Mixologist of the Month - Gavin McGowan Madoo
- Date of Birth: 25th May 1978
- Birth place: London
- Height: 6'2"
- Eye colour: Hazel & Green
- Nationality: British
"I started off working in the Pub trade. After a few years of that, I got a 6 month stint as a bartender at Adam St Members club. I then went on to work in functions and got grounding in a couple of restaurants and bars. In 2005 I started at Michelin Star restaurant Amaya in Knightsbridge, here I became head bartender.
In 2006 I saw that the owners of the Wolseley were opening a new restaurant called St Alban. I started there in 2006 and had finally found a dream job. I became head bartender after 1 year and then Bar Manager.
When St Alban was sold in December 2009, I moved to the Wolsleley as Head Bartender. That was until May 2010 when the opportunity of being the Bar Manager of Bar Boulud came up and am there now."
Gavin's Signature Cocktails
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
2009 Galvin cup Belvedere competition 3rd Place
2010 Chambord Rendezvous Winner Best Martini
2011 'Best Son in the World' (as per the Birthday card from my Mother)
Claim To Fame
I was in the Opera Tosca with my school choir for a 2 week run at the Earls Court Exhibition in 1990.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I love a beer, we have a great selection of 9 draught and 7 in bottle at Bar Boulud, all from craft breweries. I am really into Harviestoun Schaehallion, Schenide Weisse Mein Halles, Sierra Navada and Whitstable Oyster Stout.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Don't settle for being average! Strive to be the best that you can be in what you do.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Lack of speed of service, I can't bear laziness or deliberately slow service. Guest acknowledgement is also crucial, just let people know that they exist.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Everything is about balance and diversity, first of all you need a balance and diverse list of products, then a balance of prices, followed by nice balanced cocktails and finally a balanced and diverse cocktail list trying to cover different tastes (fruity, dry etc.) and styles of drinks (long, short, martini).
How did you get started?
In Pubs for the drinks industry and at Adam St for cocktails.
How were you trained in bartending?
As with almost everyone I know it is done behind the bar, learning from those with more experience than yourself, then reading cocktail books and also attending as many trade shows and tastings as possible.
Did you take any courses?
WSET intermediate and Advanced in Wine and Spirits (it is mainly wine based).
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Gin is In. A real love for gin has evolved over the past year in bars. Bitters are also having a real impact on creating drinks again.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
I think about matching flavours, I usually start by tasting either the primary or secondary spirit in the cocktail, and work from there. The season is also important.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
Am loving White Lady's this year!! I love making Espresso Martinis.
What are some of your favourite tools?
Muddler and a Boston Shaker.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
What does success mean for you?
Success is making people happy, giving them an experience to remember, and creating a bond for the short time you have together. If you can do that everything else should follow.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
We seem to be really going backwards to come forwards. The past, once a little bit researched is so interesting and creative that it can only inspire. I see a lot of labs now as well once again harking back to the medicinal/scientific origins of alcohol.
What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Creating a cocktail has to start with the flavours. Whatever you start with, be it a base spirit or a fruit or a liqueur, you must match, compliment and balance the flavours. My inspiration are the drinks and the bartenders I see when I am out having a drink. I also draw a lot of inspiration from chefs and particularly pastry chefs.
What is your favourite drink to make?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working for a drink company in one form or another (Be it a rep, or on the marketing side).
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
The Music industry A&R or management.
Your hangover cure?
A few options. 1. Don't drink. 2. Lots of fizzy mineral water and some nurofen express. 3. A Fernet Branca.
Your biggest career influencer?
Joining Rex Restaurants(Chris Corbin & Jeremy King's company). Working for and alongside the directors and managers of that company is the best and most inspiring career move I ever made.
First drink you ever tried?
My uncle's Bacardi (I thought it was water, he thought it was hilarious).
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Make sure my family are taken care of then spend... A LOT!!
Bar or cellar at home?
Harviestoun Shaehallion (on draught).
Leon Barral Faugeres Jadis 1994.
Gin, Rum & Tequila.
Apart from Bar Boulud, to feel at home: Cottons, more formal: The American Bar.
Goodfellas & True Romance.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Has to be James Brown, Sam Cooke, Kings of Leon, Jodeci, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Guns N Roses, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Anthony Hamilton, Frank Sinatra, Lenny Kravitz and a thousand more.