Mixologist of the Month - Luis Simoes
- Date of Birth: 14th January 1979
- Birth place: Espinho, Portugal
- Height: 1m 90cm
- Eye colour: Espinho, Portugal
- Nationality: Portuguese
"My career started in Portugal in '98 when I finished a course in catering, management and public relations. This course allowed me to experience many different 5-star venues and from 1996 and 2000 I worked in all areas from the back office to food and beverage. From early on, I knew that the spirit world was my passion. Due to the lack of opportunities in Portugal I decided to move abroad to pursue a career as a Mixologist.
In 2000, I moved to Holland and began working for the Van der Valk group who own a chain of over 30 hotels. I started working as Assistant Manager which lasted for 3 years at 5 different establishments. The experience was fantastic and it created strong foundations for my career however I was still eager to learn more so I decided to move to London - home of the best bars in the world. In 2003, I started working for the Firmdale Group in London where I stayed for 5 years working at various places. Firmdale was where my fantastic adventure with Zoran Peric began.
It was only then that I began to understand the beauty of Mixology - I was blown away by the modern and contemporary concepts and took to the main stage as a mixologist bartender at the Charlotte Street hotel. In 2007 a new challenge presented itself when I received an invitation from the Group Bar Consultant Zoran Peric to join the opening of Skylon at D' and 'D as a Bar Manager. I spent 3 years at Skylon creating and managing a fantastic team in an extraordinary venue that will always be very special to me both on a personal and professional level.
During my time at Skylon, I managed to master the demands of high volume and the commercial side of the business.
I am particularly proud that while at Skylon, we managed to bring life to the South Bank. Skylon is now a phenomenal bar to relax at and has fantastic views of the River Thames.
In 2010 I decided to join the Lobby Bar at One Aldwych, an iconic 5-star property in London's Covent Garden. Over the past year, I have added my own touch to the Lobby Bar where you can find a relaxing atmosphere, unique service and a fantastic cocktail menu. The Lobby Bar is the home I was missing."
Meredian Park Atlantic, Portugal - Bar Supervisor
Van Der Valk, Holland - Assistant Manager
Covent Garden Hotel Firmdale, London, UK - Head Bartender
Charlotte Street Hotel Firmdale, London, UK - Bar Manager
Skylon Dand Group - Opening, London, UK - Bar Manager
Lobby Bar One Aldwych Hotel, London, UK - Bar Manager
Luis' Signature Cocktails
Claim To Fame
Triumph over Life - Step by step, battle by battle ... Live one day at the time.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer?
Beer is fantastic to relax or start a night...
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Educate your self, work hard, keep it real, be simple.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders - care to share?
Egocentric kids with no passion of mixology but for fame.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus - describe the parts of this process.
I think the most important is understanding the history of place, location, what the guest wants and their drinking habits. It's very important that I create menu to fulfill all requirements of the guest expectations by creating a balance between the range of spirits and different type of cocktail range. It is important is to create a menu that will provide a unique and exquisite experience for the guest and not for the wellbeing of the Mixologist itself.
How did you get started?
In the best way possible being as barback. Progressing step by step working hard to be better and better every day. It taught me to be simple and appreciate things more.
How were you trained in bartending?
I was very lucky as I had been trained by a guru of the industry, Zoran Peric. Zoran taught me everything I know about the industry. I have been very fortunate to have someone like him to learn from. I have been working for 6 years under his knowledge and wisdom where I have absorbed every concept, rule, creativity and finally the art of bartending.
Did you take any courses?
I didn't need to, I learnt from the best... I believe knowledge is best passed from generation to generation.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Prohibition and vintage drinks are starting to appear again.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
Create a concept. To create a cocktail I need to understand the spirit that I want to use. Learn about the tasting notes and find ingredients that complement the spirit. I'm a big fan of natural ingredients and allow them to express themself and create a balance. Bitters are to me the salt and pepper for a drink. They are the essence to create the perfect cocktail. Presentation is as important as taste, finding the right glass and the perfect garnish will make all the difference. Be creative and think out of the box in order to create harmony between the product and the visual effect.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
To drink rum old fashions. To make Twist with Manhattans at the moment.
What are some of your favorite tools?
Mixing glass without a doubt.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
My vision and muse.
What does success mean for you?
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Japanese techniques are very fashionable.
What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Day to day satisfaction in the work place as I m more happy behind the bar.
What is your favourite drink to make?
Twist of Sweet Manhattans.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still in industry but perhaps in a different job.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I think I would be a artist.
Your hangover cure?
Drink plenty of water during a heavy session,it prevents it.
Your biggest career influencer?
Zoran Peric. One of the best business men that I have seen working.
First drink you ever tried?
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Gin, can't drink it.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Travel and see the world.
Bar or cellar at home?
Both - essential to have good cellar, impossible not have fantastic bar.
Dog Point 97.
Cask 23 Old fashioned.
Rules Brian is a true gift Mixologist. But in general, any 5 start hotel makes my day.
Hat Yai - Ko Phangan, Thailand.
The God Father.
Alchemist - Paulo Coelho.
Andy C - Night life.