01 August 2008

Anasthasia Miller Interview August 2008

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?
A martini. My dad was fanatic for them. The second was strange: a layered King Alphonse.

2. What are your 3 favourite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?

a. Bradford a la Martini

3 parts Gin
1 part Lillet Blanc

2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters

Shaken not stirred over ice.
Strained into a frozen cocktail glass.
Garnished with a lemon twist.

b. Mi Amante
1 part espresso gelato
1 part Gin

Shaken without ice until blended.
Pour into a frozen cocktail glass.
Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg.

c. Soyer Punch Jelly
240 ml Gin

120 ml maraschino

juice of 2 lemons
120 ml gomme syrup

240 ml champagne

3 envelopes gelatin

240 ml boiling hot water

Dissolve gelatin in hot water in a jug.
Stir in lemon juice, gomme syrup, maraschino, and gin. Add champagne.
Pour contents into a glass baking dish. Refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight.
Cut into 3 x 3 cm squares.
Serve 2 squares on the base of a chilled cocktail glass with a sprig of mint and 3 fresh raspberries.

3.Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently?

Green tea ice cream. It's absolutely luscious matched up against gin. For some reason I seem to be wandering through cream drinks, jellied drinks, and hot punches lately. A couple of years ago, it was egg sours with tea syrups and drinks made with blended scotch. Green tea ice cream was an eye opener.

4. If you could pass just one thing, on to an apprentice bartender what would it be?

If you can't serve a customer a scotch on the rocks or a pint and make them feel like it is the most remarkable experience of a lifetime, get out of the business.

5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?
That's a loaded question. Basically, Jared and I are working on distributing as much information on the history of spirits and drinks as directors of Exposition Universelle des Vins et Spiritueux (www.euvs.org). In between times, we consult with spirits producers on spirits and drinks history. We believe the only way we can help elevate the professional level of the industry is to expand the new generation's knowledge base about the past: reviving the forgotten drinks not for replication but for inspiration, relating the rich history of the birth of spirits, instilling pride in an industry that is centuries old. The industry is very much at the same level cuisine was at 15 years ago. We've gone through the discovery phase, the back to basics stage, and now we're learning to work both inside and outside the boundaries to find creativity that is accessible. That's where I think history plays an important role. Find the outlandish from the past that is accessible and create fresh thoughts based on past successes.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?

Learning to love interaction with people. Learning to share what's in my heart with people.

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail, (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past). Which cocktail would it be and why?

As if that hasn't happened? I've actually my best tĂȘte-a-tĂȘtes with an equal parts Manhattan. How can you be sweet and strong at the same time? Why do you have such depth, especially with a healthy dose of bitters? Why do you leave me remembering every moment with you without regret?

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?

What I've done in the kitchen as a chef. What I see in motion pictures: I'm a movie junkie...action films, thrillers, that sort of thing

9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?

Remove the bar between the bartender and the customer. Make the bartender sit with the customer and teach the customer how to make a cocktail one on one, mano a mano. The customer will come back for more as an empowered, informed consumer.

10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
My relationship with a customer, the experience I encourage and stimulate.

11. If you were to champion a cocktail which would it be?

Well I have championed a few: the Martini, the "75" (not the French 75); the White Cargo; the Ramos Gin Fizz; the Manhattan.
My latest? A Gin and It with 2 dashes of orange bitters. Sensual, sexy, subtle, all the s words.

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