Actor Rushi Kota was born in India to a mother who saw the brightest future for her son in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Acting on her instinct, she brought him to the states so he could achieve the American Dream. Upon their arrival in Queens, NY, Rushi quickly began to learn what it meant to work hard and persevere.

Prior to his acting endeavors, Kota chose a traditional career path in Automotive Engineering at SUNY Farmingdale. He double majored in Industrial Management Technology and Business Administration. However, after graduating in the financial crisis of 2008, with unemployment rates at a record high, jobless and in debt; he felt it was time to reconsider his plan in life. Two years of strenuously pursuing acting in New York went by, paving the path for Rushi at Harvard University’s MFA Acting program. He then followed that up with a residency at Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theater School in Russia. His academic accolades set him up for a prosperous career. With his platform he strives to break ethnic stereotypes in Hollywood and prove to be more than just his skin color.

On television, Kota starred in the comedy series Funny or Die’s ESL: English is the Second Language. Additional credits include guest starring in Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1, Freeform’s Famous In Love, and recurred on the CBS show Extant with Halle Barry.

Feature film credits include The Divorce Party with Thomas Cocquerel and Matilda Lutz, and “The One I wrote For You” with Cheyenne Jackson and Kevin Pollack, directed by Andrew Lauer.

Most recently, Kota returned to season two of Netflix’s hit show Never Have I Ever, trending worldwide. He plays the role of Prashant in the series by creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher about the complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American girl.

Chilled had the pleasure of chatting with Rushi about his bartending past, his fully stocked bar and his #goal to share an Aviation with Ryan Reynolds.

Chillin' with Rushi Kota

Chillin’ with Rushi Kota

Tell us about the projects you are working on.

To name one, there’s Useless Humans, an alien comedy on Showtime, I play Louis, a stressed-out dad in need of a vacation with friends gone wrong.

With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?

I like to chill and unwind. Watch movies and shows. If I am really in a mood, then I play video games. That’s my guilty pleasure.

When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?

Places where the food and service are exceptional. I don’t really care about the flare or the hype of a restaurant. Is the food of absolute quality or not? Like I don’t need monkey wood imported from the south of Zimbabwe to make up for a boring dish.

Chillin' with Rushi Kota

Chillin’ with Rushi Kota

What types of dishes do you typically order?

I usually go for protein heavy dishes and avoid dairy at all costs.

Any favorite bars?

A cool cocktail bar that turns into a club that I love going to is called The Chestnut Club in Santa Monica. They have an exceptional spirit list, and they can make almost any classic or vintage cocktail known to man. 

What drinks do you order when out?

In my twenties I used go H.A.M. and order whatever was the cheapest on the menu but now that I am a bit grown and matured like fine barrel of bourbon. I would say a Paper Plane with Rowans Creek is my absolute favorite.

Chillin' with Rushi Kota

Chillin’ with Rushi Kota

Do you prepare drinks at home?

Sangrias, Palomas, Margaritas, Rum Punches, mulled wines are always easy crowd pleasers. But if it’s just me then I go tequila straight. Keep it simple.

Tell us about your home bar. What is it stocked with?

Now we are talking! My home bar is legit. It’s small but mighty. Has all the essential tools to putting a libation of all shapes and sizes together.

Dolin Blanc dry vermouth and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth for Martinis and Manhattans. Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters for Old fashioned and Sazarac’s. Aperol, Campari and Amaro Nonino for Negronis and Paper Planes. Gray Whale Gin, Plantation Dark Rum, Rowans Creeks Bourbon, Tequila Ocho Reposado, Prairie Organic Vodka and Madre Mezcal. Good thing about Mezcal is that it can go in anything and immediately elevate the cocktail to a new level.

Have you ever been a bartender?

(Laughs) If by now it wasn’t obvious then it should be. I slang drinks for many years all over LA, from east to west, from the valley to downtown. I was even bartending on the weekend while I was on shooting Greys Anatomy during the week.

If you could share a drink with anyone, who would it be?

I would share an Aviation with Ryan Reynolds. He’s someone I really look up to. The man has been there and done that, not only as a successful actor but also as a family man, a philanthropist, and a business owner.