Tim Homewood - Mixologist of the Month
- Date of Birth: 29th April 1986
- Birth place: Ashford, Kent
- Height: 5'11"
- Eye colour: Blue
- Nationality: English
"My career began at the age of 14 in a bar in Switzerland. I crept behind a bar when the bartender popped out and some guests came up to the bar. I made a Sea Breeze and a beer.
I started working as a glass collector in the resorts main nightclub when I was 18 and worked behind the bar in a little restaurant before the club opened. I then realised that bar work was good fun and decided to stick with it.
Coming back to London I worked at The Hospital before heading to Australia to 'find myself'. All I found was that I wasn't very good at drinking red wine.
Back in London I worked at Dirty Martini in Covent Garden with some fantastic people, stopping off at Funkin before opening the Cadogan Arms on the King's Road. I finally got the role of Bar Manager at Babylon Restaurant at The Roof Gardens at the end of 2009."
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Nominated for Theme's 'Bartender of the Year 2009'
Finalist of 'Cape North Competition 2008'
Winner of '2010 Saffron and Sides Competition'
Claim To Fame
I was recently interviewed on CNN where they followed me for the day at Babylon. This was part of their World at Work section.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
There's nothing better than a cold beer after a shift. I am particularly partial to Little Creatures from Australia or Anchor Steam from the United States. Otherwise a pint of Guinness always goes down well.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Be clean, be quick, learn your classics as they are your foundations and most importantly smile! It forgives all short comings.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
I think guys who take things too seriously frustrate me more often than not. We're not changing the world, we're making drinks, so lighten up and enjoy it. It's frustrating when it takes forever to get acknowledged in a bar. Keep your head up and greet your guests!
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
I am currently Bar Manager for Babylon Restaurant. I take great care to create drinks that I think are going to take guests on a journey during their time with us. It's about creating drinks to suit the beginning, the middle and the end of a meal. I really enjoy creating menus to suit set food menus... I created a great one with the team from Tanqueray last year.
How did you get started?
As with most of us, I fell into it. I started off doing it for money and then fell in love with the industry. I really can't imagine doing anything else now.
How were you trained in bartending?
Predominantly on the job... I was really lucky to work with some great guys when I moved back to London and they taught me so much! Books are also a great tool and there really isn't anything quite like watching other bartenders.
Did you take any courses?
I actually did and it was awesome. It was a one month live-in course with a group of Swedish guys. It was good fun but I didn't learn that much about making drinks, mainly just drinking them.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Obviously Gin is having a grand old time of things at the moment and long may it continue. Also, I think the Purl boys have really inspired a lot of people to think outside of the box with their drinks.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
Base spirit What I want the cocktail to say or reflect The occasion The time of the evening - or morning for that matter!
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
I love a good Corpse Reviver #2 - it always cheers me up. To make, it would have to be either a Cosmo or a Mai Tai... There's just a really nice flow to making those drinks.
What are some of your favorite tools?
Measuring spoons, books and Maraschino Liqueur.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
I like bouncing things off my team and friends, or books. I read a lot of books.
What does success mean for you?
Doing what I love to do with friends and family. Still having as much fun doing what you're doing as you did when you started.
What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
A lot of care goes into creating a cocktail. You want it to be something that you can be proud of. We all hope to make a drink that becomes a classic of the future. I actually got inspired on a night out with my brother in law when I picked up a copy of Dale De Groff's Craft of the Cocktail.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years time I hope to be opening up my own venue with some friends. I have always set out to have my own bar by the time I'm 30.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably journalism of some kind
Your hangover cure?
Corpse Reviver #2!
Your biggest career influencer?
There's a guy in Switzerland called Hugh who, when I was younger I thought was so cool. He made me realise that everyone likes the bartender. Dale De Groff has been a big influence, as has Douglas Ankrah. Closer to home though my house mate has been pretty key to my career, as have some of the guys I worked with in the early days.
First drink you ever tried?
It was a warm can of Fosters I snuck at a party when I was about 12.
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Anything really sweet... I can't really do Sambucca anymore. I try to avoid Pimm's both drinking and making.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Pay off some loans... take some friends on an amazing holiday, perhaps Necker Island, with lots of rum, then set up somewhere with a little bar!
Bar or cellar at home?
Little Creature's Pale Ale.
Something fortified... in a cocktail.
Corpse Reviver #2 early in the evening moving onto Sazeracs or Rum Old Fashioned's later.
Bodean's in Clapham - awesome ribs.
Pride and Prejudice... and Zombies.
The Color and the Shape.