Mixologist of the Month - Matthias Lataille
- Date of Birth: 7th December 1982
- Birth place: Verdun, France
- Height: 1m 86cm but I like to say 6'2"
- Eye colour: Green-brown
- Nationality: French
"I moved to London in 2005 to improve my English and boost my lawyer career. As I soon realised that bartending is much more entertaining, I began to learn my ABC at the American Bar at The Connaught in Mayfair.
I then moved on to lead the bar team at Green & Red in Shoreditch (Mexican Cantina and Tequila Bar carrying the largest selection of Tequila in Europe - approx. 230) for the following 3 years, where I won many awards and built up a strong reputation among the Tequila Industry as well as the European bar scene.
Meanwhile, I travelled many times to Mexico, visiting numerous Tequila and Mezcal distilleries, feeding up my on-growing love and passion. I also ran my own Tequila Workshop throughout Europe before joining the WCC team and the Tahona Society (Worldwide Training Program) in April 2010. I have now moved on to work for Pernod-Ricard as their UK Ambassador for Olmeca Altos Tequila since July 2011."
Matthias' Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Supreme Champion trophy at the Drinks International Cocktail Challenge 2012 - the Jasmine Tea Margarita
Most proud to have been runner-up CLASS Bartender of the year 2009 during my time at Green & Red though
Claim to Fame
I met my wife at Green & Red. According to her, I am still the hottest behind the bar!
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I am a big time beer lover. I think there is a growing interest for beers in cocktail, yet it is still very much underrated. Kernel Table Ale is my current favourite because of its strong hoppiness and low abv. It goes superbly well with a side of Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila!
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Consider you don't know everything and you can learn from everyone, there is always room for improvement. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open. Mostly, don't forget that bartending is not about you but all about your guests.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
I've got something about free pouring and bartenders telling me they are too busy to use jiggers... They are normally too busy to hand squeeze their limes as well. Take a trip to Tommy's in San Francisco, they don't use jiggers there but damn they squeeze limes faster than you can free pour. Word!
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
I am not involved with drinks menu creation much any more but I would always start by learning who my clientele is and adapt to them - not the other way around. Then, use ingredients that are relevant to the venue itself and make the list accessible to your guests with simple description.
How did you get started?
Randomly. I was first working as a commis waiter in a small Notting Hill restaurant. One day the Manager asked me if I wanted to step behind the bar. Said yes!
How were you trained in bartending?
At the very beginning, I was thrown behind the bar with no skills or knowledge whatsoever and no one to mentor me. I had to learn everything from scratch on the job. I reckon this is the best school of bartending.
I was then blessed to meet the path of amazing bartenders during my spell at The Connaught, and of course at Green & Red.
Did you take any courses?
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Pop-ups, Street feasts, etc... and the constant rise of Social Media!
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I always start with the base spirit, the hero ingredient. I'd sit with it for a while, looking at aromas and flavours that talk to me. I'd then connect it to a life moment/experience, a memory and will usually build from it.
What is your favourite cocktail to make?
I have made thousands of Margaritas during my time at Green & Red and I still love it. But I found myself enjoying making a good Tequila Martinez.
What are some of your favourite tools?
Mexican elbow, just not dispensable!
What is your favourite mixology resource?
What does success mean for you?
Being able to make a difference within this Industry by sharing my love and passion for it.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
The use of Vermouth. I think it has become better understood by bartenders than it ever was before. A lot of new products out there, a lot of home-made stuff as well...
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still sharing my love and passion for Tequila and bartending, but hopefully by the beach.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I'd probably be a rich lawyer living in Brussels and bored off my head.
Your biggest career influencer?
Henry Besant & Dre Masso.
First drink you ever tried?
Was probably a Mojito, or maybe a Ti-Punch. Rum based for sure.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Whisky, the cheap stuff. It was on the day of my 20th and we were on a bus journey back from a game with my basketball team. We played a silly drinking game and it seems like the drinks kept coming to me somehow! Go figure...
I have since developed a taste for good whisky and most avoid Jager...
Your hangover cure?
Go for a run, then a Bloody Maria to rehydrate...!
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Year off to design & build my own home.
Bar or cellar at home?
Bar in my cellar!
Burgundy: Meursault in White, Gevrey Chambertin in Red.
Nothing beats a Tommy's Margarita.
Picking only one, I'd say Happiness Forgets since I'm a Londoner.
Legend of the Fall.
The Tequila lover's guide to Mexico by Lance Cutler...
Who can you trust - Morcheeba.
I'm quite into Fat Freddy's Drop at the moment.