Mixologist of the Month - Phil Huckle
- Date of Birth: 29th March
- Birth place: Cambridge, England
- Height: 6'
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: English
"I started out in the industry as a barback in a cocktail bar in Austin Texas. It was here I learned how to bartend. A few years later I moved to New Orleans and bartended there for 4 years before moving back to London where I was the Bar Manager of the famous/infamous AKA bar for seven years before becoming a Brand Ambassador for Pernod Ricard in Jan 2007. I first worked on the Stoli vodka brand before transferring over to Scotch Whisky a year later."
Phil's Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Class Magazine UK Brand Ambassador of the Year 2010
Claim to Fame
Leading the active campaign to eradicate the word Mixologist from the vocabulary of the drinks industry
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I have only recently really started to appreciate beer especially some of the great local craft beers that are now being created. Meantime brewery & Chapel Down both make wonderful lagers.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Make-sure you do the basics well and the most important aspect of your job is hosting the guests in your establishment. Make people feel special and welcome. So few bartenders do that well. Its not just about mixing the perfect sazarec, that's only 20% of it.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Bartenders who are surly and rude and who think they are something special but cant even keep the bar top clean. Punctuality is another one. I could go on here for quite a bit actually but I'll stop there.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
I don't do too many menus but do advise on occasion. The mistake that many venues make is too many drinks on the menu/ menus that don't suit the establishment and generally terrible names for their cocktail creations. The marketing of a drink is very important. Example - Porn Star Martini - brilliant name for that particular cocktail. Now famous around the world because of it.
How did you get started?
As stated previously as a barback in Texas.
How were you trained in bartending?
On the job whilst barbacking.
Did you take any courses?
No. But if I started today I would consider it to accelerate the learning curve.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Beer cocktails are taking off in many London bars. Hawksmoor, Burger & Lobster & Galante have some great examples.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I tend to twist classic cocktails. Substitute out ingredients and see where I get.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
What are some of your favourite tools?
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Dale Degroff - Craft of the Cocktail. Ben Reed has written some great books but he is an Arsenal fan so its painful to give him too much credit. (Spurs fan here!).
What does success mean for you?
I have a great job doing something I'm passionate about. I get a decent salary, I travel widely, meet interesting people and every day is fun. I would call that success.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully doing a similar job but in Asia. The economic axis is shifting East and that is where the real opportunity is.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Bankrupting the nation as a "Casino Banker" in Canary Wharf!
Your biggest career influencer?
Dick Bradsell. I never had the honour of working with him but for me he is father of the modern London cocktail scene. Everyone who is making a good living in the London drinks industry is partly thanks to him.
First drink you ever tried?
Rum & coke?
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Goldschalger - back to US bartending days. Awful stuff! (I'm also one of the few bartenders who cannot stand Jager either!).
Your hangover cure?
Water & time. Nothing else works.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Aston Martin - Flat in Mayfair - Saville Row suits - Racehorse - winters in Barbados.
Bar or cellar at home?
A cellar of some rare bottles.
Chapel Down lager. Try it. Out of this world, and made down the road in Kent too!
New Zealand sauvignon blanc. I'm addicted!
I love Scotch. Scotchy Scotch Scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly, Yum yum yum.
Blood & Sand with Chivas 18 or a Daiquiri.
Casita in Shoreditch but as I now live in West London I don't get to go as much as I would like.
The Cliff (Barbados).
Austin Texas or Beirut Lebanon.
The Bourne Ultimatum.
First Light by Geoffrey Wellum - true story of a young Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain 1940.
Tears for Fears - The Hurting.