Sophie Bratt - Mixologist of the Month
- Date of Birth: 1st April
- Birth place: Pontefract - the home of liquorice
- Height: 5'5"
- Eye colour: Green
- Nationality: British
"I've been really lucky in my career, I've worked with some of the best bartenders and people in this industry and met some really cool people. I trained under the watchful eye of Mal Evans, Mojo and through his passion and the fact that my bar training mainly look part in The Rhum Room in Leeds, I fell in love with the category of rum so have been privileged enough to work with the likes of Paul McFadyen and Ian Burrell. Joining Harvey Nichols 7 years ago gave me the chance to add more strings to my bartending bow, opening up the world of wine, sherries and martini trolleys!! Whilst at HN I have become really interested in the correlation between social and economic trends, fashion trends and cocktail/beverage trends. I moved to London almost 4 years ago and my love of the industry and London has been reignited. London is like a giant sweet shop of bars for me!!"
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Degree Dissertation "Cocktails and Dreams: Its not all as it seems" A study on bartending
Appleton VX cocktail comp - 3rd in national finals
Bols national finals
Ketel One "Bake it, Shake it, Don’t Break it" 3rd
Influential female in the Bar industry - Theme Magazine 2008
Gin Mare national champion 2011
Represented the UK in the International final of the Gin Mare competition 2011
Regional finals of the 'Twisted Vesper' competition 2011
Regional finals of the Beefeater 24 competition
Female UK Bartending representative at International Cognac Summit 2012
Jameson regional finalist 2014
Patron Perfectionist finalist - 3rd - carried on to represent OXO & Patron at Cocktails in the City 2016
Claim to Fame
I once got asked out by the guy from The Full Monty - the one that was supposed to have a large... heart...
Q & A
How did you get started in bartending?
Ha. I messed around whilst at uni making really bad drinks in great bars and drinking more than I served! Then after uni a bartender in my favourite bar of the time, Mojo Leeds, said I drank in there so much that I might as well work there; I bar backed for about a year before becoming the first female to work behind the bar there - It was pretty much love at first shot...
How were you trained in bartending?
I was told to work hard and play harder. I was told to use all the tools I could, people, books, media and that you can only learn so much from books and that I should always try to experience things and use all the senses you have. A drink should never be one dimensional after all; it should be sensory!
Which bars have you worked in?
I worked in quite a few before and whilst I was at University. I started at a pre club bar in Wakefield learning quickly that stilettos and 10 hour shifts behind a bar suck. Harry's bar - not that one - a little pub in Wakefield - gave me experience and real ales. I moved to Leeds to go to uni and worked at Oporto briefly but I just wanted to party so moved to the neighboring bar Dr Wu's, and spent more time there than I did at uni! It wasn't until after uni I joined the team at Mojo - starting as a barback and learning from the bottom up. I moved to Harvey Nichols Leeds after about 4 years and was quickly promoted to Head Bartender, when the position as assistant manager at OXO came available it seemed a natural progression for me.... And its been an amazing 4 years - bring on the next 4!!!
What top tip would you share with other bartenders in mid-career?
'Work to live, don't live to work!' It was actually my Nan who said this to me, she thought it was great that I loved my job but wanted to remind me to live my life too. And don't be a dick...
What's your main inspiration when it comes to creating new cocktails?
Difficult to say really, but I guess life. Working for Harvey Nichols let me explore fashion trends but I find everyday things can inspire me. The other day I woke up after an afternoon snooze and scribbled down 3 recipes for drinks I had been struggling with. I think the main thing is not to force a drink.
What are your favourite in-trends in cocktail lists right now?
I love what the guys do at Shrub and Shutter and Thirst Aid box - their drinks lists are fun, tasty and unique. I love that people are having fun with menus and drinks!!
What style of cocktails do you really enjoy creating?
Drinks that make people happy.
What are some of your favourite tools?
Bottle of rum and a glass.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
My backbar and my team - you can't do anything without these.
What does success mean for you?
Being happy and loving life. It took me a long time to realise that success should be measured qualitatively.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
With more grey hairs and smile lines.
If you weren't in the drinks business, what do you think you would be doing now?
I'd probably just be drinking in a bar rather than writing this in a bar (Sovereign and Loss).
Your biggest career influencer?
Jake Burger - fed me my first martini!
First drink you ever tried?
A blue drink called a Vortex at a bar in Wakefield called Mex Millenium!! Not including my Dad's whisky and ginger he used to give me when I had a cold!
Which kind of drinks have been your one-offs - that you wouldn't try drinking or making again? And why?!
SMOKED PINA COLADA - it tastes bad, it's a pain in the butt to make and no one really enjoys it!! Take note Ian Goodman!!!
Your hangover cure?
Lots of water, carbs, trash tv, and eventually a glass of red wine!! And cuddles; lots of cuddles.
Depends on my mood - but I have many guilty pleasures!!
If in doubt just add RUM....
Style of wine?
Ilkey Brewery Mary Jane.
Anywhere with friends. But I love a good pub, The Sun Inn in Poole Bridge is definitely up there.
The Foundry in Leeds; or anywhere Richard Walton Allen is cooking!!
City in the world?
I just love London - its so easy to take London for granted, I love to take days out exploring the city, just me and my kindle. Sometimes you have to be a tourist. I fall in love all over again each time.
Neverending Story, I still cry at Artax in the swamps of sadness!!
I read anything and everything.
Pearl Jam. But I love 80's power ballads and pretty much anything you can grab and pull down air to!!
£10 million comes to you. What do you do next?
Say thank you very much - politeness costs nothing!! Then take a REALLY LONG holiday...