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Mixologist Of The Month - Lexa Ulijaszek

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Author: TheDrinkShop
  • Date of Birth: 14th February
  • Height: Tall enough to help old ladies in supermarkets
  • Birthplace: Huntingdon, Cambridge
  • Eye colour: Blue
  • Nationality: English / Australian

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Bio

"Currently bartending at Callooh Callay Shoreditch, I can generally be found round east stirring up drinks and shenanigans. Previous roles include Head Bartender at Aqua Shard, as well as Head Bartender at the Allbright Collective, Mayfair (Mayfair’s first women only Members Club). I also competed in and won the 2019 Funkin innovation championship, and The Wrecking Coast's 2020 competition, and have a passion for nerdiness and silliness. While not behind the bar, I also co-founded and co-run the organisation ThreeAfter3. ThreeAfter3 is a feminist project which runs talks and interviews with prominent women in the bar industry, aimed at promoting connection and education with women in the industry!."

Your claim to fame?

I once caught thirty grapes in my mouth in a row. No one saw, but it happened.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Big fan of beer- I actually used to work in a microbrewery! I tend to go for ales over lagers, and generally love a saison or a stout! Siren are one of my favourite breweries, their Ryesing Tides rye IPA will knock your socks off! Otherwise Left Hand brewery in Colorado do a milk stout that is the cat’s pyjamas.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Find whoever around you is passionate and follow them. Remember to sleep. Don’t wear your nice shoes to work. Bring snacks. Always.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
I guess it would be flipsides of the same thing… people who don’t care about their work… and people who take it too seriously- No judgement on drinks!

How did you get started?
I mean I pulled my first pint when I was fourteen… so it’s been a roundabout kind of journey!

How were you trained in bartending?
I mean, I kind of wasn’t… I sort of followed around whoever could teach me anything after I started working in late night cocktails, and grew from there!

Did you take any courses?
I’ve taken my WSET’s- Levels 2 and 3 in spirits.

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
No and Low ABV drinks are obviously huge at the moment- Which I love.

What is your favourite cocktail To make?
I tend to start by thinking about the overall flavour profile- so if I want something that’s light and tastes like strawberry, for example, I’ll start with that and build out. I love a drink that’s the simplest thing it can be. My favourite cocktail to make? A pangalactic gargle balster. Or a martini.

What are some of your favourite tools?
Ice pick!!! Both fun AND dangerous.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
I’m a big fan of Jeffrey Morganthaler’s books.

What does success mean for you?
Getting to a place in your life when you respect and enjoy what you do.

What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
I think we are definitely trending towards cleaner, simpler cocktails, fewer ingredients, and less pomp and garnish.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ideally sipping margaritas in Tahiti, but we’ll see...

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably working in theatre production, which is what I was doing a few years ago… I think there’s just something fun about getting to see how all the cogs turn.

Your biggest career influencer?
Maybe Hannah Lanfear, at The Mixing Class. Very cool woman.

First drink you ever tried?
Honey mead, that I remember… First cocktail was a raspberry daiquiri.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Flavoured or sweetened rum… Too much Malibu as a teenager! Plus the sugar makes for a hell of a hangover...

Your hangover cure?
Hash browns and a red snapper. Or Champagne. Champagne cures all.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Pay off my parents mortgage, start an Armagnac brand… Move to Tahiti and sip margaritas.

Bar or cellar at home?
Bar.

Favourite beer?
Guinness.

Wine?
Love an old world Pinot Gris.

Spirit?
Cognac.

Cocktail?
Cognac 75.

Fav Bar?
Like choosing a favourite child… I have a soft spot for Gordons wine bar in the summer.

Restaurant?
Diyarbakir - Best Turkish on Green Lanes!

World location?
London, always London.

Fav film?
The Princess Bride.

Book?
Jane Eyre.

Album?
Pet Sounds, Beach Boys.

Singer/band?
Abba.

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