Mixologist of the Month - Joe Stokoe

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Author: TheDrinkShop
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Joe's Bio

  • Date of Birth: 24th August 1981
  • Birth place: Consett, County Durham
  • Height: 5'10
  • Eye colour: Hazel
  • Nationality: British

Joe has worked in the hospitality industry since still at school and always knew this would be the industry he would be involved in. After a brief stint in Australia he moved to London via Brighton to hone his skills in some of the Worlds best bars.

In 2002 he gained a position at Milk and Honey and quickly progressed to Head Bartender.

In 2004 he transferred to Trailer Happiness as Head Bartender and then took on the role as General Manager.

In 2005 he was recruited to open All Star Lanes and as the company expanded to 3 sites, took on the role of Group Bar Manager. In 2009 he was awarded the Appleton Estate UK Bartender of the year award and Class Magazine Bar Manager of the Year.

He became self employed in 2010 and has worked in Canada, New York, Qua Vadis, ECC London, The Box London and been involved in multiple events and trainings.

In 2012 he set up Heads, Hearts & Tails with Paul Mant to train, educate and on advise on new bars and brands to a generation of younger bartenders. Their aim is to give something back to an industry that has educated them, enabled them to travel to the far corners of the World and kept a roof over their heads.

Joe is about to start work with Alex Kammerling on Kamm & Sons as a part time Ambassador in the London area. He will be continuing the good work of Alex who is working on expanding the brand into new markets.

Joe's Signature Cocktails

Claim to Fame

According to Oxley Gin, I have the coldest shake in the World.

Q & A

What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
There is a time and place for all alcoholic beverages. In the words of Benjamin Franklin "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Guinness on Sundays, Tim Taylor - Landlord at any time of the day and I'm also a fan of IPAs.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Treat guests as if you would like to be treated. Treat guests as if you were welcoming them into your home.

Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Flat caps behind the bar, sorry I had to get that off my chest.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
The first part of the process is to find out and research who the clientele will be. There is no point in offering a drinks menu that does not fit the venue or those visiting it.
The drinks have to be trailed and tested to iron out any consistency problems.
The names of the drinks, It's all in the name.
Calculate the G.P. of the drinks menu. It's all very well using lavish ingredients and garnishes but if the drinks on offer don't make money then you won't be around very long to serve them.
Training staff for consistency. A drink on the menu should be made the same no matter which bartender in the bar makes it for you.

How did you get started?
I'm sure like most, I just fell into it. I started washing dishes in a restaurant when I was 15 and the rest is history. I don't think career advisor's at school offer this kind of job. They should as it's been very good to me.

How were you trained in bartending?
Most of my training has been on the job training. There's nothing like being thrown in at the deep end. Milk and Honey was a real eye opener as I was 21 and it was my first job in London.

Did you take any courses?
I've taken WSET spirit courses and passed my WSET advance wine a few months ago. No actual bartender courses though.

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Cocktail trends are always going to follow food trends. Seasonal products and constantly changing and evolving menus are pretty popular. Pre-made/batched cocktails and lower alcohol cocktails.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
It either starts out with a name, theme or base spirit and builds from there. It's pretty impossible to create and entirely new cocktail these days so it is probably based on another drink I have read about or tasted.

What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
It really depends on the time and the place but if I had to choose it would be a classic daiquiri with white rum and 5ml of Wray & Nephew. I always like to try a bartenders Mai Tai and Singapore Sling as you never get the same drink.

What are some of your favourite tools?
I'm a bit of a purist on this one. Metal on metal shaker and some Northern elbow grease.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
I guess when I first started out it was Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan and the Source guides that gave me most inspiration.

What does success mean for you?

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Older and wiser.

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Married with kids.

Your hangover cure?
A Berocca a can of coke and a Nurofen plus. I recently read that ginger is very good for nausea so I'll give that a go next time.

First drink you ever tried?
Beer. The first cocktail I ever made was a fluffy duck.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Irish coffees. I once agreed to make some for a couple at 11.55pm on New Years eve. I spent 15 minutes running around getting all the ingredients and then making it. It was not a Happy New Year!

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy a very nice house, take care of my family, invest a nice amount in shares/savings and then travel to my hearts content.

Bar or cellar at home?

Favourite beer?
Tim Taylor Landlord from the bottle.

White - Riesling.
Red - Pinot Noir.
Rose - Provence.



Fav Bar?
It's a bit cliched but the Artesian is pretty special and deserves all the awards. Rick's cafe in Jamaica for it's mix of rum, steel drum music and cliff diving.

Barrafina, Soho.

World location?
London & New York for bars and restaurants. Tulum, Mexico for it's beaches.

Fav film?
Jungle book.

Jungle book. I own an original copy from 1895.

I think I listened to Radiohead, The Bends everyday during my moody 15 and 16th years. Is this it, by the strokes was my favourite in my 20's.

The Strokes.


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