Mixologist Of The Month - Hannah Sharp
- Date of Birth: 17th May
- Height: 5'4"
- Birthplace: Liverpool
- Eye colour: Gery / Blue
- Nationality: British
"I’ve pretty much always worked in hospitality, working and learning in various bars around Liverpool. I’m a proud Scouser, as cool as it would be to bartend in other cities and countries I’ll always be a home bird. I worked my way up the industry and now own by own coffee shop/cocktail bar called One Percent Forest with my partner Dean.
I’m obsessed with Scandinavia, old and new. I found utter peace when travelling around Iceland and have used this as inspiration for OPF. We always say it’s not just the inspo of food & drink but the laid back, happy atmosphere you hopefully experience. I’m not a huge fan of cocktail comps but have done a fair share, my favourite thing about them in the people you meet. I was lucky to be part of 1887 Collective in 2019, where I met so many amazing people I now consider good friends.
Although OPF takes up a lot of my time, I’m progressing with my personal mission to make people aware of Aquavit. Aquavit is the spirit of Scandinavia and I love it! I’m currently setting up a blog & Instagram account called @valhannahdrinks where I can preach the wonders. "
Your claim to fame?
I had a beer next to Dave Grohl once, too shy to say hello, ah regrets!
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I’m a big fan of beer. I find it so exciting to see how craft beer has boomed. Some brewers are so creative with the hood and flavours they’re using. I mainly drink Pale Ales & IPAs, over summer I really got into Sours. I’m a sucker for a good label, doesn’t really matter what type of beer it is if it’s got cool artwork that’s enough for me to pick it up. I think the most unusual beer I’ve had was a Tzatziki Sour.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Simplicity is key! Don’t over complicate things, it’s so easy to get swept up with new trends. Don’t get me wrong sometimes little things can add to a drinks flavour, texture etc but remember that’s the main purpose to the drink, not it sounding “cool”.
Surly you have some pet peeves about bartenders — care to share?
One thing I hate is the “image” some bartenders feel they need to portray, like loving towards the bartender stereotype of drinking loads. If someone doesn’t feel like drinking one night, that’s sound, respect it.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus — describe the parts of this progress.
I’d say the key to this is that you understand the bars concept and brand and tie in whatever drink you create with that.
How did you get started?
I used to think I fell into bartending but the older I’ve become and looking back I realise I was kind of meant to do it. I finished school with good grades but didn’t want to go to uni as I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I thought I’d take a little time and just make some money. I had experience working within hospitality from working for the catering company my mum worked for. I walked into a bar called Hannah’s (ironic I know) and next thing I’m working there. But like I say looking back I recently found cocktail menus I’d made as a kid, they’re pretty hilarious and mainly just a shit ton of different cordials. As a teenager going to house parties I’d always find myself being the “bartender” for everyone.
How were you trained in bartending?
A lot of it was self taught just picking up parts from different bars I worked in. I worked in one bar which was pretty quiet so I’d spend my shifts reading through the Diffords guide that was on a shelf in there. The best training I ever received was in a bar called Berry & Rye. That’s where I fell in love with hospitality and learnt the importance of being a good host and the key to classic cocktails.
Did you take any courses?
Other than my personal license no, I do want to do my WSET when I have time though.
What are some trends you’re seeing in the market?
Obviously with the current situation bottled cocktails are the way. But I love following any trends to do with the environment and making bartending sustainable, I mean that’s great that it’s become a “trend” @sustainable_bartender on Instagram is great!
What’s your process for making a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
In OPF I have a little code I follow. ‘SSS’ – Simple, Scandinavian & Sustainable. If those three points are followed we’re onto a winner. If it’s a cocktail for a comp or something I do love having a core idea/story to work around so that everything has a purpose to that. I find if it involves something that I’m passionate about I’ll focus and love it more.
What is your favourite cocktail to make?
Probably the likes of a daiquiri, I love the fact it can just be three simple ingredients but make a perfect drink. That sounds like a really lazy answer, ha.
What are some of your favourite tools?
Oh I love my 20/40 jigger.
**What is your favourite mixology resource? I’m a big fan of books, I became a little bit book crazy at one point. But I honestly think I’m most inspired and learn the most on Instagram, seeing what my friends in the bartending world are up to. There’s so many good bartending accounts out there.
What does success mean for you?
In terms of a bar owner, seeing a guest for the second time, knowing they had a good experience the first time to come back. As a bartender, there’s no greater feeling than seeing people ordering and enjoying a drink you e spent so much time creating and developing.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
I guess we’re all looking for non perishable alternatives to use in bottled cocktails. I’m a big fan of using Supasawa as a citrus alternative.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Continually growing OPF to be the best it can be, perhaps another site. I’d love to see that I’ve reached out and taught people about Aquavit and people enjoy using and drinking it. I’m so passionate about it, would love to be seen as the ‘go to gal’ for it.
**If you weren’t in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now? **
I’d love to be a zookeeper or working with the conservation of wildlife and nature in some way. To be honest I’m looking into doing some volunteer work within this, just bloody love animals.
Your biggest career influencer?
Hmm I’m not sure that I have a specific career influencer. I be honest my partner in business & life Dean influences me the most, that boy just doesn’t stop, his drive for our business to thrive definitely influences me to be the best I can be. That may be slightly cringey but true.
First drink you ever tried?
My family are big whisky drinkers, my mum, dad, grandparents will have a dram most evenings before bed. I can remember talking to my friends on MSN (yes!) and my Grandma walks in telling me she thinks I should try this whisky, so I did and I remember it burning, ha. I think my first cocktail was a strawberry daiquiri in a random restaurant. I remember finding out years later that they used strawberry crusha to flavour it.
We’ve all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Ooof, I think I’ve had enough jägermeister to last me a lifetime. I held the name the Jäger princess within my friends for a while, I’m retired now.
Your hangover cure?
All the Coca Cola. Weirdly I think post mix actually helps more.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Oh I’m off around Scandinavia to drink and eat everything. I think it would be amazing to travel the world seeing the food & drink culture. I can bring my cat with me, right?
Bar or cellar at home?
Cellar all day!
Einstok- an Icelandic beer. You occasionally find somewhere that has Einstok White Ale on draught and it’s bloody beautiful.
Love a red wine, Tempranillo.
Obvs got to be Aquavit.
Petit Café du coin in Liverpool, perfect for a beer, glass of wine, cocktail, little snacks and the best service from legends.
Locally Maray in Liverpool, never fails. Matur og Drykkur in Reykjavik, Iceland.
I’m at utter peace and content when in nature in Iceland.
I love all things Disney. Step Brothers is a fave, I think I could watch it everyday.
I’d love to sound proper intelligent here but I’m going to have to say Harry Potter. Prisoner of Azkaban’s where it’s at.
For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver.
Too hard. Foo Fighters/Paramore/Sigur Ros/The Lumineers/Childish Gambino.