03 August 2011

Dan Warner Interview

Dan has been working the drinks industry for over ten years now. He has been both a former Theme Magazine Bartender Of The Year and was appointed Brand Ambassador for Beefeater Gin in 2006. Most recently though Dan has just won the Best International Brand Ambassador from Tales Of The Cocktails 2011. Congratulations!

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?

My first cocktail bar job was at a place called The :Last Resort in the British Virgin Islands (everything since has been a disappointment ;-) locally produced rum was US$3 a bottle and we would get through cases of the stuff. Our house rum punch was probably the first cocktail I ever made. It contained rum (lots of) guava and limes juices and Angostura Bitters

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

Old- I still love a Dry Martini- am currently drinking mine 5:1 with Lillet, no garnish.

New- The Flintlock at the Zetter Town House tastes like an Enid Blyton novel and I love it

Own- Almond Iced Tea- a really simple long drink that I just keep going back to- Beefeater 24, chilled green tea, orgeat syrup and a small dash of lemon juice

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

Tea in cocktails is something I've been playing with quite a bit. Tea covers a huge gamut of flavours; from a mild green to rich smoky Lapsang Souchong and everything in between. It offers huge possibilities in flavour and is a relatively inexpensive ingredient to make use of

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

Be nice

5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?

In the immediate future the Moscow Bar Show is looming large and is an event I am really looking forward to being involved with. Beyond that pushing on spreading the gin love. It's a massively exciting and vibrant time for gin right now, loads of new gins being launched and more positivity around the category than ever before. It's a good time to be in gin.

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

Building a place that people like coming to and keep coming back to is a hugely satisfying thing.

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?

I'd want to chat with the ORIGINAL cocktail as discovered by Anistatia Miller & Jared Brown in a 1798 article. It was made with gin, orange liqueur, ginger syrup and bitters. I'd ask it where its been all these years?

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

Food. I've "borrowed" more than a few flavour profiles from pastry chefs

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

Don't play by the rules

10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?

Environment. People don't go out just to drink. If we just want a drink we can do this at home or on a park bench. We go to a bar to meet people, enjoy ourselves and have an experience and as such it is possible to have an average drink but feel like a rock star because of the place you are drinking it and the service you receive. Many of London's hotel bars are now serving exceptional cocktails but what really justifies the hefty price tag attached is the feeling you get from amazing personal service in opulent comfortable surroundings

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

I think the Southside has some legs as an amazing vehicle for gin. It's a drink I serve to those folk that think they don't like gin. Without fail they love it and more often than not we discover that actually it's the tonic they don't like, not the gin!

I serve mine according to a recipe I was turned on to by friend and colleague Erick Castro from San Francisco; long, over ice and with the below recipe:

50ml Beefeater Gin

10ml lime juice

10ml lemon juice

15ml sugar syrup

5 mint leaves

Dash soda

Shake all ingredients except soda. Strain over ice. Top with soda. Garnish with a large mint sprig

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