Mixologist Of The Month - Leanne Davidson

Leanne's Bio.

Date of Birth: 12.11.82

Birth place: Manchester

Height: 5' 2''

Eye colour: Brown

Nationality: British

I started bartending whilst studying Broadcast Journalism at Leeds University, firstly at Barca, Manchester and then Tiger Tiger, Leeds.

Having helped open Baby Cream, Leeds, I proceeded to work for Prohibition, Living Ventures, where the cocktail shenanigans kicked off.

I graduated, moved to London and nabbed an ideal job working in music television.

Although mixing with the likes of Pharrel and Korn had its appeal I kept on mixing drinks, this time at the Living Room, Living Ventures.

I decided to concentrate solely on the bar scene and was privileged to be offered a bartending job at Lab, Soho.

Here, my bartending skills were challenged to the highest degree. Mixing drinks for the industry's finest bartenders and customers.

Having successfully competed in cocktail competitions and then progress to management at their sister bar, Townhouse, Knightsbridge, I wanted to focus on the training element of the Industry.

I tailor make my own programmes for various clients as well as running sessions for Shaker UK and The Training School.
Gregor de Gryther

I have dedicated the first three cocktails on my page, to Gregor de Gruyther, who recently and unexpectedly passed away.

Gregor was a colleague, a true friend and an inspiration who'll be sorely missed by all those who knew him.
Awards & Accolades

November 2006: 2nd Place at the Wyborowa Exquisite Cocktail Competition at the International Cocktail Experience.

March 2007: Winner of the Martin Miller's Cocktail Competition (Newcomer).

July 2007: UK Winner 42 Below Cocktail World Cup and went on to represent England in New Zealand.

November 2007: Placed 3rd in Bols Cocktail Competition.

April 2008: Featured in Class Top Females in the Industry.

June 2008: Judge at 42 Below National Finals.

July 2008: WSET Wine and Spirits.

May 2009: Judge at Distil Bar Show .

Your claim to fame?

On the Journalism front, I had to arrange an interview with President Bush for The Sunday Times.

On the Bar front, made front page news in New Zealand after I bungee jumped, whilst making a cosmopolitan and losing my trainer mid flight into the depths of the river below.

On the general front, dined with Sir George Martin Smith at the Ivor Novello Music Awards.
Q&A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I don't think consumers are aware that there are so many different beers out there to try and so stick to names that they know.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Watch as many bartenders as possible and learn from them. Challenge yourself.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
We find it hard to switch off from work! At 3am, after work I just want a quick jager and to chat nonsense - not to debate whether to put vermouth directly in a martini glass or in the mixing glass.

How did you get started?
I was fed up explaining the sizing system at Ted Baker where I used to work part time for a few years. I knew I liked working with people, so it seemed the logical next step.

How were you trained in bartending?
Worked for bars who placed a huge emphasis on continuous training and development of the bartender. From there I learned from watching and learning form others around me.

Did you take any courses?
Not in bartending, but in wine and spirits.

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
There's more of an appreciation of different styles within spirit categories. I love the fact that supermarkets now have an increasing range of spirits on their shelves.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
If it is for a certain spirit, I like to work on it's taste and aroma profile and build on that. I don't like to mask a spirit. Prohibition is over - we have a heck of a lot of good booze out there - let it do the talking.

What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
This really depends on my mood some days I'll love a Clover Club and sometimes a Dark and Stormy. Some days I'll love making a magic Old Fashioned, and others making a show-stopper of a Mint Julep will tick the boxes.

What are some of your favourite tools?
Mexican elbows - life changing.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
My friends and colleagues (It's true guys!)

What does success mean for you?
I enjoy seeing new bartenders I've trained take it as seriously as I do.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Being a media lush.

Your hangover cure?
Sympathy, Sofa, CSI, Curb Your Enthusiam, a takeaway, bed. In that order.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Sambuca. Had a very bad experience about 7 years ago - can't pour it without gagging.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Go on holiday - for a VERY long time, and start making rum.

Bar or cellar at home?
Bar. Cellars are too cold.

Spirit?
Rum and Gin

Cocktail?
Daiquiri and Clover Club

Fav Bar?
There are a few too many

World location?
Anywhere with white sands.

Fav film?
Ferris Beuller's Day Off, The Bucket List, Batman - The Dark Knight

Book?
Catcher in the Rye, Street kid.

Leanne's's Web Links
Shaker UK The Training School

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