05 November 2010
Drink Factory interview- Gaz Regan
The one and only Gary Regan surely needs no introduction (for those who need a further taste of his wit, charm and brilliant idiosyncratic take on the drinks world- and have not already done so- read his books)
1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?
Whisky Mac (scotch and green ginger wine) Prince Rupert pub, Great Lever Council Estate, Bolton, Lancs, circa 1966.
2. What are your 3 favourite drinks? With recipes if you have them; old, new and your own.
Manhattan (gaz regan's Fave)
90 ml (3 oz) Evan Williams Black Label bourbon*
45 ml (1.5 oz) Noilly Prat sweet vermouth**
6 dashes Angostura bitters***
Build over ice in a large Old-Fashioned glass. No garnish.
*Unless someone sends me some other kind of bourbon or straight rye--if it's free, I'll drink it. If I have to buy it, I buy Evan Williams Black Label
** Unless someone sends me some other kind of sweet vermouth-- if it's free, I'll drink it. If I have to buy it, I buy Noilly Prat
***No substitutions. And it's been a long time since they sent me any freebies . . .
Recipe by gaz regan.
“When my book, the bartender’s GIN compendium, was about to be released in 2009, I realized that I had to find a gin-based session drink, because I couldn’t go around promoting this book while drinking my usual Manhattans. This is the drink I came up with, and it’s a pretty good quaff, I think. Robert “DrinkBoy” Hess, though, pointed out that it’s not a far cry from a sweet Martini, circa 1900. I created a classic drink, then, just over a century after someone else'd created it!” gaz regan.
90 ml (3 oz) dry gin
30 ml (1 oz) sweet vermouth
5 dashes Angostura bitters
1 flamed (optional) orange twist, as garnish
Build in an ice-filled old-fashioned glass, stir briefly, and add the garnish.
The incredible aspect of the Negroni that not everyone understands is that it works every time, no matter what brands of gin or sweet vermouth you use. And you can slap my wrist and call me Deborah if it doesn't also work no matter what ratios you use, too. Seriously. Go up on the gin, go up on the Campari, go up on the vermouth. These three ingredients are soul mates, and they support each other no matter how you try to fool them.
45 ml (1.5 oz) Campari
45 ml (1.5 oz) sweet vermouth
45 ml (1.5 oz) gin
1 orange twist, for garnish
Pour all of the ingredients into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and sir briefly. Add the garnish.
3. Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently.
Chai tea. I’ve been drinking it for years, but only recently have I been using it in cocktails. Very complex — it brings a lot to the party.
A Very Cooperative Cocktail
Recipe by gaz regan.
Created for the Cornwall Community Co-Op, New York, for a benefit featuring John Charles Thomas on trumpet, and Bari Mort at the piano, July, 2010.
30 ml (1 oz) aged rum
30 ml (1 oz) Cherry Heering (or other cherry brandy)
30 ml (1 oz) cold chai tea
15 ml (.5 oz) simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 lemon twist, as garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupe. Add the garnish.
4. If you could pass just one thing on to an apprentice bartender, what would it be?
You’re job is to serve your guests. Serving cocktails is secondary. (God I’m getting bored of spouting that, but . . . )
5. What does the future hold for yourself, and what do you see happening in the future within the industry?
More and more and more teaching for me, I hope. I’ve been learning from 21st-C bartenders for a decade now, and I think I have something to give back.
The industry will hopefully pause to take a breath, get its priorities in shape, then start pushing the envelope some more.
6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?
Being in the moment (when you’re in the weeds), It’s the Zen of bartending.
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?
The Manhattan, my fave drink. I’d like to find out exactly where it was born, and who gave birth to it.
8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry?
The tastes of friends who have nothing to do with the booze game. It’s fun to figure out what they’d like to drink, etc.
9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule, what would it be?
Talking politics and religion while behind the stick
Drinking on the job
10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail, what in your opinion affects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
Gulpability. How easily does that drink glide down the throat?
11. If you were to champion a cocktail, which would it be?
Need I say it?