Mixologist Of The Month - Duane Shepherd

Duane's Bio.

Date of Birth: 10th January 1967.

Birth place: Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Height: 6'

Eye colour: Brown.

Nationality: Trinidadian.

I started my bartending career at the early age of 13 years old with a bottle of Creme de Menthe!

My first bartending position was on the famous Jolly Roger Boat at 16.

I moved to London to broaden my horizons, and started my cocktail apprenticeship at 'Break for the Border', a short stint at Fuller Brewery as head cocktail trainer, which saw me developing the 'Fine Line' brand, and then as Bar's Manager @ Fabric Nightclub (1999 - 2001).

In 2001 Duane, a former director of Bar Connections, partnered with Greg Pittard, then employed as creative sales and marketing manager at The Ice Box established Squeeze Event Mixology, Squeeze Bars, Squeeze Bar & Cocktail Academy, Squeeze Jobzone (NEW)!

Together they established the worlds largest ever cocktail in an ice sculptured cocktail glass, standing at 10' tall and filled with over 45 litres of a uniquely blended cocktail created by Duane!

Squeeze offer a fantastic range of Beginner, Advanced and Professional courses for bartending, cocktail making, and flair bartending are all available, allowing trainees with absolutely no previous experience to walk away with a good base knowledge of their chosen subject, whilst the more experienced attendees will be tested and stretched by the advanced courses on offer.

Visit Squeeze UK
Awards & Accolades

Theme Magazine, Top 100 - 2009.

Theme Magazine, Top 100 - 2008.

Maxxium Yearbook 2007.

Guinness World Record - largest ever cocktail in an ice sculptured cocktail glass. 10' tall and 45 litres of a uniquely blended cocktail - 2001.

Drinks International cocktail challenge 2001 - Silver Medal.

Drinks International cocktail challenge 2000 - Silver Medal.

Your claim to fame? Establishing Squeeze with my business partner Greg Pittard.
Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer?
Absolutely love it, not a day goes by without sinking a cold one, I live for the stuff, who wouldn't.

Any brews of note for you?
Budweiser Budvar, Staropramen & India Pale Ale.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Treat every customer as you would like to be treated yourself.
There is a tip in every customer.
Remember to smile!

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Bad service and s**t drinks, if you don't like serving people change career.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Location, Location, Location / demographic of target audience / drink offering / style of venue / food offering / staff training.

How did you get started?
Bottle of Angostura golden rum.

How were you trained in bartending?
Self taught.

Did you take any courses?
No.

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Foams, mists and molecular mixology.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
First I will create the drink in my head then I will go into the Academy and make it, taste it and tweak accordingly, I am normally very close to the mark. I spend a lot of my time researching brands and flavours so I tend to know what works well together. Keep it simple!

What is your favorite cocktail to drink?
Rum Old fashioned.

To make?
Tommy's Margaritas for my girlfriend Elin.

What are some of your favourite tools?
Barber's chair & restraints.

What is your favorite mixology resource?
Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide.

What does success mean for you?
World dominance & space travel.

What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Complicated drink menus.

What goes into creating a cocktail?
Passion.

And what inspired you in the first place?
My drive for perfection to drink making and serving.

What is your favorite drink to make?
Anything that has lots of rum in it, the more the better, maybe a good West Indian Rum Punch with Velvet Falernum and fresh cloves.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Sitting back and enjoying the finer things in life.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now
Probably being bored out of my head working for an oil company back in Trinidad and spending every spare moment at the beach, surfing!

Your hangover cure?
No such thing.

Your biggest career influencer?
Richard Branson.

First drink you ever tried?
Creme de Menthe.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
My first bad experience with a drink or spirit was with a bottle of Angostura White rum, and a friend's 16th birthday party. The party was great, apparently, but I cannot remember. I don't avoid drink, I just choose to drink certain drinks more than others. I love RUM so much that it makes me feel as if the sun is always shining.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy an island in the Caribbean and open a rum shack with a honesty bar on it, come help yourself!

Bar or cellar at home?
Definitely Bar (Del Boy).

Wine?
I am not a lover of the grape, it's cane all the way, it's the Caribbean way of life ;-)

Spirit?
Rum - sweet rum.

Cocktail?
Daiquiri or rum Old Fashioned for me and Tommy's margarita for my girlfriend Elin.

Fav Bar?
The Squeeze Academy.

Restaurant?
E & O.

World location?
Maldives.

Fav film?
Scarface.

Book?
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

Album?
Satisfy my soul by Bob Marley.

Singer/band?
The Rolling Stones.

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June '09
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