25 March 2011

Esther Medina Cuesta Interview

Esther Medina is arguably the first lady of the London bar scene. With a beautifully refreshing attitude, throwing the emphasis back onto customer satisfaction instead of personal expression, her passion for her work shines through the brightest.

1 What is the first cocktail you ever made?
-It was probably a spiced tea with a hint of triple sec that I made while helping my cousin with her Nursing Final Project.
My first original behind the stick was a twist on a Webster but, of course, I didn't know that at the time.

2 What are your 3 favorite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?
-Travelling to the past, I couldn't choose between a slightly wet Martini or a Manhattan with Rye and Italian style vermouth dashes of Maraschino and Angostura. But, if I don't mention a Sazerac or a nice sharp Side Car they will probably get jealous and never allow me to enjoy their beauty again. This said, though, I do love any good spirit stirred with ice with something sweet sweet and bitter. As you can see, I don't believe in drink monogamy.

New drinks? An Esspresso Martini (bless you Mr. Bradsell) made with rum or tequila and a good coffee liqueur - no sugar mind but sometimes a bit of homemade falerum.

My own, Royal Up Beet: 2 spoons of beetroot puree –beetroot just steamed and blended-, ½ a part of Maraschino liqueur, ½ a part of Agave Sec –or very dry triple sec and some agave syrup-, pinch of grounded cumin, 1 part sexy Blanco tequila, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, 3 parts of Rose Sparkling wine –nothing too dry best something rather fruity. Mix in a tin and serve in a frozen flute with one ice cube. Garnish with fresh crushed black pepper and a long lime string.

3 Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?
-The latest addition to my ingredients pot is watercress. Its freshness is a natural wake me up and it’s a good source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins – it’s a great revitalising ingredient.

4 If you could pass just one thing, on to an apprentice bartender what would it be?
-‘The guest should be the focus of your craft’ or ‘never forget that a good bartender must be a good host’ or ‘Be knowledgeable but humble’ or ‘clean as you go’!
Just one thing? Be professional.

5 What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?
-I see myself continuing to spread the passion and satisfaction of this noble art and industry evolving towards a bright innovative future rooted in its history and stories.

6 What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?
-Every time a guest comes back.

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?
-That has happened to me! We talked about their roots and essence, their evolution and transformations and their raison d’ĂȘtre.
But they don’t let me interview them! If I could prepare a list of must-answer questions it would probably be for the Brandy Crusta.

8 What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?
-The ingredients themselves, people. The weather.

9 If you were to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?
-I broke David Wondrich’s Esquire rule number 99 a few times…

10 Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion affects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
-Occasion, company and atmosphere. You need to read the moment.

11 If you were to champion a cocktail which would it be?
-Pink gin, made with Plymouth Navy Strength.

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