Mixologist of the Month - Olivia Ryan

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Author: TheDrinkShop
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Olivia's Bio

  • Date of Birth: 5th August
  • Birth place: Cheshire
  • Height: 5'5"
  • Eye colour: Hazel
  • Nationality: British

"Alike most I fell into the industry at the tender age of 16 glass collecting in my local pub! Started my first bartending job in a European beer bar and then started shaking in Australia.

Since coming back from Australia I've had the pleasure of working alongside the Beautiful Drinks/ Almost Famous team in Manchester and more recently The Savoy and White Lyan in London.

I am now with Emporia Brands as the London business development manager. I get to work with some incredible brands that I always admired as a bartender and so feel extremely privileged.

It's been an extremely exciting change and challenge and I can't wait to see what the future has in store."

Olivia's Signature Cocktails

Claim to Fame

Loudest person in the year' BTH school prom 2006.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Considering my first bar job was in a European beer bar it will always hold a special place in my heart. Because of my exposure to the European market I've always much preferred Lambic beer to anything else. Lambic's are so raw and complex and I was lucky enough to taste some mind-blowing bottles in my time at Mort Subite.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
To never let anyone tell you that you cant. Take the word cant out of your vocabulary. If you want something badly enough then go and get it and don't let anyone make you feel like you don't deserve it or cant do it.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
A lady never tells.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
It's a much different process now I am the other side of the bar. I will often get venues asking me how I would recommend they serve a certain spirit in a cocktail in their venue. You try to give advice immediately and so it's about knowing not only your product but your venues. Before I go to any venue I try to gain an idea of their concept so that if they ask me that question I roughly know what would fit/work in their venue. It's important to instil confidence in that you not only know your products but that you are finding the right products for the right venue.

How did you get started?
As a cocktail bartender it was in Print Hall in Western Australia. However my first job behind a bar was in a European beer bar in Altrincham called Mort Subite.

How were you trained in bartending?
In a variety of ways. In terms of knowledge I would say mostly self taught by going to tastings and trainings and reading whatever I could get my hands on. In terms of practical skills I guess each job I've done has left me with new techniques or a slightly more refined skill set. I also tried to go to whatever events or competitions I could to watch the way bartenders worked, moved and created.

Did you take any courses?

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
High quality bottled cocktails. I never thought I would see the day but there are some unbelievably tasty bottles out their now.

What is your favourite cocktail To make?
A Miami Vice, blenders are too much fun.

What are some of your favourite tools?
Stick blenders, blenders in general, anything that makes my life easier haha.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
Too many books to mention.

What does success mean for you?
As cliché as this sounds happiness.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope managing my own team.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I used to train race horses and polo ponies so I guess I would probably still be doing that.

Your biggest career influencer?
Jamie Jones (Aka Cocktail Hobbit) haha. He was one of the first people to ever believe in me as a bartender and is one of the most incredible bartenders I've ever met. He has a wonderful balance of being humble, insanely knowledgeable, creative and inspiring.

Also I have to include my best friend Tim Laferla who also been a huge influence.
He's also a very talented bartender and the best friend anyone could ever wish for.

First drink you ever tried?
It was Malibu and pineapple on holiday in Spain... Never again...

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Malibu & pineapple.

Your hangover cure?
2 paracetamol and a pint of water before bed.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Travel the world.

Bar or cellar at home?
Bar with a few cheeky bottles of red wine.

Favourite beer?
Cantillion Iris, if you ever get the chance to try it do it!

The 2010 Carpe Diem Sangiovese L'Attimo Riserva Speciale it was the first time I can remember honestly enjoying a glass of red.

Gin, Bourbon or Mezcal.

Definitely a Martinez however a Clover Club comes a close second.

Fav Bar?
Buck & Breck, Berlin.

L'Enclume in Cartmel. I still think about that 23 course-tasting menu to this day.

World location?
New York.

Fav film?
I honestly don't know.

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

Frank Ocean, Channel Orange.

Too many to name.

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