Luke Bensley - Mixologist Of The Month
- Date of Birth: 10th September
- Height: 182cm
- Birthplace: Sandwell
- Eye colour: Blue / Green
- Nationality: British
"I started off pulling pints in a local shop when I noticed cocktails being ordered more and more so me and my kiwi mate started watching Jamie Boudreau “raising the bar”. From there he and I were hooked.
My next step was moving to Birmingham where I worked at Bourne and Co. before moving into Gusto as bar manager. I then joined Nocturnal Animals, when Gusto decided to close its doors.
After this I found my self in a awesome independent italian restaurant called Legna, I have had a chance to write my own menu (other than consultations) for the first time in my home city. onwards and upwards."
Your claim to fame
My cousins are the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.
List of your awards, accolades, trophies
Regional champ for Betters Bitters
National Marussia brands champ
Regional Gabriel Boudier wizards champ
23rd world class 2019
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
My brother is the head brewer for Craddocks Brewery in Stourbridge so i have to name a brew called crazy sheep that they do as my favorite.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
You can always learn something talking to others is the best way to learn and improve.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Yes despite the name of this publication I don't like the over use of the word mixologist, I always prefered bartender. (its easier to spell).
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Writing a menu that fits the venue is key. Writing a Savoy style menu for your local pub isn't going to connect. So the first and most important step is research.
How did you get started?
Watching Jamie Boudreau videos in a pub. and having a dream of winning world class UK.
How were you trained in bartending?
All self taught using my family as unsuspecting guinea pigs.
Did you take any courses?
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
A move towards savory flavors, and a increase in guests looking for quality in there drinks.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I love looking at the bar or comp that the drink is for first, then start looking at the local area or history of the brand.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
A sweet manhattan, cant beat it.
What are some of your favourite tools?
Rotovaps and centrifuge’s are great because I love science but, I don't think you can beet a well balanced bar spoon its just a great feeling.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Meehans bar manual in terms of books and punch is an awesome website.
What does success mean for you?
Being happy and loving what im doing.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Savory cocktails and outlandish ingredients. But the main pull has been towards non alcoholic drinks.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I'd love to own my own place. i just like the idea of driving your own business.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I'd be teaching probably (after seeing what my misses goes through maybe not) but i used to be a ski instructor in Calgary so maybe doing that would have been an option.
Your biggest career influencer?
I have worked with so so many great bartenders, managers and personalities. everyone of them has inspired me in some way to become who i am now.
First drink you ever tried?
Had to be blue WKD. but first cocktail was a daiquiri.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Long Island Ice Tea, the devil in a glass, i remember one night we had a comp behind the bar I started out in to see who could sell the most, I came second with 96 LIIT sold, needles to say it was a messy night.
Your hangover cure?
You can't beat a caesar, clamato juice may sound wrong but its so so right.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Sort my mom and dad out for life and open a bar at Whistler.
Bar or cellar at home?
I'd love a home bar, but watch this space as i just brought a house.
Craddocks crazy sheep. Guinness.
I love a good deep red. malbec and Barolo.
Rum, I love the history and the fact that you can taste the different islands its produced in.
Sweet manhattan, daiquiri or a French 75.
Swift in london is awesome, and Dead Rabbits out in NYC, but if im drinking local the Edgbaston, 40st pauls, The Vanguard and 18/81 are some of Birmingham's best places.
I love Meat Shack in Brum and Bone Head (you know the healthy places). I do however need to give a shout out opheem and legna. the chefs I work with on a daily are some of the most talented I have ever worked with.
Calgary!!! if you have ever sat at a bar I'm behind im sure you have heard about it.
We Were Soldiers.
Not much of a reader to be honest, if its anything to do with cocktails or bartending I'll read it.
Eminem, and Five Finger Death Punch.