Mixologist Of The Month - Dave Marsland

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Author: TheDrinkShop
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  • Name: Dave Marsland
  • Date of Birth: 4th June
  • Height: 5' 9"
  • Birth place: Wrexham, North Wales
  • Eye colour: Hazel
  • Nationality: British


"Started my career back in 2007 at a local pub, then moved onto cocktail bars in Manchester Airport before heading into restaurants in Knutsford, where I became Bar Manager then General Manager.

Moved to Greene King and became Assistant General Manager for an American franchise restaurant before creating my own brand agency, Drinks Enthusiast, in 2011 and working with Northern Restaurant and Bar trade show.

Since then I’ve gained Emporia Brands, Langley’s Gin, Warner Edwards Gin, Double Dutch Mixers and Rhum St Barth as clients, written for numerous publications including Imbibe and CLASS, opened a spirit specialist shop in South Manchester called Riddles Emporium and came 3 rd in the IWSC Independent Spirit Retailer within its first year. I then created Manchester Rum Festival, the city’s first rum festival, an Italian café pop-up with PizzaExpress in Manchester named Bassano Bar, and recently opened my own Caribbean inspired bar Marigot Bay Bar and Café in South Manchester."

Signature Cocktails

List of your awards, accolades, trophies.

Winner of Chase Marmalade Vodka Signature Serve Top 3 IWSC Independent Spirit Retailer of the Year 2017 / 2018 Top 4 UK Rum Advocate of the Year 2018 Created Manchester Rum Festival Opened Marigot Bay Bar & Café Opened Riddles Emporium

Your claim to fame?

Once had David Beckham ‘like’ my Instagram post.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Some tasty stuff out there, I’m a stout and porter lover so anything from Guinness to Innis & Gunn and Robinson’s Old Tom will do me just fine.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Read as much as you can on the industry and attend as many seminars, tastings and masterclasses to expand your knowledge. Most importantly though, watch everything that happens in a bar, and critique in your mind why and how they’re doing it compared to the last place.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Lack of awareness. You walk into a bar and an acknowledgement should be given by at least one bartender on shift, instead, most seem to have tunnel vision. It’s frustrating how you think you seem to be interrupting them just to order a drink.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
To understand their customer base, what drinks have worked in the past, the direction they wish to go in and the targets to aim for. Then look at what is available to use and work from an elimination process on suitability, consistency and to an extent, trends.

How did you get started?
A Christmas temp job in a local pub. It opened more options when I didn’t know what to do as a kid once I left. Never looked back.

How were you trained in bartending?
Self-taught, although I watched the skills of many bartenders to see how they did it, and incorporated my own style.

Did you take any courses?
NVQ’s in hospitality when I worked for Greene King.

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Rum is getting huge, as is more niche categories such as Armagnac, Aquavit, Mastiha and Vermouth.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I don’t really have a set way of creating a cocktail, but it usually depends on the flavour and aroma of the base spirit. It develops from there depending on what I need it for.

What is your favourite cocktail To make?
Cause for Concern, aka the Chairman’s Spiced Negroni.

What are some of your favourite tools?
Bar spoon and mixing glass.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
Tristan Stephenson’s Curious books.

What does success mean for you?
When others ask you how your new venture is going when you haven’t had the chance to tell them personally about it yet.

What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Short, low abv and classics are coming more consistent on menus from what I’ve seen.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Owning more shops, bars and expand Manchester Rum Festival.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Still shelf stacking at Tesco I’d imagine!

Your biggest career influencer?
Simon Difford for my journalist traits, Kirsty Loveday for my brand agency passion and Mal Evans & Danny Murphy for their bar exploits.

First drink you ever tried?
Jack Daniel’s. Loved it ever since.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Cider and sambuca. Can’t stomach them.

Your hangover cure?
Room temp water before bed and toast in the morning.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy a beach bar in Saint Lucia.

Bar or cellar at home?
Did have one at home, then opened my own bar and moved it all there!

Favourite beer?

South American red.


Cause for Concern.

Fav Bar?
The Library, Bournemouth.

Hawksmoor, Manchester.

World location?
Saint Lucia.

Fav film?
Apollo 13.

Alex Ferguson autobiography.

Queen Live at Wembley '86.



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