This is Alexander James Armstrong, otherwise known on Instagram as The Hobby Drink Chef, from Ottawa.
AJ is 28 years old and is originally from Toronto. He moved to the Capital with his parents when he was about 12 years old, so he pretty much considers himself coming from Ottawa at this point. He studied Audio Engineering and used to work in the conference and events industry. Today, AJ is a home bartender, cocktail photographer and content creator. Let’s see how this happened.
AJ worked in bars for many years, but never as a bartender. He was a DJ. When it was slow, he would go to the bar, hang out with the bartenders and watch them make drinks. He wasn’t much of a cocktail drinker himself, until one night, he tasted an Old Fashioned. Like most people, he thought that cocktails were sweet and fruity drinks that came out of a blender. Drinking an Old Fashioned changed it all. It was so good! He loved the taste, but was also amazed by all the care and attention to detail that went into it. That was about five years ago, and that was when AJ got into cocktails. He started reading books, watching Youtube videos and learning about how to make drinks.
He began to take pictures of his drinks after the first month of lockdown. He needed to find a way to make use of his time, given he didn’t see the events and conference industry coming back to normal any kind of soon. Many of his friends enjoyed the cocktails he was making and regularly asked him for recipes. He decided to take pictures of his drinks and to post them on Instagram, so that his friends could see them and have the recipes. And it started to take off. People started to following him, asking him questions. He went down the rabbit hole and here we are.
Overall, AJ is a self-taught bartender and photographer that manages to achieve some pretty impressive results. The quality of his drinks and images are on point. If you don’t already know his page, we highly suggest you go check it out!
A little bit more about Alexander...
The three words that describe him best: creative – humble – arrogant
Something he has achieved on his life to-do list: Perform in front of a large crowd. He played in front of over 2000 people, and frankly loved the thrill.
Something he has yet to achieve on his life to-do list: Skydiving.
The books that helped him learn most: Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold, and both Death and Co. books.
What he likes most about making cocktails: It’s really creative. When he was younger, he was experimenting and trying to figure out what he likes most about being creative. He drew, did graffiti and street arts, he has been a musician since he was 10 years old, obviously picked up photography along the way, and always explored different forms of arts. He found cocktails to be a very satisfying avenue for his creativity.