He started his career at the late night Sydney stalwart, The World Bar where he caught the bartending bug, but it was his next job at the much missed Flinders Bar in Surry Hills where he learned his trade and realised he could make a career out of making great drinks. And what a career he has made!

His mentor at The Flinders (Andy Penney) and fellow drink slinger Chris March taught him the important cocktail lessons of “less is more” and balance – “78 ingredients do not make a cocktail”

Alen’s passion for the industry and motivation to learn from the best
brought him to the Swillhouse Group.

Stints at Baxter Inn (where he learned about Whisky and great service levels from David Fisher), Tio’s (a solid Tequila education) and now Shady Pines where, with FDM he educates and inspires the next generation on the world of Bourbon, has given Alen a well rounded and vast knowledge of the industry. Check out the FDM Bourbon Education.

Through FDM, Alen offers knowledge on Bourbon and advice to up and coming bartenders. “Most importantly”, he says, “Listen to people that have been doing this for a long time that are working with you. Go to seminars, trainings and masterclasses. Get immersed in the industry as much as you can. Also read books, taste recipes from them and make them your own – its the best way to get creative”.

Despite the current governmental restrictions, Alen sees a bright future for the Sydney bar scene; “Sydney is one of the most beautiful places in the world, we just need to bring it back and give it life again. Drinks wise and service wise we are one of the best in the world. I see a lot of kitchen equipment and techniques being used behind the bar to make really interesting and boundary pushing drinks. Hopefully they don’t go too far and still taste good!”

Big Grizzly – That’s my nickname, it’s what everyone calls me that’s all.

Alen knows Bourbon, but do you? Test your Bourbon knowledge at the FDM Bourbon Module!