Right in the heart of Soho lies Six Storeys. A boutique bar, restaurant and events townhouse.
It only opened a few weeks ago but it is already firmly on the map. Pearl & Pear are thrilled to meet and delve into the mind of their Chief Booze Engineer, and an engineer he is…
We can’t help but notice your job title. How did you acquire that?
It was job title or pay rise. I am dangerous with money so …… but seriously folks, it was a bit of a backlash at the ‘Mixologist’ title that is used to describe anyone who creates drinks. I like to think I have moved on from merely standing behind a bar, making drinks one by one and thinking I am better than my guests. Bartending hasn’t really changed in a long while and I would like to see a cultural shift.
Do you think it is possible today to invent a new classic cocktail?
Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron like fresh frozen or military intelligence? Classics have to start somewhere so I am going to say yes. The criteria being simple, tasty and have timeless style. Easy.
The question everyone probably asks… what’s your favourite cocktail and why?
I like strong and sweet drinks – Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, that kind of thing. I like to be able to taste the booze but enjoy a treat too. Like an alcoholic in a sweet shop!
London is a constant source of inspiration to us for the world of events – from new exhibitions to the people we meet, what inspires you and your work?
I used to struggle with this question because I could never pin it down. The truth is that everything inspires me. Every time I walk out of the door there is a mini adventure waiting to bring me ideas (not all good ones). Every time I turn on my phone there is access to the whole world and all of its shapes, colours, flavours and crazyiness. I have also been known to ‘dream mix’ drinks in my sleep.
What is your ‘don’t try this at home cocktail’?
I was going to say the Burnt Toffee Scotch Old Fashioned I created for Camm & Hooper but we are all responsible adults who know how to handle 400 degree sugar, right? Other than that, I would say there is nothing to hold you back from home mixing. Just try to avoid delving far into the back of the cupboard and expecting blue curacao, 3 year old Baileys and that forgotten bottle of Ouzo Destructo to make a great flavor combination.
We often have to make cocktails for large parties, what is a good cocktail to make in large quantities? It might be quite a wait for our guests, if we have to shake each one individually…
Forget shaking. Part of the Booze Engineering top cheats born out of necessity, was how do I make a thousand drinks once and not getting stuck with making one drink a thousand times. Essential for large events. Invest in a jug or stick blender with variable speeds and pre chill and dilute batch drinks you would normally shake. My go to party drink though has to be a quality rum punch. Can be made the day before and left to chill in the fridge, use a few different rums for depth of flavor and whichever juices you fancy. No need to shake just serve in a large vessel, preferably one with a tap and add enough cold water to your mix so as it is not cloying. It’s super simple and usually tastes so delicious and balanced that people are dancing on the table before they know what’s happened!
Now for a few quick fire questions… what cocktail would you choose on…
A Friday night? Non-commercial cider with a frightening ABV or a sexy IPA and whisky chaser.
A Sunday night? Bucket of Amarone or copious amounts of water depending on the previous night.
The Beach? Something delicious and fruity with rum served in a pineapple.
Valentines Day? Blanc de Blanc Champers darling
Christmas Day? Lazy eggnog made with Advocaat, rum and condensed milk. Nom.