Mixologist of the Month - Jack Rackham
- Date of Birth: 30th May 1987
- Birth place: Woking, UK
- Height: 5'7"
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: English
From a very early age I have been surrounded by the drinks industry and the colorful characters that frequent it. At the age of four I started 'working' within my father's boutique wine shop replacing the bottles on the shelves and generally making a nuisance of myself!
Throughout school holidays I remained involved within the industry sourcing out internships that enabled me to enhance my knowledge. These included working on the harvest for Camus cognac, working within the marketing department for the Symington family in Portugal, and learning the skills of hotel bartending within Pennyhill Park Hotel.
In July 2008 I joined Mahiki as a barback with the goal of becoming a bartender. Learning from some of the best bartenders in London, I was able to move up to the role of bartender after six months. Myself and Georgi Radev are currently the bar managers of Mahiki, a role with a lot of responsibility, given the degree of passion that its predecessors Papa Jules and Rich Hunt had given to the role.
Jack is UK brand ambassador for St Lucia Distillers.
Jack's Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Drinks international, gold medal winner.
St. Lucia distillers, Brand Ambassador.
Claim To Fame
Youngest bartender to feature in TheDrinkShop's Mixologist of the Month!
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Love it!! I always go for the local brew wherever I am, Piton from St Lucia is well worth a try.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Work hard, study hard and have fun with what you're doing. If the customers are remembering you for the right reason, i.e. your charisma or the quality of your drinks, you cease to be an average bartender.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Tricky one, if I'm picking just one thing it would have to be sharing a station with a messy bartender, they know who they are!
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
When creating a cocktail for the Mahiki menu the most important thing is that it remains in keeping with the Tiki' brand, not only does it have to be a good, exciting, balanced drink but there also has to be a certain degree of theater involved when making and presenting the drink.
How did you get started?
In many respects I have been born into the industry with my father in the spirit distribution business, that involvement created a desire to become a bartender and I haven't looked back since.
How were you trained in bartending?
A certain 'Papa Jules' was kind enough to give me a job bar-backing at Mahiki.
Did you take any courses?
I took the WSET course on spirits which I would definitely recommend. Other than that I am constantly attending any tasting or training session which is being offered, which within the industry is a lot.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Japanese style bartending is very popular at the moment.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
My process is very sporadic, it might come from reading something or trying a new product or simply playing around with ingredients and stumbling upon something.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
A classic daiquiri, simple in terms of its ingredients but really knowing the rum you are using and consequently altering the specs can be the difference between an average drink and a great one.
What are some of your favourite tools?
My modest collection of cocktail books.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Without a doubt my bar team.
What does success mean for you?
Enjoying what I do and seeing that enjoyment influence the people around me.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Rum and Tequila are the two spirits that are really pushing the boundaries and exciting bartenders.
What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
My back bar is often my source of inspiration, then I think of how I can complement that spirit.
What is your favourite drink to make?
Any drink that I have never made before and there will always be one of those.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to still be involved within the industry and enjoying it just as much as I am now. Working with new spirits particularly excites me and if the position of director of Pernod Ricard was offered I certainly wouldn't be saying no.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Struggling to find a use for my degree in theology.
Your hangover cure?
My bed, anything else just prolongs the hangover.
Your biggest career influencer?
My 'old man' and Papa Jules, I am hugely indebted to them both.
First drink you ever tried?
Watered down wine, I wasn't the biggest fan.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
I think for everyone it's the spirit we abused when we were younger, for me that spirit was Sambuca. Now I cant even look at it.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy a beach, build a bar, job done.
Bar or cellar at home?
I recently went to Santorini and they have some fantastic local wines.
I would never turn down a trip to the Caribbean.
Shantaram, I have been reading it for six months so I'm definitely getting value for money.
Any of the Cafe del Mar albums.