Mixologist of the Month - Lindsay Blair
- Date of Birth: 15th April
- Birth place: Northern Ireland
- Height: 170cm
- Eye colour: Blue
- Nationality: British
"I started off bartending as a hobby while I was studying abroad. When I moved back to Edinburgh I started working in Juniper part time until I finished my degree. I wanted to pursue the drinks industry further so became a full-time member. Since then, I have been learning and developing while running Juniper with my colleague Lulu.
More recently, I have been working on opening a new bar within the same company called The Lycan. Due to open this December, it's a speakeasy style bar focusing on the guest's experience while producing high quality cocktails that all tell a story. It will be sad leaving Juniper but I can't wait to manage The Lycan. There might even be the possibility of a working still on the back bar so I'll have the opportunity to learn to distil."
Lindsay's Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
2014 Scottish Hotel Awards, Bar of the Year.
2014 Scottish Hotel Awards, Food and Drink, Special Commendation.
2014 Scottish Hotel Awards, Place of Excellence, Rising Star, Bar of the year.
2014 Scottish Hotel Awards, Special Commendation, food & drink.
2014 Scottish Variety Awards, Best new venue in Scotland.
2015 Scottish Hotel Awards, Informal dining hotel of the year.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I rarely drink beer but when I do it's usually an IPA. I'm a massive fan of using different beer in cocktails though. Again I like the complexity of bitter ales or stouts.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Try to have as much fun as possible on the job, negative atmospheres are very apparent to customers.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
I hate the snobbery associated with bartending these days, and self-righteous bartenders who judge customers based on their drink choice.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
I first assess the venue and come up with a few ideas that would suit the customer base, then determine the skills of the staff and the practicalities involved in producing the drinks.
How did you get started?
I was studying in Barcelona and wanted to come back to Edinburgh with a few more skills so I approached the owner of a new cocktail bar and asked if he would teach me the basics to bartending. I offered to work for free in return for the "master class", but it became my full time job while I was there.
How were you trained in bartending?
On the job training.
Did you take any courses?
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Nowadays bars, at least some, are more focused on satisfying the customer. The drink plays a massive role but paired with bad ambience, unhappy staff and poor service, it makes for a terrible experience.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I will sample the base spirit and try to identify tasting notes. I then play with different flavour combinations based on that and decide which style would suit the drink. I'm lucky to work in a bar/restaurant with a lot of options when it comes to flavours and techniques.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
I love making Singapore Slings and Sazeracs.
What are some of your favourite tools?
An ice pick. Making block ice is one of my favourite jobs.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
I have a couple of books that I refer to but generally a google search will do the trick.
What does success mean for you?
Enjoying my work the pride that comes with it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have thought for a while about moving back to Barcelona, but that's further down the line. I would also love to get into distilling.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably focusing on interpreting and translation.
Your biggest career influencer?
Mostly my colleagues, in particular Lulu Fedi, Juniper Bar manager.
First drink you ever tried?
First drink I had was probably Port stolen from my dad's cupboard. The first cocktail I made was a Mojito. Barcelona's finest!
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
I hate how messy shakers and jiggers get with Bloody Marys. Tomato juice doesn't appeal to me at all!
Your hangover cure?
Eggs in any form.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Bar or cellar at home?
I have a modest selection at home, mostly wine and gin.
Caesar Augustus IPA.
For red something heavy like a Pinotage, for white I enjoy heavily oaked Chardonnay.
Sweet Manhattan with Pedro Ximenez.
Commerc 24 in Barcelona.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
La Symphonie Pastorale.
Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile.
Nine Inch Nails.