Stuart Binks - Mixologist of the Month
- Date of Birth: 13th November
- Birth place: Perth
- Height: 6'2"
- Eye colour: Green
- Nationality: Australian
"Started working behind the bar 17 years ago in a Beach Hotel in Perth Western Australia. Since then I worked in several great bars around Perth before moving away. I’ve been fortunate to work in New York, Vancouver, Paris and London. I moved to London 2009 and since then worked in a handful of venues including Ziloufs, Made in the Shade and Hawksmoor Spitalfields. Two years ago on a drunk night out with a group of friends decided we decided we wanted to open our own place, so I now own (with the others) Victory Mansion a small cocktail bar/restaurant in Stoke Newington."
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
"It seems to be a case of 'Always the bridesmaid never the bride'!"
Winner of Jeffersons Barrel Age Comp
Luxardo Dalston Hipster Challenge
Winner of UK final for Mamont Vodka
Winner London Heat Gin Mare
World Class Semi finalist 3 times too name a few
Your claim to fame?
Being TheDrinkShop ‘Mixologist of the Month’
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Love beer, probably the thing that I drink the most. Favourite beer at the moment is the Forest Road Brewery ‘Work’ Pale Ale.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Taste, taste and taste. Always try the things that you serve. This goes for the spirits, the wines, the citrus, everything. This will give you a better understanding of what you are giving to the quests.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Bartenders calling themselves mixoloigists, as mixing drinks is only a small part of the job.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Getting to drink loads of booze… I mean the creative part of the process is my favourite. Trying to create flavours that are unique is quite a difficult process as most things have been done before. The challenge is to repackage older drinks to make them look new and put your own stamp/twist on them.
How did you get started?
My brother got me a job in the functions department of a hotel 17 years ago. It’s not what you know it is who.
How were you trained in bartending?
I was trained on the job. Picking up information as I went along and trying to read as much as possible. One particular Manager Gary Beadle was probably the person that influenced my learning the most.
Did you take any courses?
Bartending in Australia there are certain compulsory courses such as RSA and approved manager courses. But on top of that the WSET, spirit educationals, health and safety, First Aid and the occasional course of antibiotics.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Looking at what my colleague is creating, removing 6 or 7 ingredients and calling it mine. I’m probably inspired firstly by the combining of flavours. Working out what goes with what is always interesting.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
Simple drinks are always my favourite. A clean crisp Daiquiri is enjoyable to make and drink.
What are some of your favourite tools?
The people that I work with.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Classic cocktail books and Google. Between the two you can generally find out anything that you need to know.
What does success mean for you?
Long and expensive holidays. When I can afford these then I will feel like I’m successful. I mean furthering the industry, increasing customer knowledge and making the best experience possible for the guest.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Sustainability seems to be the trend at the moment. I’m all for this as reducing our industries environmental impact is something we should all focus on.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
On a long expensive holiday, having opened a few more bars.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably doing something with my expensive Uni Degree. Some sort of science, maybe looking at the feeding patterns of aphids or homeless, probably homeless.
First drink you ever tried?
I've seen a photo of my grandfather giving me a sip of his whisky when I was two, otherwise the first that I can remember was a class mates home-brew which was awful.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
I can’t really say that I avoid any drinks. I had a bad experience with tequila once and took a few years to come back around to liking it again.
Your hangover cure?
Generally pizza and movies while suffer in my own self pity.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
That long and expensive holiday that I've already mentioned.
Bar or cellar at home?
Work Pale Ale.
Usually a nice Minerally Riesling.
Which ever is sitting in front of me at the time. That would be my favourite.
Apart from my bar I would have to say Satans Whiskers in Bethnal Green.
Apart from my bar I would have to say Apollo Pizza in Stoke Newington.
For a city break New York, for a sunny holiday Hvar in Croatia is great and for a winter trip I would say somewhere like Banff in Canada.
The Life Aquatic.
Anything with a lot of pictures.
LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad Progression Session 6.
Benji Purslow/ Some Villains.