What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I love beer and I'm very British about it. I grew up around old men pubs and some of that 'beer festival' culture really rubbed off on me. Give me a copy of anything by CAMRA, a cheese and pickle sandwich and an IPA and I'm more than happy.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
The devil is most definitely in the detail, don't be afraid to change the smallest thing to gain perfection and trust your taste buds.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
EGO, it gets in the way of most things bartenders need to be good at.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Know your customers, treat your staff well, be flexible, be accurate.
How did you get started?
I got a job as a waitress through my schools work experience program when I was 15 and I was so bad at it I got relegated to drinks runner, this I loved, I made it my mission to get behind a bar and a nice unmentionable chap agreed to teach me, I moved into pub work when I was old enough and then as I paid my way through dance school I worked in a huge variety of places.
How were you trained in bartending?
Curiosity and customer contact, books and practice.
Did you take any courses?
No, only dance ones and I'm sure they don't really count and I'm now doing a professional certificate in Marketing and I just got my certificate in Professional Spirits from WSET.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Provenance is becoming at the forefront of people's minds, consumers making choices based on value rather than style and small independents doing better than larger bland chains is all very refreshing!
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
I like to sniff the base product, then taste and see what flavours pop into my head and work around that. I also do a little research into the background of the product and the factors that influence how it's made. I also like to look at local eating and drinking habits.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
To drink, it changes with my moods, where I am and who's serving me but generally aged spirits no fruit is my preferred mantra. I love to make anything that's not JD and coke and doesn't involve passion fruit seeds?
What are some of your favourite tools?
Books, measures and glass ware.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Internet, the oracle that is google. Also my colleagues. My wishlist on Amazon is pretty big too.
What does success mean for you?
Enjoying my life; the pursuits of knowledge and happiness. Strive for balance rather than perfection.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Molecular stuff is everywhere although it's still in the experimental stage. Rum and gin are big now; when I started it was nearly all vodka and liqueur (both categories have improved though)More condensed but better cocktail lists, none of this 75 page turner menu. Also, sherry on menus is being revived.
What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Wisdom haa! No really, the better inspired cocktails are made by people who have an understanding of the customer as well as the products; they know what's happened in the past as well innovating and creating newness. Talking to people: Everything that everybody in this industry does every day goes into making every drink great!
What is your favourite drink to make?
I really take pride in a good gin martini. Probably more than I should.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working with brands, writing a bit, having people over for dinner and drinks a lot? Pretty much what I do now but in a bigger house?
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Weird, but I'd definitely be a gym bunny/dancer.
Your hangover cure?
Prairie oysters extra Tabasco best thing for a morning stock take.
Your biggest career influencer?
I got taught how to use an optic by a thirsty customer when I was 15, the learning never stopped. My mantra was always assume the customer knows better so know more.
First drink you ever tried?
Red wine mixed with water at the dinner table.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Anything too sweet, I can't drink a lot of whiskey it has a devastating effect on my senses.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Blink, gape a bit then hit Harvey Nics.
Hm, tough one, I'm loving the US beers like Flying Dog and Brooklyn larger. My mum lives in Princeton and there are a many great beers I'm working around from that area.
Cote de Rhone/Pouilly Fume.
Rum, trusty rum.
69 Colebrooke at the moment.
My boyfriends cooking, any authentic Vietnamese.
London - yes really.
Talk to her, Stardust, the Princess Bride.
God, I love a LOT of books, it's all I do when I'm not working, anything by Orwell, Hemmingway, TS Elliot or Stephen Fry?
Again tough, Marquis Moon by Television, Muse Absolution, the best of the Cure, anything by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Orange juice or Jill Scott? - Oh my god King for a day, Fool for a lifetime by Faith No More, I like the cross over stuff they did after Jim Martin left (pity no-one else did).
Um Billy Holiday, Curtis Mayfield, Robert Smith, Karen O, Mathew Bellamy, Freddie Mercury and David Byrne - I'm not very good at narrowing it down.