Poire me up
Nestled in the heart of Camana Bay is Ortanique - Cuisine of the Sun; and nestled in the heart of Ortanique is Ram Maranan, a charmer from the Philippines and skilled mixologist who has all the moves with the martinis to back them up.
Ram was born in Manila and grew up with a love of Chemistry. Small wonder therefore that he’s become the mixologist he is; but I’m jumping ahead of myself...
When he finished high school he went straight to university to study for his degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. At the same time others were taking note of his good looks (my words, not his) and so he was invited to become a runway model for many designers. It was great money for a guy his age, so he certainly wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity! Four years later he had his degree and was ready to take what he had learned and apply it in the real world.
His first service industry job was in Rabbit’s Bar, a nightclub in Manila, where he stayed for two years before heading further afield - to Japan. It was the place to be if you had the contacts, and Ram did. The bars were great, the nightlife was exciting and the culture was fascinating. He didn’t speak a word of Japanese when he got there, but after a few months of what amounted to boot camp in the language, he was pretty fluent.
It was terrific experience, as just as the country and culture was different, so were the different types of alcohol to be found behind the bar. He added a whole new set of recipes to his resume, so by the time he returned to the Philippines he was ready to face the next challenge.
Ram spent another year modelling, but was keen to get back behind a bar. His father who had worked in the Cayman Islands for years suggested that his come and visit, and maybe he’d like to stay awhile?
He didn’t need to be asked twice! He sent out applications and before he knew it he had been offered employment at Fisherman’s Reef in West Bay. It was 2005, only a year after Hurricane Ivan had hit and the island was eager to get back on its feet.
In the following years Ram worked at a number of local establishments and resorts after leaving Fisherman’s Reef, including Morritt’s Tortuga Club, Guy Harvey’s, and Vivendi. Finally he made his way to Ortanique – perhaps drawn in by its gravitational pull, thanks to brightly coloured walls and a bar designed to be a mixologist’s dream.
Now you can find him there each night, creating drinks with his signature shaking style, and sporting that charming manner that makes all the ladies go weak in the knees. He’s certainly sticking with this line of work for the time being, although he has dreams of opening his own establishment at some point in the future and I have no doubt they will come true.
Stop by Ortanique this evening and meet a unique mixologist from the other side of the world who definitely speaks your language!