ISSN 2052 0603
In the hotseat Julie Reiner on life behind bars
Girls allowed Competitions with a female focus
The lady nose best Talking rum with Lorena Vasquez
+ 10 of the best glasses for Martini oâ€™ clock
On the cover
Bowled over by the leading ladies of drinks
LET’S HE AR IT
GIRLS Not that we’re being sexist or anything but we do our fair share of giving the guys a jolly good pat on the back, now it’s time to do the same for the girls. Believe us, we haven’t even touched the sides of the wealth of incredible female talent out there. Which is a good thing. It proves that even though there’s still a long way to go in terms of equal representation across the board, we’re much further down the road than we were before. Someone who’s seen the changes over the last two and a half decades or so is the queen of the New York cocktail scene Julie Reiner. We talk to her about being an innovator and mentor to both men and women over the years (p. 10), and ask eight female bartenders around the world for their views from behind the stick (p. 12). We cross to Guatemala where Lorena Vasquez packs a man-sized punch in her role as Master Blender at Zacapa rum (p. 48), while over in Georgia, LeeAnn Maxwell and Carrie King give us the lowdown on their vodka created with female drinkers in mind (p. 50). And what about the ladies sharing the cocktail love in London? We hired a photographic studio, kitted it out with a rail full of clothes and asked some of the most influential women on the drinks scene to strike a pose for our ace photographer Johnnie Pakington (p. 40). We think you’ll agree, not only do they do a smashing job but they look pretty damned awesome as well. Ladies of drinks we salute you.
Happy imbibing! Ms S & Mr G
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6. IN-the know
25 reasons to be a cocktail lover this season Acting like we’re breaking bad, drinking art and succumbing to some serious pampering – just a few of the things we’re looking forward to in the next few months
Skinny vs. full-bodied Are you opting to go lighter on your cocktails or do you prefer to go big or go home? We argue the case for both
38. IN-dulge Glass acts Ten Martini glasses to covet
In the hotseat – Julie Reiner The queen of the New York cocktail scene on 25 years in the business and why it takes chutzpah to be a woman in drinks
48. IN-dustry greats
Girls on top Is it really any different being a female behind the bar? We asked eight ace bartenders from around the world for their personal views
Head in the clouds Talking rum, nose insurance and true loves with Zacapa Master Blender Lorena Vasquez
22. IN-spire A few of my favourite things Inside the brilliant mind of Rebekkah Dooley, champion in hospitality marketing, menu design and social media management
24. IN-spire Ladybird books Yolanda Evans meets three authors with spirited tales to tell
26. IN-spire Take a walk on the wild side Grab a bucket and a good reference book and go foraging for cocktail ingredients – just like Emil Seth Areng
30. IN-the spotlight Girls allowed Celebrating the new wave of cocktail competitions which put women firmly in focus
30. IN-the spotlight The craft of: The professional ‘nose’ Nancy Fraler sheds light on what it takes to be a ‘ghost’ blender and why intutition plays a huge role in the job
35. IN-focus Drink to your health In the first in a new series Claire Smith and Georgia van Tiel share their top tips on how to drink responsibly
Get the drinks in with… Our leading ladies. One studio, 16 incredible women all stirring things up very nicely in London
50. IN-dependent spirits Foxy ladies Vixen Vodka, created by women for women (but also enjoyed by men)
53. IN-the mix D.I.Y cocktail ingredients: Watermelon syrup Andy Campana gives the lowdown on making simple but delicious cocktail ingredients for the home and the bar
54. IN-the know Mains & Martinis Five London restaurants where the cocktails are as good as the food
56. IN-the know Word up… News, views, reviews and interviews from the cocktail front
60. IN-sider’s guide Common wealth of drinking Inspired by the Commonwealth Games Fraser Barrett has put in the training to bring you the winning bars in Glasgow
62. IN-ternational There’s something about Cuba… Drinking in the culture in Cuba’s capital of cool
66. IN-vite only
Editors: Sandrae Lawrence, Gary Sharpen Sub-editor: Sally Briggs Creative Director: James Cheverton at Burnt Studio burntstudio.com Illustrations: Melanie Milne mellmadedesign.com; pezandpencil.co.uk Becky Roberts doodleyboo.com Nick Schon nickschonillustrator.com; Photography: Johnnie Pakington johnniepakington.com; Travis Watson email@example.com Contributors: Emil Seth Areng, Fraser Barrett, Andy Campana, Yolanda Evans, Beth Redfern, Remy Savage, Claire Smith, Georgia van Tiel, Lauryn Tomlinson For all editorial and advertising enquiries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7242 2546 www.thecocktaillovers.com Printed by Polestar UK Print Ltd. Reproduction in whole or part of any contents of The Cocktail Lovers magazine without prior permission from the editors is strictly prohibited. Cover shot: Clotilde Lataille, bartender at Hawksmoor, Spitalfields (for details, see p. 47) Issue No. 12 Summer 2014 The Cocktail Lovers magazine is published by The Cocktail Lovers in London, UK
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Snap-shot The best bits from the last three months
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REASONS TO BE A COCKTAIL LOVER THIS SEASON Elevating our parties, making like bag ladies and playing to the crowd – just three of the things we’re looking forward to in the next three months
Slipping into our finest threads
La touche aka mr hat © dean chalkley; creative direction by harris elliott
in honour of Return of the Rudeboy, our cultural pick of the summer. With sharp shots from Dean Chalkley and a pop-up grooming station from rude bwoy barber Johnnie Sapong, it goes without saying it’s rum Old-Fashioneds all round. Until 25 August at Somerset House. somersethouse.org.uk
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ACTING LIKE WE’RE BREAKING BAD
with our own chemists cocktail kit. Complete with test tubes, beaker, stirrer and shaker – all that’s missing is the white coat… thegiftoasis.com
Mixing cocktails al fresco packed with everything you need to make an A1 Margarita this limited-edition cocktail case is right on the money – bring on the sun! tipplesworth.com
Elevating our parties
‘Oh’ and ‘my’, have you seen how sexy this Möet Ice Impérial Limited Edition Summer Escape Trunk is? It takes bubbles on to a whole new level – particularly as these ones are created to be sipped over ice. Available exclusively at Selfridges. selfridges.com
STOPPING EVERYTHING FOR TEA
Seriously. As well as Bunny Cupcakes and savouries, the teatime treats at Playboy Club London, include your choice of a Fruity, Floral, Spicy or Classic cocktail made by Salvatore Calabrese. playboyclublondon.com
SUCCUMBING TO SOME SERIOUS PAMPERING
Top pick: the Sip & Spa package at One Aldwych hotel. Just the tonic for mind, body and spirit, this summer reviver takes in a 60-minute Natura Bissé Radiance Booster Facial, 30-minute energyboosting body scrub, plus a stunning cocktail in The Lobby Bar afterwards. We like. onealdwych.com
Beating the heat
by cooling off with an ice lolly. Sound boring? Then you obviously haven’t tasted a Lickalix poptail. Enjoy one of the 12 cocktail-licious combos including spiced rum and plum; banana Daiquiri and Pina Colada – they’re the biz! lickalix.com
TAKING THE BAR HOME
Three of the best bars in the world have created bottled cocktails for you to enjoy any time you bloomin’ well want. Try the Cocktails Collection from The Savoy available at selfridges.com; Small-Batch Cocktails from Eau de Vie in Australia via vintagecellars.com, or the Affinity cocktail from Bramble Bar, available through masterofmalt.com
09 Sipping from a Manolo Blahnik slipper We’re talking shiny black killer heels with the trademark red sole. Walter Pintus’s sparkling Tallulah cocktail is every bit as classy as the vessel it’s served in. Indulge your senses at The Ritz. theritzlondon.com The Cocktail Lovers - 7
MAKING LIKE BAG LADIES Wine in a bag? You’ve got to be kidding right? Er no. Squint and these Vernissage handbags could easily pass for the real thing. Look carefully and there’s a nifty spout on the side to dispense either Chardonnay, rosé or a juicy red. More useful than designer versions… theexceptionalwinecompany.com
HAVING COCKTAILS FOR BREAKFAST Sound hardcore? Not if you’ve been to APM at Zinc. Living up to it’s name (Always Past Midnight) the new member’s club opens from 2.30am to 7am and serves luxxed-up breakfasts such as summer truffled scrambled eggs along with Bombay Sapphire-based Redemptions. Amen! alwayspastmidnight.co.uk
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13. ROCKING UP AT WRAY’S HOUSE for reggae, rum and roots food – Jamaican style. The house party of the year takes in live riddims from Goldie, Ragga Twins and Tippa Irie, food by Andi Oliver, records from Dub Vendor plus drinks and hospitality courtesy of Wray & Nephew rum. 2nd August. wearebigchill.com
INDULGING IN COCKTAIL CONFECTIONERY
Imagine a cross between an American hard gum and the concentrated flavour of a French pate de fruit. Then add alcohol. At Smith & Sinclair the humble sweet gets serious. Suck on Whisky Sours, Gin & Tonics, and Mixed Berry Daiquiris. Mmm! smithandsinclair.co.uk 8 - The Cocktail Lovers
SWEARING BY OUR SEASONINGS
Bitter Bastards is the Sid Vicious of cocktail seasonings, packing an uncompromising, kick-ass punch. Don’t go expecting subtleties, the single botanical flavours are, well, bitter bastards, put them to the test for yourself. Available in 25 varietals including Sour Cherry, Black Pepper and White Truffle. masterofmalts.com
WAKING UP AND SMELLING THE COFFEE Playing it straight by day, Soho Grind cranks up the caffeine at night. Call in for pre-party liveners such as the Grind Espresso Martini and Flat White Russians. sohogrind.com
16. GOING FOR CHOCOLATE OVERLOAD
If you’re going to indulge, do it right. At Bad Brownie they don’t mess about with namby-pamby confections, they go straight for the good stuff. Check their wicked brownie selection including whisky and marmalade, and chilli, orange and triple sec. De-lish. badbrownie.co.uk
17 Practising our languages Forget that phrase book which you’ll never use, this goblet is all the help you need on holiday. You’re welcome. thegiftoasis.com
No wonder Artesian and Nightjar come in at numbers one and two respectively on the World’s 50 Best Bars list – have you seen the stunning cocktails on their new menus? We’re smitten. barnightjar.com (left), artesian-bar.co.uk (right).
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DRINKING FROM CARTONS
Don’t be fooled: with its mix of Grand Marnier, cognac, yuzu, lime, soda and bitters Gareth Evans’ and Kyle Wilkinson’s playful orange juice carton is definitely for the grown-ups. Available exclusively at The Blind Pig. theblind-pig.co.uk
PIMPING UP OUR ICE CUBES How so? Simple. We’ll place bits of fruit and flowers, or splashes of alcohol into the Giant Ice Cube, then leave the freezer to do the rest. Once it’s set, add to all manner of summery cocktails and punches. Fresh! lekue.co.uk
up the blender
We’re getting in the Pina Colada groove. We like the way they serve it at The Portobello Star: 25ml El Dorado 3yo Rum, 25ml Myers Rum, 8 cubes of fresh pineapple, a squirt of Coco Lopez and a large scoop of ice. Blend ingredients together and pour. Garnish with a cherry. portobellostarbar.co.uk. Blender, alessi.com
CLEANING UP OUR ACT
Adding to our art collection
This personalised metro-style map will do nicely, thanks. notonthehighstreet.com
Whether prepping for the barbie or tending bar, this nifty upcycled apron has you covered. Bonus points for retro recipes. huntedandstuffed.com
Spreading the cocktail love
We’re jamming but forget the sugary stuff, we’ve discovered Jumijam. Great in the kitchen but equally tasty behind the bar, the all-natural range includes orange and cognac, peach and amaretto, pineapple and spiced rum as well as apricot and rosemary flavours. Use to zhush up your drinks. jumijam.weebly.com
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PLAYING TO THE CROWD
Decks? Check. Mic? Check. Sound booth? Check. Add a bottle of vodka, your personal mixologist and a hideaway room full of friends and you’ve got yourself The Studio at London Cocktail Club. Bookings advised. londoncocktailclub.co.uk The Cocktail Lovers - 9
IN THE HOTSEAT
THE FIRST LADY OF DRINKS
Of all the professions in all the world, why bartending and bar ownership? I’m from Hawaii, hospitality is in our DNA. My first real job was as a cocktail waitress in a bar in Waikiki. I was around 18 at the time and all the girls worked on the floor while the men worked behind the bar. It was pretty much the same when I got my first job in a cocktail bar in Florida. It was called The Pub and served beers and shots – I was intrigued by it all from the start. When did you realise it was what you wanted to do? After graduating from college I moved to San Francisco and I found The Red Room. That place completely changed my life. Here was a fierce and amazing team of females working behind the bar. Not only did they look amazing but they were making classic cocktails and using fresh, seasonal juices – no-one else was doing this at the time, the normal thing was mixes and juices from a gun. I met so many fantastic people there, including my now wife and Michelle Connolly, one of my business partners. Which facets of your personality does this industry appeal to and why? I love the fact that it’s completely different every day.
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Nights that you think will be slow turn out to be busy and vice-versa – the unpredictability and excitement that comes from working in this business really appeals to me. Plus I love being the facilitator of good times.
Describe the ethos behind all of your bars and how, in your opinion, you have managed to fulfil your own brief. Like The Red Room I wanted to have a culinary approach to cocktails. No-one was really doing it in New York apart from Dale DeGroff at the Rainbow Room and Milk & Honey but Milk wasn’t particularly well known back then. I started doing seasonal menus at C3, the bar I was managing at the time and writers started to write about me and my approach to cocktails. Before I knew it I was on the front page of the New York Times, so I built on that. I guess you could say my initial success was down to supply and demand. Has being a female in the drinks industry helped or hindered you in your career? Honestly, it’s helped more than hindered. I’ve always worked with a lot of women, from The Red Room to some of the partners in my bars. Although being a female in the
industry has never bothered me personally, it’s definitely been the topic of conversation because of being a minority. Of your many accolades, both as a bartender and bar owner, which are you proudest of and why? Definitely the Best Mentor award at the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktails last year. It felt very special to be honoured for being a mentor to all the talented people who have gone on to open their bars and run consultancies – that was something very personal. You’ve worked in the industry for 25 years, what’s been the biggest change you’ve seen: a) In the trade? How quickly it has grown. Also bar tending is regarded as a respectable profession now. 10 years ago people used to ask, “yes but what do you really want to do?” when you told them you were a bartender – they don’t anymore. b) Consumer consciousness? Consumers have become seriously educated from reading books and magazines – they know what they want which forces bartenders to be at the top of their game. These days it’s hard for bartenders to fake it. What changes would you still like to see in the coming years? It will be great when people stop asking me what it’s like being a woman behind the bar – that will mean it’s no longer a rarity. I’d also like to see an end to the ‘boys club’ style bars that refuse to hire women because they’re pretending it’s 1986 or something, that’s seriously got to change. Women are believed to be nurturing and hospitable by their nature so why, in your opinion, are we not seeing more of them working behind the bar? There are aspects of the bar industry that can be very aggressive, not so much in the US where women behind, managing and owning bars is more commonplace, but in the rest of the world, London in particular – it can be like playing a game of soccer. You’ve got to be a certain kind of woman to be able to take that on and play the game. It takes chutzpah. What is the difference between a good bartender and a good bar owner and has this changed over the years? That’s what my So you want to open your own bar? talk at Tales of the Cocktail this year was about – it was part of a seminar where I was among the bar luminaries reading an imaginary letter to a young bartender. So many people think that making great cocktails is all it takes to own a bar but that’s only 10% of the big picture. I was saying put down your bar spoon and take a business course, do you know what P&L is? Have you ever managed the floor of a busy bar? A lot of people fail because they don’t know these basic things. The seminar was a reality check.
What has been your biggest mistake during your years in the business and more importantly, what did you learn from it? Some of the business partnerships I’ve entered into. It’s easy to get taken advantage of when you’re the talent and you’re dealing with the people with the money. There were certain things I didn’t look into as much as I should, which is why I did the So you want to open your own bar? talk. Knowing what you know now and having put in all the hard work over the years, would you prefer to be starting out now or then? Definitely then, there’s so much competition now. My timing was great, I was the first person to do lots of things like the craft cocktails and the training of particular people; people can come along and do it after, or do it better but I did it first and no-one can take that away from me. Which bars and bartenders should we be looking out for? There are so many to watch out for but off the top of my head I’ll say Thomas Waugh who worked with me at Clover Club and was nominated for Best New Bartender at Tales of the Cocktail this year. Also Sean Kenyon from Denver, another nominee for Best New Bartender at Tales. Caitlin Laman from Trick Dog in San Francisco who has just won Speed Rack US is also phenomenal. As for bars, I love the new bar at the NoMad in New York which just won Best American Restaurant Bar, again at Tales. They’ve spent $6million or something crazy on it, it’s a total game changer. What are your big plans for the next 12 months? I’ve just finished writing my book Craft Cocktail Party about craft cocktails to make at home which will be published next spring – that’s definitely the big thing. Other than that, I’ll be travelling to Scotland and London judging the World Class Global Finals this summer, then on to Hawaii for the Food & Wine Festival in September which I do every year. There’s also my consultancy work on the new Park Hyatt in New York and through the holidays I’ll be focusing on Clover Club, just being present in the bar. That will keep me busy! Follow Julie on Twitter.com@mixtressnyc
Clover Club, 210 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. cloverclubny.com Flat Iron Lounge, 37 West 19th Street, (between 5th and 6th Avenue), Flat Iron District, Manhattan. flatironlounge.com
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Elizaveta Evdokimova, Delicatessen, Moscow Years behind the stick: three and a half What was it about the profession that appealed to you? I actually started my career as a waitress and after a year I decided that I wanted to create something by myself and became a barista. After a few years with coffee I chose alcohol as my next Everest. But only now I understand the main reason why I need to be a bartender: because of the people in our industry. We are all one big family that will be with me forever. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? For me it’s the mixing process and guests’ reaction to my creations. If he or she enjoys my drinks then I’m happy. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? Well it happens with me when my colleagues discuss hot chicks behind the bar! How do you describe your bartending style? Old-fashioned with a dash of kitchen and Russian soul.
Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? We bring beauty to the bar and actually I suppose we are less stressed out. And sometimes as women we bring a certain element of precision. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? The best thing is my weakness – thank God I have my guys who don’t allow me to lift heavy things! And of course, we get a lot of attention from men. And the worst? Sometimes we need to work harder than men just to prove that we warrant being there. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? I don’t think so, girls are girls everywhere – I’ve met a lot of female bartenders and almost all of them have strong personalities and really good taste. What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? I would definitely be a chef. Actually, I’m thinking of having a try at the kitchen right now – it’s so exciting and curious. I adore cooking for people. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Being a bartender is not just about being a beautiful woman behind the bar. It’s about being a good professional. So if you’re ready to work hard and if you want to be part of a huge, crazy family then do it – it’s wonderful!
What was it about the profession that appealed to you? I am a night and people person. Plus I love the direct feedback from my guests. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? Creating special moments for other people. Be it with amazing service, the perfect drink or just by lending them an ear.
Katrin Reitz, former owner at La Dee Da Bar, Bonn Years behind the stick: six
Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? I am reminded every time I’m behind the bar and I am proud of it! Like in any job, I think the differences between males and females should be embraced. Females can be more witty and honest behind the bar, which means we are very good problem solvers. Also, I feel that female, even more than male bartenders, can recommend the perfect cocktail for a person; firstly, because our senses are better, and secondly because we are very good at reading peoples’ innermost desires.
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How do you describe your bartending style? I try every time to find the perfect, subjective cocktail for every guest. Doing so, I create a lot of my cocktails with guests at the bar and involve them in the creation process. I am not as technically advanced as other bartenders and flair tending is not my style at all, but I am a freak about getting the perfect dilution for every drink. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? I can use all my words between 5pm and 2am and be quiet and chilled the rest of the day. And the worst? Bartending is a tough, physical job, where citrus acid ruins my hands and bending for speed rack bottles is bad for my back. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? I absolutely agree with that. In Europe there are a lot less female bartenders than in the USA, hence, guests are not so used to seeing girls behind the bar and have a stronger
Metinee Kongsilev (aka May/ Mayface), White Lyan, London Years behind the stick: eight What was it about the profession that appealed to you? Being a professional bartender drew something from within me. It allowed me to use my creativity and sparked a passion that I never had before, and it also gave me direction. The other thing is the support and love that everyone has for one another, it has given me a sense of belonging and I’m proud to be a part of such a great community. It’s something that I had never experienced before. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? There is something really empowering and exciting about making and talking about drinks to customers and industry peers. Also, the creation of something potentially unique that you came up with yourself, is the added bonus.
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reaction towards them: either by hitting on them or not taking them seriously. In the USA female bartenders are a lot more respected. Having said that, I am working every day on changing German bar guests’ perceptions! What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? I would have become a journalist. In fact, I am just working on combining the two by writing my blog: ashakearoundtheusa.de Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? More than in any other job, you have to believe in yourself behind the bar. Play out your female strength and stay true to your own personality. The rest will come by itself if you have passion for alcoholic beverages. Plus do some yoga – your back will love you for it.
Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? I guess I used to when I did cocktail competitions. The majority of the time I ended up being the only female and when it was my turn to present, the focus would be on me for this reason. I used to feel a lot of pressure because of it, and would think that I was being judged by my male peers. But then Stuart McCluskey, my mentor at the time, would tell me, “everyone is here to support you, not knock you down”. Those words are why I feel as though I’ve succeeded so much over these years. How do you describe your bartending style? I try to keep things simple and approachable. It’s so important to taste every component of the drink. Even at White Lyan, where the style of drinks is more ‘contemporary’, they’re all very simple drinks, but just produced through a different thought process. Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? I don’t think that you bring specific qualities to a bar because of your sex. These qualities are down to the individual’s skills, presence and flair. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? Being presumed by customers and peers that you know nothing because you’re a female, then proving them wrong when they try to challenge you. And the worst? Being presumed in the first place.
Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? Not in particular. I think on a global scale, the world wants to see more and more females in this industry with as much support coming from the men. This should never be a female vs. male industry, instead we should all be proud to stand next to and support one another whatever our sex is.
Dimitra Adonakopoulou, 360 Cocktail Bar, Athens Years behind the stick: eight What was it about the profession that appealed to you? I really don’t know… as long as I can remember I was saying that I would do my best to get a place behind the bar. I have always wanted to mix flavours, experiment with new ideas and create new things. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? What I most enjoy when I serve a customer is the look on their face and the smile that my drinks bring, that’s when I know that they are drinking something that makes them happy. That’s something that can’t be bought and it means so much to me. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? Yes, there are many people that remind me by the way they act or the way they talk to me, usually there are phrases like: “I wanna drink a cocktail by the hands of the best female bartender!”
What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? Veterinary science, I’m a science freak and have a caring nature. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Be yourself, believe in yourself and only you can make sh*t happen.
same privileges as men, the only difference is their body. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? The best thing is that you don’t get to meet women everyday in a bar. In that way the customer has the pleasure to have a unique experience. And the worst? The sexism between women and men and also the fact that the customers don’t always trust the fact that women can and do, do a good job behind the bar. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? From every country I know including Greece it is very hard being a woman behind the bar. You have to do everything to prove your talent and get accepted. What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? I don’t know if I could do anything except being a bartender. I didn’t really choose my job, my job chose me. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Have passion and everything else will come.
How do you describe your bartending style? Hard working, dynamic and serious. Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? I don’t believe that, I think that women have the
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Sian Ferguson, Heads and Tales, Edinburgh Years behind the stick: eight years, eight months What was it about the profession that appealed to you? Every day is different. I get to combine my two loves, alcohol and history, to learn a lot about brands and drinks. The range of people I get to meet on a daily basis cannot be rivalled by any other job I can think of. Also, the hospitality community, especially what I’ve found of the cocktail scene, is an amazing one. No matter where I go, someone knows someone that I know. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? The fun we have – between ourselves, with customers, and being able to make up banging drinks for people and seeing that first wee smile after their first sip. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? Yes. Shaking drinks (especially double shaking) – it’s all about the boobs with some people! Also doing things like carrying up stock and taking out bins – it’s been commented on a few times that it’s a ‘boy’s job’. How do you describe your bartending style? Simple and effective. Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? It may be slightly stereotypical but generally cleanliness. I’ve worked with some messy ladies, but generally I find women to be less scatty behind the bar. Also I find the girls I’ve worked with don’t get as stressed when the bar is busy as some of the guys. However, I do find girls can be a bit more apprehensive when it comes to cutting people off or if something is kicking off in the bar, they’re more likely to take a step back.
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What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? Some of the friendly banter and comments I can get away with in comparison to the guys! And the worst? Whenever someone says to me “you can’t be the manager you’re a girl”, or when you’re just not in the mood for lewd comments and someone says something inappropriate. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? I’ve only ever been in bars within Europe and the US but from what I’ve seen and from what I see of worldwide competitions, females aren’t perceived differently from males. The only thing I would say is that I could probably name more US lady tenders than anywhere else and I think that’s due to Speed Rack in the States (see p. 30) and all the publicity it creates. What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? I did a degree in Marketing and Communication but working in an office during my placement just wasn’t for me. I did work at a football club though and I loved the event side of things so maybe event management or something like that. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Do it. Do it now. Do it quicker! We need more ace ladies in this industry and the community is really fab. You may sometimes have to have thick skin but if you can give as good as you get and if you love people, you really cannot beat it.
Ivy Mix, Clover Club, New York Years behind the stick: 10 What was it about the profession that appealed to you? When I first started bartending it was only beers, shots and highballs and what I really loved about it was the community and social aspects of it. I got to go to work and hang out with my friends who were either regulars, became regulars or were the people who I worked with. Then when I discovered cocktail bartending, I realised that I could combine my art background with my love of bartending (I double majored in Philosophy and Fine Art at university). What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? The bartender is essentially the conductor of the night – change the music or the lights, change the attitude, change whatever you want and you can change an evening. On top of that I get to be creative, as I said before. But mostly, I get to meet a ton of people every night and honestly, I’ve met my best friends in the world that way. It’s unique. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? I suppose so... but I try not to get too caught up in it. I guess I’m reminded of it the most when I get a surprised look or comment like, “wow sweetie! This is a lot of work for a lady like you!” I’m always taken aback then. How do you describe your bartending style? Well, I think there are three parts to this equation, all as important as each other. With my clientele my style is to talk and smile and be open and curious, I like to make people feel at home. Then, how I make my cocktails – I generally start with the base spirit and work from there, I get inspired by taking tasting notes and working on building upon something – I like to draw out that profile, or similarly, I like to take two separate things and try to figure out the bridge that brings them together. Physically behind a bar I like to be as efficient as possible. I frequently think of rhythm to try to keep my pace in check – I used to train horses and I like to put this pacing into my work.
I crave it. It’s not always super evident, but I think it’s there. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? Ha! I don’t know... the best? I think it’s the same being male or female – we get to be the curators of the evening. That’s the greatest. And the worst? I suppose when I get someone who doesn’t think I know how to make a drink. Like a look that says, “I really don’t want anything girly” or “do you even know about whisky?” That drives me crazy. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? You know, that’s a good question. I’ve travelled quite a bit and I think it varies in much the same way as it varies in the US. Are you a cocktail bartender? Trying to be a fivestar/at-the-top-of-the-game lady? I think it’s harder for women in any category when this is the case. What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? I’d most likely be in interior design/furniture making or a philosophy of aesthetics professor. That or I wouldn’t have ever stopped horseback riding and I would still be in Vermont doing that. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Just push through. And take the opportunities that come to you. Take them aggressively but also be aware that being selective is very important. We live in the age of social media and YouTube, so what you do today can be remembered tomorrow or in 12 years. BE CAREFUL and be aware that who you choose to work with reflects upon you. Additionally, don’t be catty – don’t fall into that stereotype. Be gracious and kind.
Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? Women, whether we want children or not – have that motherly gene in them. I see it and I love it and sometimes The Cocktail Lovers - 17
human being as we all are, but yes sometimes. You get guys who don’t let you carry bins, this makes me laugh. Also, when the bar is empty and a guy comes and wants recommendations, even if I’m the first to say “hello” he’ll ask my male colleague. It seems sometimes we are just here to be pretty. How do you describe your bartending style? Creative, unique, with a dash of craziness. Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? I believe every single person is unique and brings something different to the job, but when we have ladies and gents in the same team you get the perfect balance. What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? I don’t know about being female behind the bar, but about being behind the bar: people.
Clotilde Lataille, Hawksmoor Spitalfields, London Years behind the stick: Three and a half What was it about the profession that appealed to you? Creating – playing with flavours, aromas and colours. I’m an artist so the bar is like my second studio. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? Creating something that makes my guests happy, whatever it is. I enjoy surprising people, getting them to try something different. Like art, it is a different way of sharing with others, it’s a way of communicating in my own specific way. When you have a customer who comes to thank you because you made their night, that is priceless. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? I don’t see myself as a female bartender but as a unique
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And the worst? People. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? I don’t have enough experience around the world to have noticed. Men and women are different and get treated differently in the world and working world, it’s a reality. If you are good, you work hard and are passionate, it shouldn’t make a difference. What do you think you would have been doing if you hadn’t got into bar tending? Being a cow girl.
Tess Posthumus, Door 74, Amsterdam Years behind the stick: Four and a half Do you think female bartenders bring specific qualities to the bar? It would probably be our female multi-tasking skills. Also, women tend to have the great ability of calming angry men down before it gets out of control.
What was it about the profession that appealed to you? As a bartender you’re in contact with a lot of different people and your job is to make their night special. Also you are being creative, able to make specific cocktails to suit different peoples’ tastes or to match different courses. A chef gets to create, but because most of the time they are in the kitchen, they don’t get to see the reactions of their guests. As a bartender, you can create on an individual level, and you get to see their reactions. What do you most enjoy about being behind the bar? The positive energy I receive back from my guests. I love to make their night as good as possible and when I see that they are happy, I am happy. Are there times when you are reminded that you are a female bartender rather than simply a bartender? There are still just a few lady bartenders in the Netherlands and I think for some guests it’s refreshing to see a female bartender behind the bar. Sometimes I get reminded of this; I recently had an older couple sitting at my bar and I overheard them talking about girls behind the bar. The man thought it was too hard a job for a girl and the woman disagreed with him. I got involved in the conversation and told the couple that it wasn’t a hard profession as long as you have passion for what you’re doing. Female bartenders can do just as much as male bartenders and I almost got a bit too feminist on them. Not even five minutes later though, I was preparing a drink for the same couple and couldn’t get a new bottle open. I needed to ask my male colleague for help!
What’s the best thing about being a female behind the bar? A real advantage of being a female bartender is when I’m competing in a cocktail competition. Normally there are only one or two other women competing and this immediately makes us more memorable. The same happens when I’m behind the bar, the guests remember me more easily. And the worst? A big whisky brand was hosting a trip to the distillery for a couple of Dutch bartenders. The Brand Ambassador told me that I wasn’t invited because I was a female bartender and the company wanted to focus on the manliness of the brand. Fortunately this is a rarity and there are also times when I get a job because I’m a woman. Do you think female bartenders are perceived differently in different countries? Yes. Unfortunately there are still a lot of countries worldwide where women and men aren’t equally treated. It would be naive to think that this would be different in the drinks profession. I know a couple of places, even in Amsterdam, where they don’t allow women as bartenders because they still believe it’s a male profession. If you hadn’t got into bar tending, what do you think you’d be doing? I’ve finished my bachelors degree in Media Studies and my masters in Sociology. I love every aspect of the hospitality industry so I’d be writing a book on it from a sociological perspective, or I would be working very hard to establish my own empire of restaurants, bars and clubs. Do you have any tips for females thinking about entering the profession? Just do it. Give the profession a try and I’m sure you’ll love it. And if you ever need any advice, don’t hesitate to contact me through tessposthumus.com
How do you describe your bartending style? Door 74 is the bar where I’ve learned bartending on a proper level. The Door is a speakeasy concept bar so my style is classic with a twist.
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WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CREATED A CLASSIC? Introducing the Chivas Masters, challenging the world’s best bartenders To have created a truly classic cocktail is something few bartenders can claim. This, however, is the challenge Chivas gave bartenders around the world with its inaugural cocktail competition, The Chivas Masters. As the name suggests the ultimate winner would be recognised for their knowledge of cocktail heritage, supreme skill in making great drinks and, of course, creativity. Only then could they be judged to be a true master of their craft.
The history Chivas is an international classic brand and an icon of timeless luxury. It has a heritage that stretches back to 1801, an impeccable range of expressions in its portfolio and an ethos that embraces craftsmanship in all things. Moreover throughout its illustrious history it has always been right there at the heart of classic cocktails.
The four ages of the cocktail The Classic Age (1880-1920). The time that saw the arrival of the Martini, Manhattan and Daiquiri. And the time when Harry ‘The Dean’ Johnson, the toast of the cocktail world, included the Morning Glory Fizz in his 1888 Bartenders Manual, with Chivas 12 the star of the show. The Post-War Boom (1945-1960). The world rediscovered luxury and Trader Vic was the world’s most famous bartender. Introducing the Tiki movement with iconic rum cocktails such as the Mai Tai, he also knew his way around Scotch whisky, creating the Starboard Light in 1946. The Disco Years (1975-1990). Often referred to as The Dark Age of cocktails, when drinks lacked craftsmanship, were colourful, sweet and hid the spirits within them. Throughout Chivas retained its timeless quality with the classic whisky cocktail Rob Roy (also known as the Scotch Manhattan). The Age of Revivalism (the present). Bartenders the world over are rediscovering classic cocktails and their heritage, inspiring them to new creations such as the Yuzu Sour. Created in 2013 by Ago Perrone, Director of Mixology at the Connaught Bar in London, it reworks the whisky sour with Chivas 12, yuzu mix and macha tea powder. A classic in the making.
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The challenge The Chivas Masters has been created for bartenders who truly aspire to be masters of their craft. From the regional heats in 13 countries to the Global Final in New York it challenged them to revisit the four ages of the cocktail, be inspired by them and then to reinterpret them for today’s discerning cocktail drinkers.
“Balance of the four cocktail ages, be classic in style, make the experience playful, be honest and show good innovative techniques. Above all be original, be The Master.” Max Warner, Chivas Global Brand Ambassador, on what he was looking for in the winner
The prize Awaiting the overall winner was a unique collaboration. Over the coming months they will work in partnership with Dave Arnold, inventor and co-founder of Booker and Dax, a food science development company and lab dedicated to finding solutions to real world food, beverage and cooking issues. This partnership of craftsmen will result in the creation of a totally new, unique and inspirational drinking concept for the future. It will be revealed at the next Chivas Masters in 2015. And the prize for cocktail lovers everywhere? Bartenders around the world inspired by creations of the past to bring us Chivas classics of the future.
Here’s what happened in the UK For a snapshot of The Chivas Masters global activity just take a look at the United Kingdom. Six regional heats drew competitors from all around the country. They demonstrated exceptional knowledge, heartfelt passion and creativity that took cocktail making to another level – testament to the bartenders themselves and the esteem in which they hold Chivas.
Whisky, Beer and Crisps 70ml Chivas 20ml Kernel IPA Syrup Pinch of smoked sea salt 2 dashes of malt vinegar Method: Stir all ingredients into a crisp packet, re-seal and serve in a frozen beer mug with rocks glass of ice on the side.
At a tightly contested national final Ali Reynolds of Hawksmoor in London emerged supreme. Clearly a man who admired the classics he also had an eye for the contemporary. His stand-out drink, for the Age of Revivalism, inspired by his three favourite things and summed up in its name.
Not surprisingly every bartender impressed but only one could claim the title of the first Chivas Master. That person was Masahiro Urushido, from Saxon + Parole, New York, USA. As Ago Perrone, one of the judges, observed, “The competition required a huge amount of improvisation, which Masahiro took on with great knowledge, outstanding presence and friendly people skills. His cocktail was quite simple, taking the personality of the classic Negroni and with a few touches making it very personal, enhancing the drinking experience”.
Spotlight on the Global Final and the first Chivas Master The time, 15 July 2014. The place, New York City. 13 bartenders, at the top of their game, stepped up to represent their home countries. As well as recreating one of their original regional cocktails, they faced new challenges to test their creativity, style and mixology skills. Amongst these were milk-based cocktail pairing with Momofuku Milk Bar, cocktail pairing with a dish from Momofuku Ssäm Bar, experimenting with carbonation with Dave Arnold and presenting classic drinks at The Dead Rabbit.
To find out more about Chivas activities, join the Chivas Society chivas.com/register
Enjoy Chivas responsibly
The New Pal 40ml Chivas 12 20ml Camomile infused Campari 20ml Dolin blanc Stir and strain over hand carved ice. Garnish with camomile ‘mist’, a fresh chamomile flower and camomile ‘salt’.
A few of my favourite things London born and raised Rebekkah Dooley started flyering for bars aged 15. Twelve years later she is Events, Marketing and PR Manager for Leelex with a portfolio including five venues and Portobello Road Gin. With experience at Milk & Honey and Callooh Callay under her belt, she was part of the team that won the ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu’ award at Tales of the Cocktail 2012. Rebekkah has recently presented at Imbibe Live 2014 and currently specialises in hospitality marketing, menu design and social media management.
James Dean for being so classically and unforgettably beautiful.
Rebel Without a Cause, I once watched it three times in one sitting, and twice in another.
Tea and biscuits, steak and chips, Hawksmoor sticky toffee pudding, home-made mac ‘n’ cheese, Domino’s pizza, bacon sandwiches with ketchup, and avocados. I love avocados.
Roald Dahl for pure escapism, Jon Ronson for the way he puts words together and Roddy Doyle for the stories he tells.
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Views of London. I was born here and my parents before me, so I’d feel a traitor to say anywhere else. Most recently the views of the city from City Social, or from the lift at Duck & Waffle.
Adbusters. They’re a design collective that create satirical social commentary pieces. The menus I’ve designed have been copies of well-known products (the Oyster card, the Pantone book, etc) and that’s something I started doing because of Adbusters. I like clever, funny design that makes you think, especially in advertising. If you can sell something in a way that engages and entertains then you’re on to a winner.
Journey Taxi rides in New York feel fancy to me, and the Eurostar from London to Paris feels like a luxury. Driving through America from state to state for the vast expanses of land. Coming home to London always feels good, no matter how good the holiday. Travelling to New York on my own last year was quite a journey.
Retreat Beer and a cigarette, phone switched off, candle lit bath. Anywhere can be a retreat.
Arsene Wenger, manager at Arsenal Football Club. He’s a historical figure in the making. When I go to the Arsenal games at the Emirates Stadium I spend most of the game watching him. The fans sing the “Arsene give us a wave”, chant and one time he waved at the North Bank where we sit and I got way too excited. My fascination with him is probably a bit weird. There’s a very funny YouTube video of Ray Parlour telling Wenger stories – you should definitely watch it.
Miley Cyrus: “It’s our party we can do what we want”.
Planes. I love to fly. And my iPhone. I act like I need to be on it for work but… I’m just addicted.
The Emirates stadium – home of Arsenal FC, it takes my breath away every time.
Musician Pretentiously: Bob Dylan.
Shop IKEA. You can get a Full English breakfast for 99p. I don’t really do the girly shopping thing, I don’t like the way that the fashion and cosmetic industries rely on making women feel inept. That and I also tend to spend all my money on food and alcohol.
Person Can I say my cat?
Honestly: Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.
Possession Things that relate to memories. Old tickets, handwritten notes, photos, birthday cards. I don’t own anything of real monetary value.
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Looking for a cocktail book that’s more than just a collection of glossy photos and standard recipes? Yolanda Evans meets three ladies who celebrate bar culture and gets them to tell the back stories behind their drink-inspired tales.
How did you come up with the idea for America Walks into a Bar? I was travelling around the United States a lot in the late 1990s and early 2000s (I live in Toronto) and I noticed that American bars often had a connection to history in a way that Canadian bars didn’t. Boston has the Green Dragon, New York has the Fraunces Tavern and the Stonewall Inn, Philadelphia has the City Tavern – these aren’t all housed in the original buildings of course, but, in some ways I think that makes them even more interesting, since they’ve been re-created on account of their historical importance.
CHRISTINE SISMONDO America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops
Why did you feel there was a need to write a book about the bar history of America? Even though individual taverns are celebrated in their own right, they are rarely connected to each other or to the bigger picture. If you line them all up, it seems a little like everything that ever happened in America happened in a bar. The reason I think that’s important is that bartenders are often dismissed as people who don’t play a very important role in society these days. My book argues that, then and now, the bar (and its tender) is an important social
institution where people meet, unwind, socialise, learn, organise and create. Do you think as a woman that you bring a different perspective than men to their books? Yes, I do think that it’s a totally different perspective, since I’m more concerned about the social role of bars and, typically, that’s seen as a female trait. I think that sometimes the cocktail community can get so focused on certain (admittedly important) aspects of the bar, like how to make a great drink, that they forget bars serve other functions – this is where people let loose, fall in love and make new friends. I also think that the fact that a different perspective comes from women being the last segment of society to be legally discriminated against in bars. Men’s only bars persisted into the 1970s. I’ve had men seriously tell me that they don’t see what the problem would be if that were resurrected. “It’s not like it’s racial segregation,” said one bartender to me. That was about five years ago. christinesismondo.com
IN-spire Why did you decide to write Storied Sips? I wanted to write a book about cocktails that would appeal to casual cocktail drinkers, who might not know any of the stories behind their favourite drinks. There are a lot of well-researched books out there on cocktail history, and I appreciate them as a cocktail nerd. But not everyone has the inclination to read 10,000 words about the Martini. So my focus for Storied Sips was on creating a deeply researched book that was also easy to browse through and enjoy even if you only had five minutes for a little escape.
ERICA DUECY Storied Sips
How did you get interested in cocktail history? I’ve been writing about wine and spirits for more than 10 years. During that time, as a Trends Reporter for Nation’s Restaurant News and later as Restaurants and Hotels Editor for Fodor’s Travel, I focused mostly
So your book is called Drinking With Men, why did you decide to go with that title? After a difficult night out, a very kind taxi driver asked me what I’d been up to. My answer was: “I’ve been drinking with men”. He was surprised. And that stuck with me as a title because I understood that being a woman who drinks in the company of men is still regarded as something of an anomaly, even here in New York City. Even here, even now, men outnumber women as bar regulars by a substantial margin.
ROSIE SCHAAP Drinking with Men
Books about drinking are usually written as cautionary tales but your book is very unapologetic and rather a celebration of bar culture. So what made you want to write a memoir about your love affair with bars? It’s exactly that: love. As you point out, many books about drinking are cautionary tales. I knew I had a different kind of story
on covering what was new and notable. But local traditions and foodways (or rather, drinkways) have always interested me. My undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology is probably to blame. So, whenever I’d travel, I’d be asking about traditional cocktails, like the Kir Royal in Burgundy, or the Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, or the Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice. My travels were a major inspiration for the book. Did the book get a good reaction from the cocktail community? The reception has been great. I’ve been asked to speak and do book signings at several bars and restaurants, and have spoken as an expert on panels and at industry events like the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Beyond that, I’ve also started consulting and developing cocktail recipes for spirits brands. The opportunities have been really exciting, and gratifying. ericaduecey.com; Twitter @ericaduecy
to tell about bar culture. I’ve met many of my closest friends in bars. I’ve learned so much about how to treat people with openness and empathy in bars. The time I’ve spent in bars has made me both a better talker and a better listener. Above all, bars are where I’ve found community. And that’s really what my memoir is about. When your book came out, how was it perceived? Did it get a good reaction from the cocktail community? Considering cocktails get nary a mention in the book (if any?), I’d say it’s got a spectacularly good reaction from the community! Gary Regan has been a wonderful and indefatigable cheerleader for the book. And I was touched and thrilled when Dale DeGroff told me how much he enjoyed it. rosieschaap.com All books available from amazon.com
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EMIL SETH ARENG GETS FRESH WITH AN AGE-OLD TRADITION AT REX BAR & GRILL IN NORTH SWEDEN Foraging is intrinsic to our culture in Sweden, it’s something every child grows up doing. And as far as I’m aware, it’s something everyone seems to enjoy. I certainly did. For me it started when I was about three years old. My dad was a forester so he spent all of his time in the woods and for a number of years, I did too. These days I still go foraging for ingredients but now I use them in cocktails at my bar. The summer here works well for this. The season is insanely short (about three months), very bright (it never gets dark) and usually pretty warm, so it’s ideal for picking up a bucket and knife and trampling in the woods. To be honest, foraging for me isn’t just about finding ingredients, it’s a moment of clarity. How often do you get a chance to shut off from the rest of the world? Here everything is totally quiet, stress gets left behind and there’s no thinking about tomorrow – there’s nothing in the world except you and nature – it’s incredibly liberating. Foraging is also about time. You can’t rush the process or underestimate the time it takes to seek out just the right berries, mushrooms, lichens, herbs and trees. And there’s another thing; let’s not forget luck – it takes lots of luck… Finding cloudberries and arctic raspberries in Sweden isn’t easy, which makes it even more rewarding when you
do track them down. Every family in the northern region has their own particular spot where they go to look for these precious berries and it’s a closely guarded secret. You never tell anyone where your spot is – even fathers don’t share it with their sons. When my father leaves the earth he will tell me about his spot, and I will tell it to my son, and so it goes on, from generation to generation. Foraging is something you can do almost all over the world and there is no right or wrong way to do it. A few tips worth bearing in mind are to respect nature, don’t go for weird looking mushrooms – some of the most common things like dandelions and nettles can be very f lavourful. Other than that, my advice is to always carry a knife, a good reference book about foraging, and leave all the stresses of everyday life behind. My favourite things to forage during the summer/ autumn are: Cloudberries: When I find them I use these in infusions and syrups. Birch for infusions and birch sap: For adding smoke to my cocktails. Wild strawberries: I’ll freeze them first and then infuse when needed. Different types of lichen: Which I use to filtrate a cocktail or as a garnish. Spruce shots: For hardcore infusions. Blueberries: I carry these to eat, not to use in a cocktail. Ever! Want to know more? Add ‘Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers’ by Roger Phillips to your basket at amazon.com and check wildfoodschool.co.uk and wild-food.net for details and foraging courses.
Illustration opposite: pezandpencil.com
Two foraged cocktails Foresters Flip
50ml cognac infused with cloudberries
40ml gin infused with arctic raspberries
20ml smoked birch syrup
10ml Swedish Punsch infused with spruce
2 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters
30ml lemon juice
1 whole egg flavoured with sorrel
15ml simple syrup
Method: Dry shake all ingredients to emulsify egg, then shake again over ice. Fine strain into a wine goblet. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
20ml egg white Method: Dry shake all ingredients to emulsify egg, then shake again over ice. Fine strain into a wine goblet.
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TAKE THREE LONDON BARTENDERS AND ONE BOTTLE OF ANGOSTURA® AROMATIC BITTERS… She’s right. Who better to talk about the merits of the Martini or the pleasures of the punches on offer than a bartender whose formative years were spent behind the bar with the Harvey Nichols group, as well as working alongside star bartenders at The Savoy and mixing up classics for celebs at Momo’s and Home House? She certainly knows her stuff about Angostura® aromatic bitters. “They’re possibly the most popular brand of bitters and should be considered a must when stocking a bar of any seriousness,” she says with authority. “They act as a concentrated flavour stimulant that add a nice kick to the mix even though they are only used by the dash. In today’s bar, bitters are essential. They’re essential for me too as they help me to perform well, not just in a bar, but at home in my kitchen. I use them in cooking – for soups, salad dressings, pumpkin and apple pies. They’re not just a flavour, but act as a component which balances tastes in a drink or in the dish”. You heard the lady!
AGNE KRASAUSKAITE Bartender, brand ambassador, bar manager – Agne Krasauskaite has been the lot. These days she can be found meeting and greeting guests in the Lobby and Punch Room bars at the über swanky London Edition hotel where she still mixes and stirs. “As head hostess I’m the first person the guests meet when they come to both bars and I’m the first person to advise them on their drinks,” she adds. “It helps to have my rounded experience”.
MAKE IT AT HOME: Champagne Cocktail (serves 1)
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AGNE’S ANGOSTURA® AROMATIC BITTERS CHOICE: Jasper’s Rum Punch (Revers Planters Punch recipe from 1934) – serves 4 200ml white rum 200ml of Jasper’s secret mix* Fresh cherry garnich to serve Method: Mix ingredients together and store in the fridge until required. When ready to serve, pour into a punch bowl with a large block of ice and garnish with a fresh cherry. *Jasper’s secret mix Juice of 12 limes // 1 1/2 cups of sugar // 35ml Angostura® aromatic bitters // 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
1 white sugar cube 2 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters 1 dash Angostura® orange bitters 75-100ml Champagne
Method: Drop sugar cube into Champagne flute and saturate with the bitters. Top with Champagne. Garnish with lemon peel.
Photography by travis watson
THE LADY WHO PACKS A PUNCH:
THE RUM LOVER: SOPHIE MACKAY
Ask Sophie Mackay what her favourite spirit is and she’s quick to answer, “For me, it will always be rum”, she says with the fondness usually reserved for describing a lover. The affair started even before she came to London from Birmingham and landed a job at specialist rum bar Cotton’s. “I’d always liked rum but it was at Cotton’s where I really got into appreciating the different styles and characteristics of the spirit, going beyond white rums. It’s also where I discovered my favourite, Angostura® 1919.” Now managing the tiny but mighty Casita in East London, she takes time out of her busy schedule to enter competitions, but only those which she believes in: “I did make it through to the national finals in the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge a few years ago and I’ll definitely be putting myself up for the next one when it comes up in 2016 – it’s a great competition and a fantastic product and I’ll keep entering it until I win”, she says defiantly. No surprise then that she has plenty to say on the wonders of Angostura® aromatic bitters. “I make sure I have a bottle at home and in every bar I work in”, she says. “These were the original bitters and although they were originally intended for medicinal purposes, they’re incredibly versatile. Just a few drops can bring out the flavour in any spirit – it’s one of the few products that works across all drinks categories”. Take note.
SOPHIE’S ANGOSTURA® AROMATIC BITTERS CHOICE: Angostura® Manhattan (serves 1) 60ml Angostura® 1919 rum 15ml Cocchi Vermouth de Torino 2 dashes Angostura® orange bitters 3 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters Method: Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Pour into a chilled Cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist or cherry.
You’ve got to be either seriously stressed or a teeny bit schizophrenic to come up with three completely different cocktail menus for three completely different bar concepts. Kate Jackson doesn’t fall into either of those camps. Calm as you like on the surface, she’s the type of person you’d want to have around you in a crisis – it’s easy to see why the Breakfast Group nabbed her to oversee the concepts and menus for its bars. “I’ve been with the group three years and the bars and their different styles have grown organically,” she says cheerfully. “We started with The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town where the mood is all very low-lights and classic cocktails with a twist. Next came The King of Ladies Man which is a bit like a 1970s shag pile with vintage Playboy magazine and disco drinks. Our latest venture, Call Me Mr Lucky opens in a few weeks. It will be like a dive bar in feel, have a tequila-led menu and be very customer-focused.”
THE MISTRESS OF MANY CONCEPTS: KATE JACKSON
One thing it will have in common with the rest of the group (apart from names from the comedy series Cheers) is a bottle of Angostura® aromatic bitters behind the bar. “It’s probably the only ingredient you can find anywhere from a five-star bar to an old-man’s pub”, she says. “There’s a reason for that. You can use them in the simplest of drinks like a pink gin or get really creative. There are some things that when you run out of behind the bar, you can replace with something else. You can’t do that with Angostura® aromatic bitters – the flavour is totally unique.” Just like the bars she looks after. thebreakfastclubcafes.com KATE’S ANGOSTURA® AROMATIC BITTERS CHOICE: 1919 Treacle (serves 1) 50ml Angostura® 1919 rum 3 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters 12.5ml maple syrup Method: Add ingredients to a pint glass or mixing jug. Add ice then stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
The Cocktail Lovers - 29
Speed Rack, Pink Your Drink, Les Femmes du Bar, the Bloom Gin Ladies Competition – four competitions with one thing in common – they’re all aimed at females bartenders
emale-only cocktail competitions, good or bad thing? Discuss. Before you answer, consider this: until a few years ago we wouldn’t have been having this conversation – they didn’t exist. That’s not to say women couldn’t or indeed didn’t, enter competitions. They did, but not in numbers worth speaking about. And while you’d always find one, two at a push, who were prepared to battle it out with the guys it was, still is to a certain extent, an exception rather than anywhere near representative of the number of bad-ass lady tenders out there. Then along came Speed Rack. With its party-like vibe and female-only entry requirement the makingcocktails-against-the-clock contest brought with it an energy, camaraderie and playfulness that set it apart from the rest. Mind you, despite the fun and tag lines about boobs aka ‘the racks’, the rationale behind it was extremely serious. “The idea came after I’d been asked to take part in a series of videos called ‘Shaker Faces’ which were doing the rounds at the time”, explains Ivy Mix one of the most respected names in the business (p. 17). “I was one of the only females involved which got me thinking: wouldn’t it be good to do something for the girls?” One of the many people she mentioned the idea to was fellow bartender Lynnette Morerro. “Lynnette loved the idea. We worked on a format, decided to incorporate a breast cancer charity, then got on the phone to our friends in the drinks industry to raise the money to do it.” That was in 2010 in New York. Four years later and the Speed Rack train stops off in eight cities in the US including Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and New York and, from last year, London. To date, over 300 women have taken part and the initiative has raised over $245,000 in the US for breast cancer charities. That’s pretty hardcore stuff. “At first people thought Speed Rack was anti-men but it’s not,” says Lynnette vehemently. “It’s about elevating and celebrating great female bar tending
30 - The Cocktail Lovers
talent. It gives women the platform to step on and show the world how amazing they are and how good they are at their jobs.” Ylva Binder, owner of Rhuby rhubarb liqueur launched Pink Your Drink a year later. Like Speed Rack, it raises money for and awareness of breast cancer whilst putting female bartenders firmly in the driving seat. ‘I simply feel there is great female talent – while females normally don’t push major campaigns about themselves or enter competitions as frequently as men. I often state their male counterparts are better at advertising themselves, more competitive, while women simply are great at their work and keep perfecting it, without letting anybody else know about it.” But does that warrant competitions purely for women? “There’s definitely a time and a place for femaleonly competitions – I think you need to have a fullyfunctioning reason though,” says Ash Bovey from awardwinning bar Milk Thistle in Bristol. Having entered both mixed and ladies-only comps, she has a balanced view on the subject. “There are plenty of amazing ladies working their magic behind the stick these days, but I don’t think it’s truly reason enough to have a female-only comp in the name of ‘girl power’. If the gents held a ‘men-only’ competition for the hell of it, I’m sure plenty of people would have something to say about it. I believe that if the competition has a valid, relative, charitable reasoning for being gender-specific then that’s entirely reasonable.” Susie Wong from Manchester, another seasoned competition enterer disagrees. “I definitely prefer general competitions because its an equal thing. Everyone who has the same passion should be able to share it at the same time. There are female and male doctors, bankers, chefs, teachers, accountants – what’s the difference?” Not much for those with confidence and perhaps but for newbies, well, you can see why they might not have the cahonas to take on the guys. “We had our first Les Femmes du Bar competition during London Cocktail
Clockwise from top left: The bloom gin ladies competition; pink your drink; speed rack uk 2014; centre: pink your drink; speed rack uk
Week last year – it was purely to help already good female bartenders to grow and gain confidence,” says Camille Vidal (p. 58). It worked. Clotilde Lataille our cover star, not only won Les Femme du Bar, she went on to take the Speed Rack UK crown this year as well. “I really like the idea of female-only competitions,” says Graziella Nieto. from JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai. She’s one of two brilliant females who made it through to the final eight in this year’s prestigious Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition. “I haven’t come across them but I do know that some women won’t enter competitions, not because they’re not good enough but they feel intimidated by what can seem like boy’s club. I think they’d be more likely to put themselves forward in these kind of contests.” That’s one of the reasons why Lucille Carter from Churchill Bar in London entered the new girls only initiative from Bloom Gin. “I decided this year I would start to enter competitions and the fact that this was a ladies-only one was fun. I was also eager to see and meet the other girls out there – it’s a good chance to build a community.” Using a gin created by master distiller Joanne Moore specifically for female palates it saw the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild dip their toes into unchartered territory, with a bit of persuasion from one of its few female members Claudia Carrozzi. “Since joining
the UKBG I’ve participated in and organised many competitions along with the other committee members and I realised that on top of being the only bar lady supporting the committee, I was often the only girl taking part in these fantastic events. I felt we needed something to break the ice, something to show the world that anyone with real passion can do this job by giving them a place to come out and show how well they can battle with their shakers. In every sport there are separate men and women’s teams, why we can’t we do it in the cocktail competition world?” And you’ve got to admit, she does have a point. Interested? Check below for details. Les Femme du Bar facebook.com/groups/ lesfemmesdubar Pink Your Drink rhuby.se Speed Rack facebook.com/SpeedRackUK The Bloom Gin Ladies Competition ukbartendersguild.co.uk
The Cocktail Lovers - 31
THE CRAFT OF:
THE PROFESSIONAL ‘NOSE’ - Nancy Fraley
What does your job entail? What I do might be better described as a ‘ghost blender.’ I work as a maturation, warehousing and blending consultant to distilleries, most of whom are craft distilleries. They hire me to formulate and blend new distilled spirits for their portfolios.
PAST To your knowledge, how far back does the art of ‘nosing’ go and what was the route into the position? This role evolved with the development of the great brandy traditions of Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac in France, that of whisky in Scotland, and rum in the Caribbean, Central and South America. In places like France, where brandy distillation and cellaring has been practiced for some 600 or 700 years, the art of cellar management and blending has had an opportunity to evolve to an extremely sophisticated level. The traditional route to become a Master Blender was to start as an apprentice to a Master. After 10, 20 or even 30 years, perhaps after the retirement or death of the master, the apprentice would step into that position. So it was only after working closely with a Master for many years and learning the well-kept secrets of the trade that someone could do this work effectively. How far back does the profession go for you personally? I came to work in the world of spirits seven years ago when I started out at Germain-Robin Alambic Brandy, although that was far from my first exposure. I have been ‘nosing’ all my life. I tasted my first whiskey at my father’s wedding when I was six years old, and it made a strong and lasting sensory and memory impact upon me. Can anyone become a ‘nose’ and where and how did you hone your skills? No. First of all, one must have an impeccable memory for aromas, and how they develop in a cask. And not only that, but one must also understand how aromas fit together, and how all the acids, esters, aldehydes, higher alcohols, wood notes, etc. will work together in a blend. You also have to know how to create consistency from blend to blend. And beyond the technical side, intuition plays a strong role in creating a quality blend. I’ve found that you can teach someone the technical side of blending easily enough but you can’t teach them how to convey passion and how to be a Master. You are either born with that skill or you aren’t, and if you have it, you can develop that skill to great heights. 32 - The Cocktail Lovers
PRESENT Has the process of ‘nosing’ or master blending changed over the years? Yes, it certainly has. For instance, in Scotland, France and the Caribbean there is more emphasis upon someone in that role having an academic background in chemistry. What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and why do you think this is? Here in the US people often don’t understand the role of the blender, and much less one who consults and blends for many distilleries. Some people think that I’m a sommelier or bartender, and I’m not sure where that impression comes from. Perhaps it is because the traditional role of a blender has been somewhat lost here.
FUTURE What does the future of master blending look like? That might depend upon which side of the Atlantic you are sitting. In the US I think we need to concentrate upon reviving the role of Cellar Master, especially in the craft distilling industry. A lot of the traditions and intricacies of the art have been lost to us due to Prohibition. Also, we don’t have many ‘masters’ with whom apprentices can study in the traditional way. So we have to rely on non-traditional methods of teaching this art. In Europe and other regions where the role of the Master Blender has always been celebrated, I think we’ll continue to see more people coming into it who have a background in enology, fermentation science, food science and chemistry. Perhaps we’ll also see that in the States. Do you think technology will play more of a part in the art of ‘nosing’? Yes, and it already is. Tools such as Gas ChromatographyMass Spectrometry and HPLC are scientific analytic tools that can make a blender better able to do his or her job. Even with all this great technology though, the most sophisticated instrument a blender has is their nose. If someone is thinking about it, how do they go about it? Good luck! Seriously, the best way might be for them to study some aroma chemistry, enology, fermentation and distilling science. However, if they are past college age, then perhaps finding a mentor would be a good way, or finding a job at a distillery. It certainly isn’t easy getting into the industry, but it can be done.
Dare to be
Express yourself with Chambord Because you wear black in the summer even though the magazines say florals are in… Because you eat 2,000 calories 24:7 rather than following the 5:2 pack… Because you prefer your nails au naturel, not gelled like the masses… Because you still enjoy good quality chocolate when they say that sugar is bad for you… Because you laugh when everyone seems too serious… Why? Because No Reason Do what you want because you enjoy it, not because you want to be the same as everyone else. Express your individuality in everything from the clothes you wear to the food you eat and in your choice of drinks.
When everyone else orders a Dry Martini revel in the taste of a…
When everyone else orders wine revel in the taste of a…
When everyone else orders Champagne revel in the taste of a…
125ml dry white wine
100ml pineapple juice
Method: Shake ingredients vigorously over ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
Method: Pour dry white wine into a large wine glass filled with ice. Add Chambord and then top with soda to taste.
Method: Add Champagne to a flute glass and top with Chambord – the amount depends on your taste preference. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.
Chambord is crafted from the world’s finest blend of raspberries, blackberries, Madagascar vanilla, Moroccan citrus peel, honey and XO Cognac to create a delicious natural black raspberry liqueur. Explore your expression at: Facebook: Facebook.com/ChambordUK Twitter: @Chambordchannel Chambord drinkers know when to conform: always sip responsibly ©2014 Chambord. Chambord is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.
Licor 43 is a Spanish national treasure. A unique golden liqueur with secrets aplenty just waiting to be discovered. And it has an enticingly long list of serves to match; simple, sexy or seasonal, all ready for you to savour. Cocktail cabinet, meet your new best friend – Licor 43.
43 is the magic number
Mirabelis, marvellous, miracle When the Romans conquered the Mediterranean city of Quart over 2200 years ago they found a lot of exotic liqueurs but one captivated them so much they called it ‘Mirabelis’, meaning ‘Marvellous’ or ‘Miracle’. Keeping it in the family Having been passed down through countless generations it was Diego Zamora and his family that first produced the recipe under the name Licor 43 early in the 20th century. And his descendants are still producing it today.
Simple... Ginger 43
Originally known in Spain as Cuarenta Y Tres, literally meaning ‘43’, the number is the impressive sum total of natural ingredients, including fruits and herbs from around the Mediterranean basin, that make up the secret Licor 43 formula. Gold! It’s one thing having 43 ingredients, it’s something more knowing how to carefully macerate, blend and rest them. The result is the distinctive golden glow that evokes the Mediterranean sun of Licor 43’s Spanish home.
If Licor 43 had a middle name it would be ‘versatility’. It enjoys the company of rum, tequila and Scotch, gets along with fruit juices, blends well with mixers, likes coffee, cream and milk, and loves to party with a little Cava. First though, pour yourself a shot (chilled or room temperature) to savour its enticing aroma, taste and texture. Introductions over, it’s time to really get to know Licor 43. It’ll be the start of a beautiful friendship. Licor 43 is available to buy at Harrods and ASDA, and to experience at Brown’s and Grand Union. licor43.com
Sexy... Anejo Manhattan
Seasonal... Spanish Water
As easy to make as it is to enjoy – call it in the bar or mix it at home.
Smooth and elegant, the perfect way to round off the evening.
Get the summer party started with a little refreshing luxury.
50ml Licor 43
25ml Licor 43
25ml Licor 43
75ml ginger ale
50ml Patron Añejo
75ml fresh orange juice
10ml Sweet Vermouth
Fill a large balloon glass with chunky ice cubes. Add the ginger ale followed by the Licor 43 and stir gently.
Dash Orange Bitters Dash Bob’s Chocolate Bitters Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
Enjoy Licor 43 responsibly
Fill a glass with crushed ice. Add the Licor 43, fresh orange juice and top up with Cava. Stir gently.
Drink to your health The first in a new series by Claire Smith and Georgia van Tiel
Very rarely do the words ‘cocktails’ and ‘healthy’ appear together, unless of course you’re asking your bartender for a ‘healthy pour’. The word ‘healthy’ brings to mind outdoorsy activities, an abundance of fruit and vegetables and possibly some lunges. On the other hand, the word ‘cocktail’ generally suggests nocturnal libations that may contain one of your ‘five a day’ if you consider agave as a vegetable or beer as a food group. If you’re reading this feeling that the world of health and wellness is anathema to you because you’re an ardent Cocktail Lover, you’re not alone. So, hello from Drink, Eat, Live! We’ve created a programme devoted to people just like YOU. People who love to drink, enjoy food and fundamentally, live life to its fullest and hopefully lengthiest. This is not a diet club (we love lasagne too much) and equally we’re not going to ask you to make any radical life changes. We’ll be here every quarter with top tips and easy fixes in order to make health and wellness accessible and relevant to you, the Lover of Cocktails. So, if you’ve got a hangover and want to know why reaching for that morning OJ is a mistake, or want to find out more about simple syrup alternatives, or whether there is gluten lurking in your vodka, we’re your go-to gals. To kick off, here are our top five suggestions for easy ways to start feeling a little healthier NOW! We’ll see you next quarter, when we hope you’ll be feeling even more fabulous.
Five Rules to Drink, Eat and Live by: 1. Your mum was right; breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. Regardless of when you get out of bed, eat within one hour of waking up. After this, your metabolism slows and the next meal you have will be stored by the body rather than being used for an energy source. Who knew an egg muffin could prevent a muffin top! (McMuffin does not apply.) 2. In a world where popping pills has become the norm, here at Drink, Eat, Live we recommend food as your daily medicine but we do also advocate including a good quality probiotic in your diet. Try to find one that is plant based, vegan, organic and aimed at healthy digestion. 3. Sorry honey, sugar ain’t your friend. Today’s breakfast foods have become a minefield for hidden sugars and often what you think is healthy can be loaded with added and natural sugars. Try to either make your own cereal using organic oats, nuts, seeds, chia and protein powder, or look for cereals that have much of the above and contain less than 4g per serving of sugar. 4. Kick off your morning (or whenever you awake) with a glass of fresh lemon juice and warm water. Imagine it as Lemon Drop without the sugar or the vodka. Feel smug as your liver gets a kick start and gets to work and you can go back to bed for a little rest. 5. Eye your morning OJ with suspicion. A glass will deplete your immune system for 48 hours, contains almost as much sugar as a can of Red Bull and puts a hefty stress on your system as 100% fruit sugars (fructose) are metabolised via your liver. Try cutting your daily glass with 50% water, or drink sparingly (particularly if you’re starting to feel under the weather).
About Drink, Eat, Live: The Drink, Eat, Live programme is underpinned by a desire to create awareness and self-awareness through education. After all, knowledge is power, and this empowerment is further fortified with a combination of nutritional, psychological and lifestyle strategies. The Drink, Eat, Live programme is not based on a ‘feast or famine’ mentality. We don’t endorse binge or heavy drinking and we recognise that abstinence is often unfeasible for those whose careers depend on the promotion or frequent use of alcohol.
About Claire and Georgia Claire Smith is Head of Spirit Creation at Belvedere Vodka and has been working with alcohol in its various forms for over 15 years. Committed to discovering new ways to drink ‘better’, Claire has developed a range of sugar-free and 100% fresh fruit flavoured vodkas for Belvedere, as well as pioneered the Drink, Eat, Live approach towards responsible drinking ‘in action’. Georgia van Tiel has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years. Her company, FIX works to promote health and wellness in kids, youth and adults. FIX designs, implements and executes fitness, nutrition and wellness programmes to individuals, community groups, schools, local communities and councils. Together with Claire, FIX has worked to bridge the gap between the challenging lifestyle of bartenders and hospitality/industry folk and those wishing to live a clean and healthy life. Together Georgia and Claire believe there is a way to work in the industry and/or enjoy your drinks whilst also being the best you can be in terms of health and wellness. Our dietary advice is underwritten by: Janine Fahri, a leading and highly accredited nutrition and lifestyle expert with BSc (Hons) degrees in both Nutritional Therapy and Psychology. She is Founder of NutriLife Clinic in Marylebone. Janine has worked to set national industry standards and she is frequently quoted in the media as an authority in her field. Get in touch! Claire & Georgia x email@example.com @belvedereclaire firstname.lastname@example.org fix.com nutrillifeclinic.com
The Cocktail Lovers - 35
full bodied? 36 - The Cocktail Lovers
says Mr G
Skinny latte? Zero fat Greek yogurt? Low-calorie bolognese? Yum, yum, ain’t life grand? There’s nothing wrong with a healthy diet. Actually it’s a very good idea and one that I embrace and advocate. I aim for my five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, not always successfully, but I aim for them. I try to drink plenty of water instead of consuming countless coffees. And a big fat chocolate dessert is something that I can happily leave alone. Moreover, I do actually run several days a week and I’m no stranger to the gym. Occasionally though I like to indulge. It’s those cheats and shortcuts that upset me. If you’re going to have that latte, have that latte. Don’t just go for the thin, weedy, watery, apologetic, I-won’t-hurt-you, latte. And the same goes for cocktails. When I’m at home, as I said, I go for a generally healthy kind of diet, which I complement with an occasionally indulgent meal. And if I want a cocktail (it has been known) I have a cocktail. Moreover, when I’m out and about, well, I’m really out and about. Life? Live it large. When I order a cocktail I want it big. I’m not talking size of glass, I’m talking big on everything that truly makes a great cocktail sublime and one of life’s most satisfying experiences. Full of flavour from big spirits, big liqueurs, big syrups, big everything. I want taste, experience and effect. And if that means a few big calories, then so, be, it. Tomorrow I’ll go light on the pasta or do an extra thousand metres on my morning run.
Illustration by nick schon
A good lifestyle, like a good cocktail, is about balance. Knowing when to indulge and when to hold back, not about flimsy half-way measures. A cocktail with a little less sugar, a little less fat and a little less whatever? The thought just makes me feel sad. And when was a cocktail supposed to make you feel sad? Whether it’s a Martini, sour, highball, flip, punch, shot, toddy or something with a bit of Champagne loveliness I want the real McCoy. I want richness, cream, fruit, sugar, salt, fat-wash, syrup, foam, liqueurs, more syrups, more liqueurs and more of everything in general. I want it all. And I want it now. Not in the same glass, at the same time, obviously, but I want it. What I don’t want is a health warning and small print about calories and fat content. When I’m in a bar the only print I need is the menu. And the only warning I’ll listen to is the voice of that little angel that sits on my shoulder and advises me against one last night cap. Cocktails? Thank you, I’ll go large or I’ll go home.
skinny says Ms S Er, hello! I’m a woman, I’m obsessed with diets. Whether I actually adhere to the call of the cal is by-the-by, but trust me, I do know the difference between an apple and a cream cake. The same can be said about the contents of my glass. I’m very much aware that one all-singing, all-dancing cocktail, although very pretty to look at and absolutely scrummy to taste, can be the equivalent of a big slab of chocolate in terms of sugar and calorie content. And while I’m unlikely to munch my way through more than one choccy bar in a sitting (well, not in company at any rate), I can indulge in three, sometimes more, cocktails of an evening no problem. Bam! That’s around 600+ calories even before the munchies have set in. That’s not to say I’m planning to go cold turkey on the cocktail front any time soon – no sir. However, I do want to be more responsible about my drinking. And anything I can do to make the cocktails I succumb to ‘better’ for me is very much appreciated, both by my waistline and my overall health. Taking a leaf out of the Drink, Eat, Live book (p. 35) is one way to have your cocktails and drink them as it were. Choosing from the ‘Skinny’ section of the drinks menu is another. Here’s where bar chains come into their own. Groups like Be At One and Dirty Martini make a feature of the dedicated low-cal cocktails on their lists. Some, like Dirty Martini and Drake & Morgan, go one step further by giving an approximate calorie count for their slimline drinks. Naff? Possibly. Appealing to guilty girlies? Definitely. But who cares? When you’re ‘fessing up to your daily consumption on your MyFitnessPal app (myfitnesspal.com), it helps to know what you’re dealing with. But it’s not just about the calories. It’s also about making healthier choices. I, for one am keeping a beady eye on the amount of sugar creeping into my drinks. Syrups and liqueurs don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are, it’s those diet sodas and slimline tonics that mess with your mind. What they lack in calories they make up for in artificial sweeteners which are just as bad for your body as the real deal. Plus, and here’s the rub, people far cleverer than me claim that alcohol mixed with diet soda is reputed to get you drunker faster. Now that may sound appealing if you’re an irresponsible teen, but when you’re a grown-up, it ain’t particularly clever. Yes, I agree with Mr G that life’s too short to obsess about calories, but it can last a little longer if you care about your health. #justsayin’
The Cocktail Lovers - 37
From cocktails al fresco to the finest crystal to impress your guests, here’s our pick of ten top cocktail glasses for Martini o’clock. Chin, chin!
FOR A SHOT OF COLOUR:
FOR COOL CUSTOMERS:
How fabulous are these jewel-coloured glasses? Match them to your brightest guests. Set of six cut crystal Birds of Paradise Cocktail glasses, £215, Gurasu at LuxDeco, luxdeco.com
Not only are they virtually indestructible, these stainless steel vessels keep your Martinis cooler for longer – result! Set of two stainless steel Martini glasses, $19.95, homewetbar.com
FOR MAKING A STATEMENT: One part quirky, two parts elegant, this glass isn’t a gimmick, the outer case also doubles up as a chiller for your drink. Set of two Inside Out Martini glasses, £38, junodesignshop.com
FOR HIGH ROLLERS: One day… Mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal Game Martini glass, £115 each, asprey.com
38 - The Cocktail Lovers
FOR SWEDISH STYLE: Affordable and desirable here’s a set of glasses that will add zing to your cabinet. Set of four hand-blown Martini glasses set, £27, Sagaform. stylishliving.co.uk
IN-dulge FOR TRANSITIONING FROM BAR TO DINNER TABLE: Save time washing separate Martini and wine glasses with this natty design that cleverly combines both. Vino-tini, $17.99 asobubottle.com
FOR COCKTAILS ON THE GO: Picnics, barbies, open-air concerts, festivals – no need for styrofoam beakers, pack these instead. Set of 10 Pink Plastic Martini glasses, £5.99, partypieces.co.uk
FOR SHOWSTOPPING CENTREPIECES: This bad boy holds a whopping 5.6 litres so either reserve it for when you’re entertaining a thirsty crowd, or use as a focal point (we advise the latter). Maxa Giant Cocktail glass, £75, LSA at John Lewis, johnlewis.com
FOR APPRECIATING AROMA: FOR CLASS ACTS: Keep these in the cabinet for ‘best’ and give them an airing when you want to impress.
Taste the difference a correctly shaped glass can make to your Martini with this specialist handmade glass.
Set of two Lismore Diamond Martini glasses, £100, waterford.co.uk
Crystal Vesta Martini glass, £170, William Yeoward at Amara, amara.com The Cocktail Lovers - 39
Georgie Bell Luxury Malts Ambassador – Mortlach Why this is special: “It shows my peers in Edinburgh who inspired me to go forward in my career.” What makes my job unique is… “I’m breaking stereotypes by being the first female Global Malts Ambassador.” Calli cross over dress, £55, AKA. thisisaka.com
IN-style GET THE DRINKS IN WITH OUR
LEADING LADIES TRUST US, THESE STYLISH LADIES KNOW THEIR DRINKS. FROM BRAND AMBASSADORS AND BARTENDERS TO BROADCASTERS AND BEER EXPERTS, GIVE A WARM WELCOME TO LONDON’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN THE DRINKS INDUSTRY AS THEY SHARE THE POSSESSIONS THAT MEAN THE MOST TO THEM IN THEIR WORK.
Andrea Montague Diageo UK Whisky Ambassador Why this is special to me: “Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology was the first cocktail book I read all the way through, it inspired me to take bartending seriously as a career. By the time I’d finished it, I couldn’t wait to re-read it.” What makes my job unique is… “I get to look after an amazing portfolio with blended, single malt and American whiskey, so I have a lot of beautiful liquid to play with.” Dress, Andrea’s own.
The Cocktail Lovers - 41
Esther Medina Cuesta Drinks consultant Why this is special to me: “My parents bought me this shaker, it means a lot as it showed their acceptance of my career.” What makes my job unique is… “I was a teacher before becoming a bartender, so I think I have a natural way of teaching people.” Lace top with patent belt, £22, Joseph Ribkoff. Stockist inquiries: 0800 294 3373
42 - The Cocktail Lovers
Brand Manager, Mangrove
Managing Director, Sip Or Mix
Bacardi UK Brand Ambassador
Bacardi UK On-Trade Brand Ambassador
Why this is special to me: “I’d be lost in central London without Googlemaps, so my phone charger is vital. Ditto my Cafe Boheme discount card, it’s where you’ll find me if I’m not in the office.” What makes my job unique is… “I’m one of the only brand managers who has been on both sides of the bar.” Jersey Petra top with tie-front collar, £69.95, The Shirt Company. theshirtcompany.com
Why this is special: “If it wasn’t for absinthe I wouldn’t be running my own business, no-one else was doing what needed to be done in this category.” What makes my job unique is… “I’m educating people about a spirit they know very little about – I find that very rewarding.” Chiffon and wool jersey top, £225, Nicole Farhi. nicolefarhi.com
Why this is special: “My original copy of La Ley Mojado was given to me by my first boss – he was the reason I took the job.” What makes my job unique is… “It takes me to places I wouldn’t otherwise get to.” Top: Shervene’s own. Pictured above with Metinee wearing Bardot Bodycon Midi Dress, £42, Stylistpick. stylistpick.com
Why this is special: “I won my Parisian shaker for making it through to the Three Most Promising in the Bacardi Legacy Competition 2011. That day completely changed my life.” What makes my job unique is… “The genuine lifelong friendships I’ve made along the journey.” Foxy Lady 50s Wiggle Dress, £130, 20thcenturyfoxy. 20thcenturyfoxy.com
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Spirits Specialist, Distillnation
International Brand Ambassador/UK Brand Manager, Eldorado Rum
Food and drinks broadcaster/journalist
General Manager, Callooh Callay
Why this is special to me: “These bottles show the variety of spirits and individuality of the makers I represent.” What makes my job unique is… “It gives me the opportunity to share that with both the trade and consumer.” 1950s Wrap Circle Dress, £125, 20th Century Foxy. 20thcenturyfoxy.com
Why this is special: “This montage features all of the people who shaped and inspired me while I was living and working in Edinburgh.” What makes my job unique is… “I work for a small company and my products are like my babies.” Silk Katlynn top with draped pocket, £109, Fazane Malik. fazanemalik.co.uk
Why this is special to me: “Nothing represents what I do more than my Oxford Companion To Wine – I take it with me everywhere, even on holiday.” What makes my job unique is… “I can be writing in a room on my own for days, then in a studio with Brian May and the Spice Girls the next – it’s never boring.” Cotton buttoned blouse, £125, Nicole Farhi. nicolefarhi.com
Why this is special to me: “My Road House bar blade has been with me since I started taking bar tending seriously – it’s my my most treasured possession – it’s like my child.” What makes my job unique is… “The fabulous people I meet and the many amazing opportunities my job brings me – I’m eternally grateful.” Lace sequinned Kyah top, £89, Fazane Malik. fazanemalik.co.uk
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Melissa Cole Beer writer/sommALEier Why this is special to me: “Stemmed glassware and great beer in 330ml bottles has revolutionised the way people think about beer in a white tablecloth environment.” What makes my job unique… “No-one else is doing food and beer matching to my level and I’m the only woman doing it.” Shirt, Melissa’s own.
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St. Germain Global Brand Ambassador
Spirits Buyer, Waitrose
Why this is special to me: “I couldn’t do my job without this bag, it contains all my kit and travels everywhere with me.” What makes my job unique is… “I can be training in a five-star hotel one day, then in a local pub the next – I love the variety.” 3/4 sleeve black and white print jacket, £275, Joseph Ribkoff. Stockist inquiries: 0800 294 3373
Why this is special: “The beauty of fresh flowers epitomises the elegance and spirit of St. Germain.” What makes my job unique is… “I get to bring people together with good service and quality drinks.” Zip-backed top, £25, M&S Collection. marksandspencer.com; black and beige polka dot layered skirt, £22, Izabel. izabel.com
Why this is special to me: “My notebook is always with me, for writing down my thoughts, drawing sketches and making lists.” What makes my job unique is… “Bringing inspiration to customers to enjoy and experience spirits to make cocktails and entertain at home.” 1950s Cowl Neck Dress, £99, 20th Century Foxy. 20thcenturyfoxy.com
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Cover shot: Clotilde Lataille Bartender, Hawksmoor, Spitalfields
Photography by Johnnie Pakington Stylist’s assistant: Beth Redfern Photographed at Plough Yard Studios
Why this is special to me: “My bowler hat has become my trademark and the glass is a connection of my art and bar tending.” What makes my job unique is… “I get to put my creativity in a glass.” Gathered shoulder midi dress, £38, Stylistpick. stylistpick.com
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HEAD IN THE CLOUDS * L O R E N A VA S Q U E Z *
It’s not just the ageing above the clouds in a specially made solera system or the rich virgin honey that gives Zacapa Rum its exceptional taste – its Master Blender is pretty special too. Lorena Vasquez is one of only two female Master Blenders in the industry and don’t let her diminutive size fool you, she’s got a huge personality with big ideas for the brand to match. I’ve never thought about it before but I’ve been surrounded by rum all my life I was brought up in a sugar cane field as my father was the director of a hospital set on a sugar mill. The smell of sugar cane is a big part of my childhood – it’s like it was my destiny. I never set out to work in drinks I was drawn to it. After I finished my degree – first in chemistry, then food technology and business administration, I really wanted to do something where I could combine all the senses. Originally I was drawn
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to working with perfume as I’ve always been interested in flavours and aromas but I ended up working in beer. It was a man that brought me to Guatemala I’m from Nicaragua and would never have thought of moving to Guatemala if I hadn’t met him. The marriage only lasted seven years but my relationship with Zacapa has proved to be the real love of my life – we’ve been together for 29 years. When I joined Zacapa I was the only woman working in the distillery Back then people didn’t understand the concept of sipping rum, they didn’t consider it to be a premium spirit. So I changed my strategy. Instead of telling them what was in the glass before they tasted, I got them to taste first, then I’d tell them it was rum. It worked, they really appreciated the quality of Zacapa as they had no misconceptions. These days everyone is trying to do a super-premium rum.
Ageing Zacapa above the clouds isn’t a gimmick, it really does improve the taste I proved that by showcasing it aged in the lowlands and aged above the clouds – everyone agreed, that ageing in the ‘house above the clouds’ added something special – it allows the rum to age at just the right pace.
My relationship with Zacapa has been the real love of my life – we’ve been together for 29 years I really enjoy the creativity that comes with blending There’s a little bit of madness in the research side of things that I like. In simple terms being a Master Blender is like being a chef You adjust the balance until the taste is right. I can teach my team a lot but I can’t give them a nosing vocabulary
Do hormones and PMT play an important role in tasting? Yes, definitely. When it’s a woman’s time of the month her senses go down so you have to take that into consideration. Obviously, I have a feminine touch But I’m not trying to purposely make Zacapa appeal to female drinkers. Mind you, I like it when it does… I would love to make a Zacapa fragrance I’d incorporate the sweetness, woody and citric notes from the rum, which would work really well in a scent. It’s something I’d like to do for my friends. Zacapa Rums are like men: 23 is a man in his twenties or thirties. He’s friendly, easy-going and open. XO is a gentleman in his forties or fifties. He’s elegant, a bit more complex, more mature, with more background. Limitada is ageless. He’s a bit cheeky, has more life and a sparkling personality. Find out more at zacaparum.com
That’s something that comes from personal experience, it’s built up over the years. Is my nose insured? No you can’t do that in Guatemala but you know, J-Lo has her bottom insured, so I really think I should! Both the Quality Controller and Blender on my team are women I prefer working with women, generally they have more patience, good taste and a lot of skill. It’s very important to consider emotional levels when you’re tasting If there’s a lot going on in your brain and heart, it can be very difficult to concentrate.
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FOXY LADIES Meet LeeAnn Maxwell and Carrie King, creators of Vixen Vodka – created by women for women
ow and when did the idea for Vixen Vodka come about? Vixen Vodka was conceived on a girls trip where maybe one too many cocktails could’ve been consumed and we thought we could do it better! Why did you think there was a need for Vixen Vodka? While drinking, a conversation ensued about why we drink the brands we drink, and how those brands target us as women. We realised that they didn’t and that there wasn’t a brand out there that spoke to us in a language that was not condescending or treated us as arm candy or sex objects. How does Vixen differ from the many vodkas on the market? Our language separates us from the pack. We strive to inspire women to be confident, not just in their approach to cocktails, but in all areas of their lives. We talk to women in a way that celebrates who they are at this particular moment in their lives, not 10 pounds from now, not shiny hair from now, not skinny jeans from now. Oh yeah, and the vodka is delicious too! What unique qualities do women bring to the taste and appreciation of vodka? A woman has more taste buds than a man. Our palate is much more discerning. We tailored Vixen to appeal specifically to a woman’s taste profile. We knew that women liked to drink, but were put off by the after burn of most vodkas on the market today. Vixen does not have that after burn as it is formulated from GMO-free sweet corn which gives it a very smooth finish, very creamy, with slight vanilla notes. Did you come up against much opposition when launching the product? We were told we’d never make it. We were told that it was a male dominated industry that would eat us up and spit us out. We ignored the nay-sayers because we knew we were building a brand, a brand that just happened to be a damn good vodka, but a brand first and foremost.
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Are you alienating men by promoting your vodka as a vodka by women, for women? We love men. And men love Vixen. So we’re not ignoring, and we certainly hope we’re not alienating them. However, we knew that women were an ignored segment of the drinking population and that the ‘suits’ in the industry just assumed we’d drink what our ‘men’ drank. We’ve found that men love buying a bottle of Vixen for the vixen in their lives, and then those same men are won over by our taste. What qualities did you each bring to the business? Carrie and I came to be entrepreneurs through our years in corporate America; Carrie was in the marketing segment, I was in the financial industry. We’ve both found that our years in corporate boardrooms and on sales forces prepared us for the ups and downs of owning a business. We believe our varied experiences laid the foundation for starting and growing our own empire. Has it helped or hindered being women in the process of getting your product to market? Not just being women, but also having no experience in the spirits industry, definitely helped propel Vixen from bench to shelf in about two years. We didn’t realise that it usually takes brands much, much longer than that. We kept plugging along because we didn’t know not to. We turned every obstacle into an opportunity. Have you had to modify any aspects of the business/ product along the way? We’ve not modified our mission statement one iota since we started. We’ve not changed the vodka itself since the day we formulated it. We knew what we wanted to be and we’ve taken actionable steps to get there. Having said that, we’ve modified our business plan almost every month. We learn something new every day and take everything we learn and pivot when we need to.
Approximately how many attempts did it take before you got the taste you were both happy with? We knew what our flavour profile was, and we knew that we wanted the vodka to be made from a gluten-free base. We thought that base was going to be sweet potatoes. But once we tasted a sweet potato base formula, we decided it was too heavy. We started playing around with corn at our distillery until we perfected the formula that we own (it’s in our safety deposit box!).
has great ideas. But most people come home and get back to work, school, husbands, kids. We took that idea, took action and never took no for an answer. It’s quite gratifying seeing our vodka on a retailer’s shelf or on a restaurant’s back bar and knowing that once it was just all in our heads. Which woman, alive or dead, would you most like to drink Vixen Vodka with and why? LeeAnn – I would most like to have a Cosmo with Sara Blakely. She took a crazy idea and built it into the Spanx empire.
The vixens: with their vodka: Le-ann (left) and carrie
What have you learned about each other since working on Vixen? Carrie and I were friends that met at the gym. We didn’t know each other professionally nor did we know each other’s work styles. But over these past few years, we’ve found that we complement each other perfectly. We attack problem solving completely differently, but inevitably, we come to the same conclusion. If we don’t, we pause, or marinate as we like to say, and come back to it when we have done more research. If we don’t agree on something, we don’t do it. What have you each learned about yourselves? We created Vixen at different points in our lives. I was 50, newly divorced and an empty nester. Carrie was in her 30s, ensconced in corporate America and loving it. I think taking the leap has had a profound effect on each of us and made us realise that if you have a dream, you can achieve it once you put action behind that dream.
I think we’d have a lot in common. Carrie – I would most like to have a Martini with Condoleezza Rice after we play a round of golf in Augusta. I admire her for so many reasons; she’s groundbreaking in so many areas, both professionally and personally. Three words to define the company. Bold. Disruptive. Fun. And three words to define the vodka. Delicious. Fun.
Any plans to launch the product outside the US? Absolutely, we’re just taking it one state, one territory, one country at a time.
To find out more and to order, visit vixenvodka.com
Which elements of the business are you each proudest of and why? We are very proud of the fact that we took a spark of an idea and a damn good name and took it to market. Everybody goes on beach trips and everybody
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WHAT MAKES WHITLEY NEILL GIN UNIQUE? It’s not just the care and attention that goes into this lovingly created small batched gin. Nor is it purely about the eight generations of gin-making expertise that came together for its inception. It’s more than the sleek bottle design and the cabinet-full of awards – what makes Whitley Neill Gin unique is its creator Johnny Neill’s taste for adventure. “I’d become intrigued by Africa over the years, mainly due to the evocative tales told to me by my wife who is from Africa,” says Johnny Neill. “She spoke fondly of the baobab tree which is known as the tree of life, so I chose this as the heart of Whitley Neill Gin.”
THE BAOBAB TREE THE FACTS
• A single tree can hold up to 4,500 litres of water
• The baobab thrives in areas of drought and can live for up to 3,000 years
IA C ASS BARK
• It’s fruit contains more than six times the vitamin C of an orange
• Baobabs are also known as upside down trees because their branches resemble roots – see it on the Whitley Neill bottle
CO RIA N
E ED S RS
E IN NT
MO N LE
Win two tickets to Eden Project’s Baobab Week featuring Whitley Neill Gin tasting sessions, botanical masterclasses and a host of cocktail events. The VIP prize includes two night’s accommodation with breakfast at the luxury Trenython Manor hotel and spa in Cornwall and first class train travel to St. Austell from anywhere within the First Great Western rail network. To enter, tell us what makes Whitley Neill Gin unique. Send your answer to email@example.com with ‘I love WNG’ in the subject header.
Win a VIP trip to Eden Project’s Baobab Week with Whitley Neill Gin
The heart of Whitley Neill gin The pulp and seeds from the baobab gives Whitley Neill its pronounced citrus taste and a hint of exoticism that sets it apart from the rest
Closing date: 8th September 2014. Winner will be notified by email on 10th September 2014. Prize must be taken 24th and 25th September 2014. Baobab Week at the Eden Project runs 22nd to 28th September. For details see edenproject.com.
Cool down with a Whitley Neill Gin & Tonic 2 shots of Whitley Neill Gin Dash of Peychaud’s bitters (optional) Premium tonic water Build ingredients over ice in a rocks or highball glass. Garnish with three orange wedges.
D.I.Y. cocktail ingredients: Watermelon syrup If anyone knows the formula for making tasty cocktail ingredients to add pizzazz to your drinks at home or behind the bar it’s Andy Campana. The former chemistry student from Oxford University has been mixing up his own cordials, liqueurs and bitters at his bar The Loft in Clapham for over twelve years. “If we can make ingredients ourselves that taste better than those we can buy, then we make them, even if it costs more and is much harder work,” he says. “It’s what we are best known for within the drinks industry and one of the reasons we have won awards.” In the first in a new series on D.I.Y. cocktail ingredients he shows us how to put those juicy watermelons to good use. I remember going to Eclipse bar around 12 years ago, and everyone was drinking Watermelon Martinis, so I thought I would try one. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I found it to be, well, too watery.
Illustration by becky roberts
Now a Watermelon Martini is just vodka, watermelon and sugar syrup. Sugar syrup is made with water and sugar. So you are effectively adding more water to the watermelon. So I thought, why not just add sugar to watermelon juice to get a more intense watermelon taste? It’s really easy to make, and is great for summer drinks parties, because it’s incredibly versatile. It’s lovely with vodka, gin, rum, tequila and cognac, and also with pineapple, orange, apple, cranberry and pomegranate juices. It even goes well in a white wine spritzer, or in a Pimm’s and lemonade – it doesn’t really matter what booze your friends bought on special offer at the offlicence. So have some fun and just play around. To make the syrup, cut up a watermelon into chunks, and push it by hand through a sieve to juice it. If you have a centrifugal juicer, you can use that. Half fill a bottle with sugar and then fill up with the juice. Shake it until it dissolves. Then it’s ready to use. It lasts for about five days in the fridge.
Little Miss Margarithai 2 parts Blanco Tequila ¾ part watermelon sugar syrup ¾ part lime juice 1 stick lemongrass Method: Crush the lemongrass at the bottom of your shaker. Shake all the ingredients over ice, and double strain into a chilled Martini glass.
Nice Sidecar 2 parts Courvoisier Exclusif
When using the syrup, you will need to balance out the sweetness with some fresh lemon or lime juice.
¾ part watermelon sugar syrup
2 parts vodka 1 part watermelon sugar syrup 1 part lemon juice 3 parts pineapple juice Method: Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker on ice. Strain into an ice-filled tall glass.
¾ part lemon juice Shake all the ingredients over ice and double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Enjoy these and other cocktails featuring Andy’s homemade liqueurs and infusions at: The Loft, 67 Clapham High Street, SW4 7TG. theloftclapham.com
Garnish with a piece of watermelon.
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MAINS & MARTINIS
RESTAURANTS WHERE THE COCK TAILS ARE AS GOOD AS THE FOOD
Ask For Janice
Bob Bob Ricard 1 Upper James Street, London, W1F 9DF. T: 020 3145 1000. bobbobricard.com Who: Party people who appreciate good food and excellent service. What: The newly refurbished Club Room, once a bar now an intimate, grown-up restaurant. When: Thurs-Sat, 7.30pm-1am. Wear: Glamorous dressing is stipulated and dutifully ahdered to. Ms S says: Uniforms of baby pink waistcoats and fuschia bow ties aside, this is a classy joint. They’ve spent £3 million on the place, installing luxury booth seating, the famous ‘press for Champagne’ buttons at every table – even plug points for recharging your phone. With its low, moody lighting, smouldering red and gold interior and pumping soundtrack, its clubby without feeling like you have to shake a leg on the dance floor. Start with one or two mini Zakuski – either Russian salad and truffle or Russian herring and caviar, both presented on tiny rye crackers and designed to be consumed in one bite after a shot of ice cold vodka – the ritual sets up the evening perfectly. Hot dish: My heart wanted to go with the Beef Wellington for two (28-day aged fillet of Aberdeenshire Scotch beef), but my conscience went for the baked sole with vermouth sauce stuffed with smoked sturgeon, served on a bed of spinach. While not exactly a slimmers dish, it did feel like a virtuous
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option – beautifully presented, deftly cooked and bursting with flavour. Cool cocktail: Gold Martini (Russian Standard Gold Vodka, Noilly Prat vermouth, garnished with 24 carat gold). Vodka Martinis can be a bit blah but this one is perfectly pitched for the mood of the place and primes the palate nicely. Special mention goes to the Armagnac and prune liqueur Snifter which we sampled instead of dessert after dinner. Mr G says: I’ve been waiting for someone to open a place like this – bar meets restaurant with nightclub vibe. Great food, lovely cocktails, sexy space, laid-back music and first-rate service. The kind of place that makes slipping on a decent suit worthwhile. Hot dish: Lobster, macaroni and cheese – the description says it all. Put these three big boys together expertly in one fabulous and fulfilling dish and it’s the future. The only drawback was that it put the breaks on me trying the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory. But I’m going back. Cool cocktail: I occasionally like my Martinis on the dirty side. I’m also partial to an occasional Oyster. Hello, here they are together in The Dirty Oyster Martini (Russian Standard Platinum Vodka, vermouth and Jersey Grade ‘A’ Rock Oyster). The brine from the oyster nestling in the glass dirties things up nicely, while the marinaded oyster slips down equally well with the last sip of the drink.
50-52 Long Lane, London EC1A 9EJ. T: 020 7600 2255. askforjanice.co.uk Who: Youngish, hippish workers in the vicinity from breakfast to cocktails. What: All-day neighbourhood restaurant. When: Mon-Fri 7.30am-midnight. Wear: Low-key East End hipster. Ms S says: Like hanging out in your artsy friend’s living room. It has that carefully curated I-don’t-care look about it with original artworks thrown in to good effect. Hot dish: Lamb chop, potato terrine, nettles, beans and gravy – probably a bit fancier than your mum used to make but just as comforting. Cool cocktail: Perfect Serve G&Ts are the thing here – with five paired with a tonic and complementay garnish. I went for Martin Miller’s with Fever-Tree tonic, fresh strawberries and cracked black pepper, good and summery with an agreeable lightly spiced finish. Mr G says: The ground floor restaurant is kind of hip without trying too hard, while the hidden basement bar is the place for good times. Hot dish: Yes, I know a cheeseburger isn’t the most original choice but I’d seen one that someone else had ordered and it looked damned good. As it turned out it was. It went well with my fancy G & T, too. Cool cocktail: My G & T choice was Ophir served with Fever-Tree tonic and an orange garnish. Well made and attractively presented, the cardamon from the Ophir coming through nicely to complement the big boy burger.
Daphne’s 112 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AE. T: 020 7589 4257. daphnes-restaurant.co.uk Who: Chelsea locals, ladies-who-lunch and an older, generally well-heeled set. What: Informal but smart neighbourhood restaurant and newly appointed bar. When: Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm; Sun noon-10.30pm. Wear: The mood is relaxed but there’s an aroma of money in the air. Make sure you err to the dressier side of things. Ms S says: With its fresh refurb comes a new bar with counter dining positioned at the front of the restaurant. Smart move. Hot dish: Seared sea bass, lemon and samphire. As straightforward as it sounds but here cooked to perfection. Cool cocktail: Now we’re talking… I loved The Essence of Alba (Beefeater London Dry Gin, truffle oil, citrus, acacia honey, rosemary water and polenta cracker perched on top) – beautifully balanced, elegant and aromatic to the last drop. Mr G says: An effortless combination of informality and smartness with the very welcome addition of a more prominent bar, with a classy and creative Italian inspired cocktail menu. Hot dish: While my main course duck was delicious, it was the Truffled Summer Salad that preceded it that was the standout. Bags of fresh flavours and understated dressing, all allowing the truffle to be the star of the show. Excellent. Cool cocktail: Every drink here has an Italian influence, several influences in the case of The Half Century Negroni (Plymouth Navy Strength Gin, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Campari, Cynar and Saffron Essence). It looked good, garnished with a dried slice of orange and an agreeable aroma that jumped right out of the glass and having aged in the barrel for a few weeks, it tasted good too.
25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ. T: 020 7877 7720. citysociallondon.com Who: City slickers at lunch, the fash pack in the evening and weekend. What: Studio 54 for 21st century diners. When: Restaurant: Mon-Fri noon2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Social Bar: MonFri noon-10.30pm; Sat 5pm-10.30pm. Wear: Pull out your finery. Ms S says: The thing with most lofty restaurants and/or bars is the view tends to be the star of the show. Not so here. Everything about this place oozes sexy style and glamour, so much so you forget about what’s outside. Hot dish: Don’t leave without tasting the goat’s cheese churros and London truffle honey. Oh-my-G! Mains of rib-eye steak served with duck fat chips, salad, béarnaise and peppercorn sauce was perfection personified. Cool cocktail: Dutty Wine (Wray & Nephew, Appleton V/X, lemon, jerked pineapple, grenadine), served in a travelsized bottle – not only a great name but a very moreish cocktail too. Mr G says: Some of the very best food in town, meets some of the very best cocktails, with some of the very best views thrown in for good measure. Enough said.
48 Greek Street, London W1D 4EF. T: 020 7439 7474. lescargotrestaurant.co.uk Who: Soho stalwarts, enlightened pretheatre goers and those after a trip down memory lane.
Hot dish: There’s always something comforting about an old school dish like Fish Pie. Granted it might not seem the most obvious accompaniment to serious evening drinks but it worked for me. Beautifully executed with nice fat chunks of fish.
Hot dish: The menu is the perfect example of text book French restaurant cooking. You could be blindfolded and make your selection with a pin and not be disappointed. I didn’t do this but instead went for Les Escargots Extraordinaire and Steak Tartare. Very, very French. Very, very gorgeous.
Cool cocktail: I started my journey with Vermouth? You Can’t Handle Vermouth (Bulleit rye whiskey, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Gancia bianco, Campari and Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao). Not only was I pleased to find that I could handle it, it also made me very, very happy.
What: Smart new take for the oldest restaurant in Soho. When: Mon-Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-6pm. Wear: Casual/smart. Ms S says: Another much welcome renovation, with new ownership and management. As well as the food and atmopshere we like the extensive but reasonably priced wine list (from £18 a bottle), with daily changing wine specials available by the glass and carafé. Hot dish: Veal chop with lemon and thyme strikes the balance between comforting home cooking and show-off cheffy shenanigans. Wonderful. Cool cocktail: Classic menus call for classic drinks. I went for a Gin Martini – I won’t lie and say it changed my life but it didn’t disappoint. Mr G says: Lovely to see this Soho institution getting a wash and brush up. Still as elegant as ever and looking every inch the elder statesman of French dining in London.
Cool cocktail: L’Escargot Mar ‘tea’ ni (gin with apple and cranberry tea). Served from a tea pot for a bit of table theatre, it was nice and tart and a good aperitif to sharpen up the tastebuds for the rich French flavours to follow.
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WORD UP... NEWS, VIEWS, REVIEWS AND HOW-TOS
TALES FROM THE BAR Postcard from Paris by Remy Savage, Little Red Door
shared by head bartender Simon Chollet and his team for the beauty of Japan. Here you can enjoy some delicious and innovative cocktails, many of which are inspired by the Japanese lifestyle and ingredients. What to drink: Go for one of their rare, ‘lost’ whiskies, or try the Seaweed & Co. – a twist on the perfect Manhattan with wakame-infused vermouth. Little Red Door, 3eme, lrdparis.com
Paris is renowned for its quintessentially French sunny terrace cafés, perfect for un petit apéro before a romantic dinner. While on the surface tradition holds strong, take a closer look and you will see a new city emerging… the Paris of the night. If you know where to go, Paris is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting and influential cities in the cocktail world… Le Mary Celeste, 3eme, lemaryceleste.com From the creative minds behind Candelaria, this nautical-inspired favourite of the beautiful Marais is perfect for a small bite of seasonal delights (they do a killer Eggs Benedict), and most importantly, some of my favourite drinks in the city with a strong focus on light drinks and ‘aperitif’ ingredients – all prepared by Michael Mas and his welcoming team of recently-graduated bartenders. What to drink: Try the ‘Jean Gouyé’, a subtle and light combination of tequila, mandarine, Suze, sage and lemon. Sherry Butt, 4eme, sherrybuttparis.com With one of the largest selections of Japanese whiskies in France, some serious ice-carving skills, and a stunning, uncluttered, and elegant design, it is easy to see the passion 56 - The Cocktail Lovers
Of course, no tour of Paris would be complete without a visit to our very own home-fromhome, where we focus on service and flavour, and leave the rest up to you. The essence of our work at LRD is simplicity, as we seek to create the most unique drinks, without distraction. Every drink has a dash of salt solution for the flavour of your cocktail never to end. You can also try some unusual homemade products like paper syrup, Christmas morning liqueur or leather tincture. Everyone from the doorman to the floor staff is a bartender and are simply here to make Nietzsche’s words more true “behind every little red door hides a wonderful world” . What to drink: My new favourite – named after Paris’ very own dame de la nuit – the Lulu White: mezcal, yellow chartreuse, Vermouth del Professore, absinthe and salt solution. Just mind blowing! Harry’s New York Bar, 2eme, harrysbar.fr Another must-visit is Harry’s, especially for those who have even the slightest historical curiosity. While the drinks may not be as well mixed as in the countless new bars of the French capital, it’s still one of my favourite places in the world to sit back and remember why we do what we love. What to drink: Why, the Bloody Mary, of course!
ONE FOR THE DRINKS CABINET Okay, get over it, the old Tanqueray No. TEN model has gone to the bottle bank in the sky. Yes, it was a thing of beauty but don’t let its demise muddy your opinion of its replacement. We’ve come round to the voluptuous new model, with its pronounced cocktail shaker shape, fresh green looks, and dimpled lemon-squeezer base, but if it takes you a little longer to get used to, don’t worry the gin inside hasn’t changed a jot. alexanderandjames.com
COMING UP: Cocktails in the City Roll up, roll up, get your tickets for Cocktails in the City. Featuring tutored tastings, cocktail demos and fab bars teaming up with great drinks brands such as Powder Keg Diplomacy and Whitley Neill Gin, Rivoli Bar at The Ritz with Beluga Vodka, London Cocktail Club and Gentleman Jack and Trailer Happiness and Lamb’s Navy Rum. 18th & 19th September, Camden Centre London. cocktailsinthecity.co.uk
Notable nibbles We’re done with nuts and we’ve had enough of crisps, olives and popcorn – we’re looking for something more exciting to keep our drinks company. Enter Edible Mopani Worms. Not for the faint-hearted admittedly, these little critters sure liven up the party. Not only do they taste, well, different, the sun-dried Emperor Moth caterpillars definitely spark conversation. Serve with a smile to break the ice. harveynichols.com
MUSIC TO DRINK COCKTAILS TO... Burt Bacharach, The Look of Love
It’s New York. It’s sometime in the 1960s. Do we get invited to the best parties in town? You bet. We inform the concierge of the smart apartment block that we’re here to see Mr Bacharach, he smiles and says to go right on up. The elevator sweeps us to the penthouse, its doors slide open and we’re greeted by the sound of cocktail shakers keeping time with an effortlessly played piano. Crossing the threshold we see the man himself, elegance personified in blazer, turtle-neck, slacks and white loafers, sat at a grand piano. He gives us a smile and raises his bone dry Vodka Martini in salute. The room is huge, filled with large leather sofas and beanbags, lit by lava lamps, walls decked with Pop Art. The room is cool but the guests cooler still, the cream of the recording crop from the maestro’s personal address book. Tom Jones takes a swig from his Stinger before joining Mr B for What’s New Pussycat? Dusty Springfield puts down her Pink Squirrel and picks up the opening bars of The Look Of Love. Dionne Warwick looks demure cradling her Brandy Alexander before sashaying through Walk On By. Herb Albert and his Tijuana Brass give us the theme from Casino Royale before refreshing themselves with Moscow Mules. Sandie Shaw slips off her shoes and sips on a Blue Hawaiian before telling us There’s Always Something There To Remind Me. And Aretha Franklin relaxes with a White Russian after delivering I Say A Little Prayer. Were we really there? We like to think so. Welcome your guests to your next swinging soirée with retro cocktails and The Look of Love, the Burt Bacharach Collection. Warner. Available from amazon.co.uk
69 Colebrooke Row is five years of inspirational cocktails and fabulous company distilled into one great book. You don’t have to have visited the bar or enjoyed one of Tony Conigliaro’s exquisite drinks to enjoy it (although you owe it to yourself to do both), the book tells the story of the people, the place and the cocktails from the bar, together with recipes and fantastic photography by Addie Chinn. Published by Ebury Press. Available from amazon.co.uk
CHERRY ‘OH BABY!’ We love a cherry in our cocktails, it adds
the very best. Seek out the goodness of
punctuation to a glass and better still,
the all-natural Luxardo cherries – so
offers a nice reward at the end of your
lush, so utterly delicious, they leave
drink. Which is why you should go for
others in the shade. thedrinkshop.com
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CREATE A STIR EACH MONTH
Ou est Madam St. Germain? Three or so years ago the Art Deco-inspired St. Germain bottle was sitting on the back bar, looking pretty but gathering dust. Then Camille Vidal was charged with being its Brand Ambassador. Distinctly French, gorgeous and a brilliant bartender to boot, she’s been on a onewoman crusade to give the aromatic elderflower liqueur the recognition it deserves.
National Scotch Day Whisky Royale 25ml Scotch Whisky Dash of apple schnapps (or clear apple juice) Ginger ale Sliced green apple Method: Half fill a Champagne flute with crushed ice. Pour in the Scotch Whisky and then the apple schnapps. Top up with ginger ale. Place an apple slice into the glass. Recipe: Scotch Whisky Association. scotch-whisky.org.uk
National Beer Day Dram-Brew-ie 40ml Drambuie 25ml lemon juice 25ml orange juice Dash of Angostura® aromatic bitters Top with India Pale Ale Method: Pour everything apart from the Pale Ale into a shaker and shake over ice. Pour into a Collins glass. Top with India Pale Ale and garnish with an orange wedge.
National Coffee Day
“St. Germain was there but it was a forgotten product,” she admits. “I wanted people to appreciate its incredible versatility”. It sounds easy enough but in a world where sexy new drinks products are launched every day, you’ve got your work cut out finding a way to stand out from the crowd. And that’s how Madam St. Germain was born. “It was important to give the brand a face, a personality,” she says with an accent so French, it’s almost a parody. There couldn’t be a better person to embody the spirit of the product. Not just for the French thing she has going on but for her creativity, vast network around the world and the entrepreneurial aspect she brings to the brand. Apart from getting bartenders to appreciate the nuances of St. Germain in their cocktails, she set up Les Femmes Du Bar. “I want to build communities and support bartenders as much as I can. Les Femmes Du Bar is just one aspect of this. There’s nothing feminist about it, it’s my way of saying, we’re all girls behind the bar, why don’t we hang out and get to know each other and learn from each other?” Les Femmes meet up every few months for anything from perfume master-classes to burlesque and brunch, plus a cocktail competition during London Cocktail Week. What started out as a few bartenders in London, has gained momentum in France and Stockholm and Camille has plans for more to follow soon. “We’re building a wall with this industry and I feel I’m putting one block on it. I want to support people, help them to grow. I want bartenders and consumers to be more confident and creative with their drinks. It’s an exciting time – not just for St. Germain but drinks generally.”
Tune into Camille on Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube Channel.
25ml vodka 25ml freshly brewed Espresso Coffee beans to garnish (optional) Method: Shake ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.
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One in five spirit drinkers in the UK drinks gin? Source: William Grant & Sons Market Report 2014.
ONE TO WATCH Vasilis Kyritsis from Athens. He dazzled judges in the World Class Greek Finals with his inventive serve inspired by the perception of colour and taste – big things coming soon.
LAST ORDERS Girl
In pursuit of spiritual enlightenment in London’s bars Peg + Patriot Matt Whiley looks normal enough. It’s only when you look a little closer that you see the glint of the crazy genius about him. It switches on when he starts to explain the processes behind his drinks: distilled this, rotavapped that – between him and the equally regular-looking guys who go under the Talented Mr Fox umbrella, they’ve come up with distillates of everything from Marmite to white chocolate-covered Maltesers. Even more bonkers, they use them in their drinks.
Whether operating as one third of New York hip-hop trio Children of the Night, or as part of rap collective World’s Fair Remy Banks is a star in the ascendant. We caught up with him in between a busy summer of European festivals including Wireless in London and Birmingham, Roskilde in Denmark, Splash in Germany and Dour in Belgium and asked him to share his imaginary last drink with us. What would your last drink be? Hennessy cognac in a Balloon glass – always straight, never with ice. It’s been my favourite drink ever since I tried it as a teenager – I just love the smooth taste. Where would you have it? Montego Bay. I first visited when I was 18 for a cousin’s wedding and fell in love with it – it’s so serene. Who would you share it with? My girlfriend.
I already knew this – everyone’s been talking about the creativity behind this outfit. But I needed to find out if their mad scientist antics really worked for myself… Before we get to the cocktails, a word on the look of the place. Cleverly, they’ve kept it fairly plain – don’t get me wrong, it’s stylishly Scandi minimal, but when push comes to shove, it’s plain, save for the science kit to the rear of the room. Good move. It keeps your mind free to concentrate on the drinks. The menu is deliberately intriguing but playful: Rice Rice Baby (Peg+Patriot roasted rice ice-cream liqueur, cocchi Brut); D. Groner (salt beef beigel, cognac, bitters, mustard leaf); Sean Connertree (Spice Tree whisky, pineapple dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, Drybena) – I mean, who would have a clue? The best bet is to have a chat with the guys to find out more. That’s how I came to the Riot Cup Number One (white port, O’Clock sugar, cucumber phosphate, ginger ale) – a pimped up, deliciously refreshing, adult version of a Pimm’s Cup, while my partner was in raptures about his Pho Money Pho Problems (Pho spirit, pak choi, and lime leaf and lime). This one deserves a special mention: not only does is look like a thing of sheer beauty, it’s equally pleasing on the nose and tastebuds as well.
BITTERS GET TWISTED Like Angostura® aromatic bitters in your drinks? Then you’ll love new Amaro Di Angostura®. Currently only available Stateside the digestif-style liqueur is a careful blend of Angostura® aromatic bitters, neutral spirit and herbs. Serve on its own, on the rocks or add to cocktails. angosturabitters.com
Does Peg+Patriot deliver? You bet your booty it does. We’ll be back to work our way through the entire menu. Patriot Square, London E2 9NF. T: 020 8709 4528. pegandpatriot.com
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COMMON WEALTH OF DRINKING This summer sees the 53 countries of the Commonwealth descend on Glasgow for the second most exciting sporting event of the summer (unless you like golf!) As Diplomatic Ambassador of Drinking for the games, it is my privilege and duty to deliver the official guide to ‘The Common Wealth of Drinking in Glasgow’. This report will provide the who’s who and the where’s where on all my favourite spots to hit up between the showcases of sporting wonderment.
By Fraser Barrett The Wee Guy’s Cafe What better way to start your tour of Glasgow than breakfast? And a good one is essential if you plan on keeping up the pace on this tour, so The Wee Guy’s Cafe in the Merchant City is what I have lined up. The menu is pretty extensive and offers everything from a square sausage and tattie (potato) scone roll with a can of Bru for the road, to a full Scottish with a decent cup of coffee or, if
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you really want to push the boat out, Eggs Benedict with a St. Clements. Nice chilled surrounds and a good spot for people-watching, paired with top-class food to satisfy people from all corners of the Commonwealth, there’s no better way to start the day. 51-53 Cochrane Street, G1 1HL. T: 0141 552 5338
Booly Mardy’s For the next stop we’re hightailing it from the glamour of the Merchant City to the more bohemian surrounds of the West End. Seeing as we missed one for breakfast, I thought it would be about time for a mid-morning Bloody Mary, and if you want one of these bad boys to get you ready for the afternoon, then there’s nowhere better than Booly Mardy’s. There are a couple of variations on the menu but I would recommend the house special, it has all kinds of tasty things going on, and if you’re lucky enough to get a bit of sun while you’re there, Booly’s has a lovely terrace area out front to catch some of the famous ‘weegie’ summer. 28 Vinicombe Street, G12 8BE. T: 0141 560 8004. boolymardys.com
The Finnieston Next in the triangle is The Finnieston for a spot of dinner. The restaurant serves some of the best Scottish seafood the city has to offer, and if it’s on the menu you know it’s going to be fresh. The staff are on point and will guide you through the menu and specials if you’re looking for a bit of direction. As well as a phenomenal food offering the drinks selection is up there with the best of them. The drinks list is gin orientated with some tasty house classics and a signature serve G&T list. 1125 Argyle Street, G3 8ND. T: 0141 222 2884. thefinniestonbar.com
Inn Deep A scenic walk through Kelvingrove Park takes you through to lunch and the next stop of the tour, the Williams Bros. bar, Inn Deep, set on the Riverside of the Kelvin. The strong range of Williams Bros. beers is available along with a rolling selection of guest ales. To accompany your choice of craft beer, why not try some food? If the weather is nice enough the guys will crack out the BBQ and grill up a storm, or you could try one of the burgers or pizzas from the menu with a couple of sides. There’s plenty of variety here and something to appeal to everyone. 445 Great Western Road, G12 8HH. T: 0141 357 1075. inndeep.com Kelvingrove Cafe Another trip through the park takes us to Finnieston where you are really spoiled for choice. The area has more bars and restaurants worth checking out than I could squeeze into this brief overview. With that being the case I will focus on the ‘Finnie Triangle’, three bars that cater to all your desires over the course of a weekend, and much like the one in Bermuda, many good people have been known to go missing down this gentrified sinkhole. First port of call in the triangle is the Kelvingrove Cafe, which has everything you could hope for from a bar – great staff, strong drinks list, hearty food, and very laid-back vibes. A cheeky aperitif before dinner is the order of the day. Either pick something from the beautifully designed menu, or you could sample the official Commonwealth Games cocktail. This concoction includes the specially-created bitters featuring botanicals from each of the Commonwealth Countries and a seasonal ‘Glasgow Shrub’ made by Hawthorn Drinks. 1161-1163 Argyle Street, G3 8TB. T: 0141 221 8988. kelvingrovecafe.com
Blythswood square hotel
Distill To complete the triangle we’re popping across the road to Distill. This is a good time bar that has it all, with a roster of guest DJs playing everything from funk and soul to house and techno depending on the night of the week. Regardless of who’s on you’re always guaranteed to have a good time. Really friendly staff, a fun cocktail list and banging burgers have helped build its reputation as a bar where the regulars develop Stockholm Syndrome. 1102-1106 Argyle Street, G3 7RX. T: 0141 337 3006. distillbar.co.uk Blythswood Square Hotel If you have the strength of character to pull yourself away from the triangle then our last stop of the tour takes us to the Blythswood Hotel for a nightcap; because why not finish your night in the opulent and luxurious setting of the Lounge Bar on the first floor? If at this stage you are still able to pick up the wonderfully designed menu without having to squint or concentrate too much then it’s well worth a browse. With such a substantial number of drinks on offer, choosing one can be a tricky affair. Whether you’re struck by doubt or if all the words are blurring together on the page, then have a chat with one of the bartenders, tell them a bit about what you like and they will whip up exactly the concoction you were hoping for. 11 Blythswood Square, G2 4AD. T: 0141 248 8888. townhousecompany.com/blythswoodsquare
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There’s something about
CLASSIC COCKTAILS, COOL BACKDROPS AND BUCKET LOADS OF CULTURE, CUBA’S CAPITAL HAS GOT THE LOT
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n the face of it Havana and its people appear to be languishing in a glorious made-for-photo-ops time warp. Visitors can’t get enough of the faded grandeur of its colonial buildings, their once stoic façades and vivid pastel shades now artfully crumbling and muted with time. Then there are the 1950s glam-mobiles: bright as you like Buicks, Plymouths and Chevvies which cruise down the road with all the pomp of royalty when more often than not they’re held together with duct tape and tons of pride. Havana offers an intoxicating glimpse into its past alright. You can practically feel the ghosts of the hoards of rich Americans who made the journey over during the Prohibition era. Forget Ibiza, this was the original party island, the place where those who laughed in the face of the Dry ban imposed in the US could drink as much as they liked. And oh how they drank. According to writers and historians Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown in their book Cuban Cocktails, a dozen bartenders headed to Cuba every day. And with them came the booze cruisers. With 7,000 bars to choose from in Havana alone, it’s fair to say Cuba was fuelled by alcohol from 1919 to the early 1930s.
Take its music for instance. Stick to the tourist trail and it’s all Buena Vista Social Club and rhumba. Head to where the locals go and you can skank along to bass-heavy reggaeton riddims, or bust a move to funky electro and Cuban pop. The same can be said for the cocktails. While no visit to this part of the world is complete without propping up the bar with Ernest Hemingway’s statue at El Floridita or spending time at his other favourite spot, La Bodeguita, there are Daiquiris to be quaffed at a growing number of hip hang-outs. For a real taste of Havana we suggest mixing up old and new.
Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquiri en El Floridita – Ernest Hemingway
That was Cuba’s heyday. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this large Caribbean island – Havana in particular – hasn’t moved on since then. It has. It’s just not so in-your-face.
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The three C’s of Cuba COCKTAILS El Cocinero, calle 26e/11 y 13, Vedado. T: +53 7 832 2355 This is one of the new wave of privately-owned bars and restaurants that’s sprung up in Havana over the past two years and it’s certainly drawing in the crowds. Housed in a former cooking oil factory there’s a look and feel of Ibiza cool about it, particularly in the open-air terrace with its mix of minimalist white furniture, lush planting, chill-out soundtrack and look-at-me backlit bar. There was no menu on our visit (they’re working on it) but they say that they’re happy to mix any of the classics. We stuck to the Daiquiris, here available in your choice of exotic fruity options including strawberry, papaya, mango and pineapple. El Floridita, Obispo No.557 esq. a Monserrate, Havana Vieja. T: +53 7 867 1299 Alejandro Bolivar and his red-jacketed team get through around 36 to 48 bottles of Havana Club 3 Year Old rum and 30 litres of freshly-squeezed limes every day – that’s around 450 Daiquiris every 24 hours. Yes, the dark, smoky El Floridita is most definitely on the tourist trail. Once here, only one drink will do and that’s the frozen Daiquiri. In truth, the drink although good, gets lost in the overall experience. It’s hard not to get caught up in the Alejandro show behind the bar, life-size statue of Papa Hemingway to the left, Cuban band squidged behind one side of the door and giant bottle of Havana Club on the other. That’s even before you get to the cubicle to the rear selling branded goods. Don’t worry if you don’t want to push past the crowds, a waitress will bring them over to your table. It sounds like a spectacle and to some extent it is, but it’s one that’s too good to miss. Esencia Habana, calle B, entre Línea y 7 número 153 Vedado, Ciudad de la Havana. T: +53 7 836 3031 From the outside it looks like a rather grand, lavishly restored colonial house, step in and it is also home to a bustling bar. Modern in feel, there are elements of trad about it, like the rustic tiled floor, stained glass panelled windows and oversized television plonked pride of place over the central mahogany bar. Ignore that last bit and it’s rather a cool spot. The cocktail list is extensive and the back bar boasts big names like Beefeater, Grey Goose, Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire. Still, it’s the Cuban Classics that win out – it may not be the most adventurous of choices but there’s nothing wrong with a Cuba Libre in its birthplace.
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La Bodeguita del Medio, calle Empedrado entre Cuba y San Ignacio, Havana Vieja.T: +53 7 571374/5 Shhh, don’t tell the others but this was our favourite. Yes, it’s touristy and yes, the Mojitos are expensive but if it’s Cuban authenticity you want, this is your baby. Fight through the crowds, taking time to check out the role call of names scribbled on the walls and make your way to the two small rooms upstairs. No doubt it’ll be packed which just adds to the party vibe. Order a Mojito just to see what all the fuss is about – this was Mr Hemingway’s drink of choice here and why the place is always heaving. Like all of the old-school bars, they somehow manage to squeeze a live band into the teeny space which just adds to the appeal. If you can, have a peek out of the window in the chill-out room to the rear for fantastic views over to the square. Sloppy Joe’s, Animas esq. a Zulueta, Havana Vieja T: +53 7 866 7157 It’s back, the bar and restaurant that once counted Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, John Wayne and Noel Coward amongst its many guests, has reopened its doors after lying empty for almost 50 years. Very much aimed at tourists, the large, slick space still serves up Sloppy Joe sandwiches (ground beef piled high in a bun) and a selection of rum specials and international cocktails such as Margaritas, Screwdrivers and Pina Coladas. The star of the show is the original 18-metre mahogany bar, polished to an impressively high shine. Shame about the television sets hanging over it…
Cuban Classics Mojito Daiquiri El Presidente Cuba Libre Mary Pickford Santiago Hemingway Daiquiri Mulata
CULTURE Forget conventionally high-end professions like medicine and law, in Cuba creativity is where the money’s at. In a regime where $20-30 a month is the standard wage, successful artists, musicians and performers have the potential to earn shed loads more. Consequently, art and live music in particular, are everywhere. For the best established and emerging talents, check out Havana Cultura. havana-cultura.com
CIGARS If you like cigars, you’ll love Havana. Not only can you find some of the finest stogies in the world here but you can smoke them pretty much anywhere you like. Rumour has it that each hand-rolled Havana goes through a minimum of 222 stages before it’s ready for your smoking pleasure and there are many to choose from ranging in size, shape and strength. Take your pick from some stunning specimens including Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, El Rey del Mundo, Punch, H. Upmann and Flor de Cano. Get yours in the cigar lounge at Melia Cohiba Hotel. meliacuba.com
Must do Stroll along the Malecon Have a ride around the Old Town in a 1950s cab.
Must visit Museo del Ron Havana aka the Havana Club Museum. Avenida del Puerto 262, esq. Sol, Habana Vieja. T: +53 7 861 8051. havana-club.com Go to get an understanding of rum production and check out the impressive train set. The guided tour ends with a rum tasting.
The new Cuban Classic Jose Marti Especial
Created by Andy Loudon from Satan’s Whiskers, UK, winner of Havana Club Global Cocktail Challenge 2014 40 ml Havana Club 3 Year Old 4 cloves 2 ml Ricard 20 ml lime juice 15 ml Tio Pepe 20 ml sugar syrup
Must buy Havanista – it’s Havana Club 7 Year Old rum bottled and labelled for the American market if/when the US embargo to Cuban products is lifted. Only available at the Havana Club Museum.
Eat La Guarida, Concordia 418/Gervasio y Escobar, Centro Habana. T: +53 7 866 9047. laguarida.com If you hanker after something a little, ahem, more varied than the usual rice, black beans and chicken that seems to pop up on every local menu, this paladar (private restaurant) is highly recommended. Known as the Strawberries and Chocolate restaurant for its role in the film of the same name (Fresa y Chocolate), it’s a hauntingly beautiful building – part home to residents, part restaurant to style-conscious guests. Take our advice and go for lunch rather than dinner – you’ll avoid the crowds, get better service and have a chance to fully appreciate the setting. It’s a visual feast from the crumbling walls to the lines of communal washing that fill the middle floor. Up in the restaurant the drama continues with tastefully eclectic styling and inventive food to match. Highly recommended.
Need to know: Somewhat confusingly, there are two currencies in Cuba: one is the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), the second, the Cuban Peso (CUP). As a visitor you’ll mainly be dealing with the former – the CUP is mainly used by locals and worth much less. It’s worth having some Cuban Pesos though, particularly for taxis and tipping. Find out more at cubacurrency.com With thanks to Havana Club Rum
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Pictures from the hottest events, competitions and openings in the last three months
1. Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Final, Dartmouth House, London, June 2014.
4. Amber Rose at the Grey Goose Le Melon Toast to Swizz Beatz. Photo Johnny Nunez. West Hollywood, June 2014.
2. David Shrigley and Mourad Mouzaz at the David Shrigley ceramics launch at Sketch, sponsored by Pommery and Ketel One Vodka. London, June 2014.
5. Spike Lee at the Grey Goose Le Melon Toast to Swizz Beatz. Photo Johnny Nunez. West Hollywood, June 2014.
3. Jamie Oliver and Simone Caporale at the launch of Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube, sponsored by Bacardi. London, May 2014.
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6. Lara Bohnic and Polly Morgan at at the David Shrigley ceramics launch at Sketch, sponsored by Pommery and Ketel One Vodka. London, June 2014
7. Cara Santana and Jesse Metcalfe at the 200th Prezzo opening party. Photo Dave Benet. 8. Venus Williams at Wimbledon Tennis Association party at the Roof Gardens, presented by Dubai World Duty Free, sponsored by Ciroc Vodka. London, June 2014. 9. Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition – the final. Petrovsky Palace, Moscow, May 2014.
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