Mixologist of the Month - Sam Rose

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Author: TheDrinkShop
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Sam's Bio

  • Date of Birth: 2nd September 1988
  • Birth place: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Eye colour: Brown
  • Nationality: Kiwi

"I started as a glassie in a pub and music venue in Auckland after I'd dropped out of Music school and quickly progressed to pouring pints and within six months to management at the ripe age of 18. I eventually moved onto a junior bar role at a nasty night club called margaritas which only lasted a few months before I moved south to Wellington and worked in a few venues in town.

Once I moved to Melbourne I found work in a Busy Mexican restaurant and a few clubs here and there. I eventually moved into my first cocktail gig at Laika in St Kilda. Laika had a strong menu of classic drinks, which showed me progressing quickly. I then moved to the Seamstress in Melbourne CBD where my technique and skill was developed.

In 2013 I moved to Edinburgh and began working at Panda & Sons and progressing to a senior role and part of the opening team for the second unit due to open soon."

Sam's Signature Cocktails

Awards, Accolades and Trophies

Scottish Finalist Diplomatico World Tournament 2015.
Scottish Winner Byrrh Competition 2015.

Claim to Fame

Meeting Dan Akroyd in Sydney and having him talk extensively about his vodka when all I really wanted to talk about was Ghostbusters.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Beer is my favourite beverage. I'm lucky enough to be doing some work with the production team at Knops brewery outside of Edinburgh and would definitely rate their beers. Particularly the Musselburgh Broke. I try as often as possible to try new beers as we are lucky enough to be in the middle of a craft beer explosion in the UK. Nothing quite beats a Tennent's though.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Be prepared to work hard. Get a decent pair of shoes. Mixing drinks is only part of it. Be a good host.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Turn it off guys. Not everyone knows how to make that ridiculously obscure cocktail or really cares. It's your day off. Have a beer bro.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Hitting the target demographic is key. Do some research and know whom you're selling to.
Start with products available to use and structure the menu. What style drink should I make from which spirit category?
Are you keeping with a theme or is the menu divided into drinks categories or style?
I tend to keep drinks relatively simple. Slight twists on classics are my preference.
The drinks will always vary between venues but having a good variety and maybe a few low alcohol drinks is good anywhere.
Beer and Wine lists are just as important and should reflect the cocktail menu.
Get feedback and ideas from other staff members.
Decide on a layout and font. Having a menu that is visually appealing and reads well is important.
Run some drinks as specials before launching. Just because you like them doesn't mean a typical customer will.

How did you get started?
I started in pubs and nightclubs. Cocktails came much later.

How were you trained in bartending?
I was trained on the job. I've been lucky enough to work in a lot of different kinds of venues. I barbacked at a venue in Auckland then moved up to the bar and pulled pint sand served burgers I eventually went to a Nightclub where speed was key. After that I moved to Melbourne and did the restaurant thing as a waiter and dispense bartender. After a short while I managed to talk my way into some great cocktails bars and have been lucky enough to work with some true Bartender Jedi. I think having such a diverse background is essential for anyone wanting to progress in the industry.

Did you take any courses?

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
More and more people are enjoying cocktails and they are become an essential part of any menu. Typical customers are becoming more willing to try new things. I love what the boys and girls at Bramble and Lucky Liquor are doing with there mini lab set up which is a pretty excellent bit of kit. Molecular Mixology popped up a while back, I think now we are finding a realistic approach to it. Classic cocktails always seem to have there place and I hope always will. I remember when making an old fashioned used to be rare. Cheers Don Draper.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
And what inspired you in the first place? Depends on my mood. I'd normally start with a style I want to go for and flavours I want to achieve then select a spirit base I think would suit and go from there. At the moment I have a thing for making syrups from fresh produce as a way to get huge concentration of flavour from a small amount of liquid. If I have a good idea for syrup I might often use it as a start for an idea for a drink.

What is your favourite cocktail To make?
I love making Tiki drinks. Go crazy on a garnish. Load's of rum.

What are some of your favourite tools?
A sharp knife and a blender.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
I've recently discovered "Liquid Intelligence" by Dave Arnold. He's a wealth of knowledge.

What does success mean for you?
Progressing in a career that fulfils you.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully working for myself. Maybe a wine bar in wine country or a tiki hut on the beach somewhere. Or retired.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably perusing a failed music career.

Your biggest career influencer?
My old boss David Hobbs. He knows everything. He also showed me there's more to the industry than bartending.

First drink you ever tried?
Scrumpy Cider. Gaffer taped to my right hand.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Scrumpy Cider. Gaffer taped to my left hand.

Your hangover cure?

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy a few acres in NZ and make wine.

Bar or cellar at home?

Favourite beer?
Kirin Ichiban!

2013 Te Mata Syrah.

American Whiskey.

Mai Tai.

Fav Bar?
Nevermind, Barcelona.
Garibaldi's, Edinburgh.
Rum Diary, Melbourne.

Gardeners Cottage, Edinburgh.

World location?
Tisno, Croatia.

Fav film?
Road House.

On The Road, Jack Kerouac.

Fat Freddy's Drop.

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