Mixologist Of The Month - Andy Graham
- Date of Birth: 30th April
- Height: 5' 11"
- Birthplace: Chester
- Eye colour: Blue
- Nationality: British
"I started in the industry at an early age at my parent’s hotel helping out, but my first bar job was at Frankie & Bennys where I found I had a passion for the trade.
First real cocktail bar was at Blackhouse Grill when they first opened in Chester. I moved to Barlounge with a great team slinging bevs and having good times.
I became bar manager of a steakhouse call Upstairs at the Grill this when I found the love for flavour combos whether normal or unusual. I went on to become general manager of a speakeasy bar called Prohibition. Now I have moved on to running a sustainable natural wine bar called Native."
Your claim to fame?
Gave an ex footballer/pundits a few too many wines before he went on TV to cover a game. He said quite a few questionable things that evening!
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
The after work beer is the great thing.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Be humble, take every opportunity to learn and you don’t know everything.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
The judgemental side of bartenders, if someone like a bev that’s what they like you can suggest but don’t slag someone off for liking a Pornstar or a French Martini.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Try and hit flavour points and styles to cater for every pallet, whether it’s the sugar sweet fiend or the more boozehound, everyone needs at least one drink to enjoy.
How did you get started?
Part-time at Frankie and Benny’s.
How were you trained in bartending?
I worked in a few bars in town, but there is one bar called Barlounge they taught me a lot things.
Did you take any courses?
WSET Level 1&2 Wine.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Mainly bottled cocktails and RTDs. We’ve been smashing out them at the bar while I worked at Prohibition over the pandemic. Fermenting and sustainability is still going strong.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
I think of a flavour I want to work with and then work around that. Another thing I was doing before we had to shut was taking disco bevs and bringing a different style to them.
What is your favourite cocktail to make?
What are some of your favourite tools?
A good mixing tin and a smooth spoon.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Books & Internet depending on how much time I have. The Flavour Thesaurus used to be a go to.
What does success mean for you?
A happy guest.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Classics, bottled cocktails. Fermenting and sustainability.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Opening a bar/restaurant is always the dream.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Something to do with sport.
Your biggest career influencer?
Iain and Matthew Pennington of the Ethicurean. They are always trying to challenge the normal, from sustainability and fermenting, to a good living wage for their team.
First drink you ever tried?
I always thought it was a can of Carlsberg on a rugby tour when I was 8, but have recently been told by my sister (who is 5 years older) this isn’t true. We found a load of cider when I was 6 and had a few sips.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Jim Beam, I used to go to an indie bar and they used to give very generous measures. The smell just turns the stomach.
Your hangover cure?
Coconut water, going on a run and lot soda water usually does the trick.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy some whisky and travel the world.
Bar or cellar at home?
Cellar with a bar.
Meinklang Weißer Mulatschak.
An extra dry Gin martini or a Midori sour with a Fernet Branca float.
There are too many.
The Ethicurean or Hypha.
Any beach in Pembrokeshire.
The Tequila Ambassador.
Capdown – Pound for the sound.
The Cat Empire. Chemical Brothers.