Mixologist Maksym Pazuniak of Maison Premiere - Biography

Brooklyn, NY

August 2011

After graduating from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2004, Maks Pazuniak moved to New York, where he spent four years toiling in the world of commercial real estate and finance. An increasing sense of ennui led him to quit his job and move back to New Orleans to chase his dream of becoming a bar owner. Before his departure, Pazuniak undertook and graduated from Dale Degroff’s B.A.R. program. Armed with a B.A.R. certificate and a couple of contacts, Pazuniak moved to New Orleans in late 2008, where he got his first bartending job at Rambla, a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant.

His big break came in early 2009, when Neal Bodenheimer offered him an apprentice position at New Orleans' soon-to-be newest and most progressive craft-cocktail bar, Cure. Cure opened in the spring of 2009 and quickly became one of New Orleans' most popular drinking destinations: Esquire Magazine later named it one of the best cocktail bars in the country. Pazuniak worked his way up to bartender, learning the way of the stick from former Violet Hour bartender Kirk Estopinal, and local luminaries Rhiannon Enlil and Ricky Gomez. That same year, Estopinal and Pazuniak self-published rogue cocktails, a cocktail guide featuring innovative and unusual recipes contributed by some of the best and brightest in the industry.

Overcome by a longing for New York, Pazuniak moved back to the city in the summer of 2010. He got a bartending job at The Counting Room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and used his training to help develop a noteworthy progressive cocktail menu. Today, Pazuniak can be found at Maison Premiere, a New Orleans-inspired cocktail and oyster den. beta cocktails, the blood- and sweat-stained follow-up to rogue cocktails, was released by Pazuniak and Estopinal during Tales of the Cocktail 2011.