Mixologist of the Month - Gareth Franklin
- Name: Gareth Franklin - Luxardo global ambassador
- Date of Birth: 15th December
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: British
"I started working at my local pub when I was 17 and ran a bar whilst studying law at university. This ruined the plan for any other profession for me. I loved the interaction and realised I would never be able to sit at a desk for a living!
After uni I ran a few pubs but then moved to Australia for three years. That is where I really got into cocktails. I then moved back to Cambridge to be close to my family and ran bars there. I formed the Dead Liver Society, a bartender collective focused on education and raising standards in Cambridge. I worked closely with brands and was the Belvedere brand champion (like a mini ambassador) for East Anglia, as well as writing drinks articles in magazines, and running La Raza bar.
After 16 years behind the stick, Luxardo hired me as its first UK brand ambassador, I recently took the role of Luxardo Global Ambassador and now travel the world educating bartenders. "
Q & A
How did you get started in bartending?
I got a job as a waiter when I was 17 at the local pub. One day the landlord decided to take a boat trip and left me to run the place. The locals taught me how to make the drinks, and I was hooked from there!
How were you trained in bartending?
All on the job training. I think being a bar-back and then progressing up the ladder is essential. It makes you humble, builds character and is the best way of learning.
Which bars have you worked in?
Vibe and The Vineyard in Melbourne and Soul Tree and La Raza in Cambridge.
What top tip would you share with other bartenders in mid-career?
You can be amazing at what you do but not get recognition, so get out there! I did a ton of bartender competitions, worked for drinks brands and wrote articles for free to get my name out there. Create a demand for yourself.
What’s your main inspiration when it comes to creating new cocktails?
The products. How each individual ingredient tastes will determine what I do with it.
What are your favourite in-trends in cocktail lists right now?
Aperitivo culture and low abv, as they open the doors to collaborate with food more.
What style of cocktails do you really enjoy creating?
All styles. I think the most enjoyment comes from people’s reactions when they try them.
What are some of your favourite tools?
My favourite tools are all liquid! Finding a new product is like being a kid and getting a new toy. I’m playing with the Luxardo Bitter Bianco a lot at the moment. We have just launched it. [Spring 2017].
What is your favourite mixology resource?
London. This city is home to the world’s best bars, newest trends and best bartenders. Add that to an amazing food scene, and every day becomes a school day!
What does success mean for you?
Doing something you love and getting paid for it. None of us got into bartending for the money!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ve got a few ideas…
If you weren't in the drinks business, what do you think you would be doing now?
I think something arty.
Your biggest career influencer?
Dean Callan definitely changed the way I saw the brand ambassador role and how far you can truly make it your own.
First drink you ever tried?
My Dad makes his own liqueurs. I remember foraging rosehips as a kid and tasting the liqueur we made. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it!
Which kind of drinks have been your one-offs - that you wouldn’t try drinking or making again? And why?!
I’ve tried Baijiu a few times, but just can’t get a taste for it. That’s being polite.
Your hangover cure?
Two or three cups of tea, depending on the severity.
Moby Dick Sazerac at White Lyan. I went to its closing night, so I could drink it one last time but they ran out. Gutted!
Style of wine?
White and quaffable.
Ice cold San Miguel Pale Ale from the Philippines.
Too many. Everywhere I travel to, I see where Anthony Bourdain has eaten, and then go there. It never disappoints!
City in the world?
Something fun, the Marvel movies are pretty solid.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
£10 million comes to you. What do you do next?
Give it to me and I’ll show you!