Mixologist of the Month - Ben Reed

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Author: TheDrinkShop
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Ben's Bio

  • Date of Birth: 14th April 1972
  • Birth place: Stockholm, Sweden
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Eye colour: Green
  • Nationality: Londonder

Career to date has spanned two decades, 12 bars and four continents. Bars of note include Woody's, Met bar, Mezzo. Wrote a weekly column for the Times for two years entitled 'Barfly'. Have also written for Class magazine, Theme, Harpers, Waitrose Food Illustrated, The Guardian and too many more to mention or remember.

Currently have 9 books published including bestseller 'Cool Cocktails' and 'The Bartenders Guide'. Presented 13 episode cocktail show 'Shaker Maker' for the BBC. Appeared on many morning daytime food and drink shows including GMTV, This Morning, The Lorraine Kelly show, Richard and Judy, some old tat with Anthea Turner and many others that are now, happily, no longer broadcasting.. Currently the blue rinse brigade's mixologist totty of choice. Director of IPBartenders, the UK's first drinks and spirits consultancy.

Other titles include Appleton rum global brand ambassador, co-owner of The Rum Experience, Europe's first dedicated rum festival, and creative head of West Eleven cocktails (they're real cocktails in a bottle, don't you know).

Awards & Accolades

1997 Absolut bartender of the year.
Olive magazine 50 most decadent foodies (voted 49th).
My friends think I'm funny and I have a trophy girlfriend.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I like beer if there's no rum about and even more with a glass of rum.. anything continental.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Don't try to run before you can walk.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
They look so young these days.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Look at the location, clientele, business plan, brand offering and adjust accordingly.

How did you get started?
I fell into it while at university but unlike many I graduated.

How were you trained in bartending?
I wasn't.

Did you take any courses?

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
In my local market (Portobello) tight jeans are out and the baggy look's coming back.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
Read the brief.

What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
Daiquiri on both fronts.

What are some of your favorite tools?
Are you serious?

What is your favourite mixology resource?
At IPB we have a library of over 600 books on spirits, brands and cocktails.

What does success mean for you?
Having a weekly column in the Times for 2 years and being the best selling author for my publishers. It proved to me that the consumer was beginning to take cocktails and the mixed drink more seriously.

What is your favourite drink to make?
Any W11 cocktail - just open a cold bottle and pour it into a glass with ice. Low output - high return.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I'd use my degree in journalism, though not necessarily as a journalist.

Your hangover cure?
Don't stop.

First drink you ever tried?
Sweet sherry at a wedding in the 70's.. still enjoy the odd glass.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Too many to mention.. anything with cream.

What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Bartenders wearing hats.. stop it.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Stop writing this piece of self-promotion and go for a beer.

Bar or cellar at home?

Favourite beer?
Anything continental.

New world.

Rum rum rum.

Anything with rum.. apart from those that contain cream.

Fav Bar?
Portobello star (Jakes place).

Portobello star (great peanuts).

World location?
Top of the peak in Hong Kong.

Fav film?
'Naked' Mike Leigh.

'The Thought Gang' Tibor Fischer.

My girlfriends IPod.

I let her decide.

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