18 January 2012

Alex Kamerling Interview

What do you do after you've worked your way around the world, after you've worked for some of the biggest names in the industry and after proved yourself to be a world class cocktail maestro? Well if your name's Alex Kammerling you lock yourself away, import exotic botanicals from all over the world and create your own spirit!

Inspired by the medicinal history of alcohol, the resulting ginseng spirit is composed of 45 natural botanicals including grapefruit peels and manuka honey alongside four different kinds of ginseng. Previously called Kammerlings, the spirit has recently undergone a re-brand due to a dispute with a German brand. Now called Kamm & Sons the new name reflects the family involvement and indeed inspiration behind the product (Alex's great grandfather worked as a confectionist specializing in herbal remedies).

1.What was the first drink/spirit you ever tasted and what was your reaction?
Aquavit from my parents drinks cabinet. Said to myself there and then I would never have another spirit again in my life...

2.What is the first cocktail you ever made?

No idea...being shown how to make a singapore sling on my first bar job rings a bell though

3.What was the first drink/spirit you really fell in love with and why?
Campari – Although I hated it the first time I tried it...but it takes a while to fall in love!

4.What is a flavour you have discovered recently?
Currently playing with Bergamots

5.What does the future hold for yourself/product/company?
Lots of work, lots of travel, line extensions and other general world-domination activity

6.Any industry predictions for the next couple of years?

Drinks simplification – less is more

7.What is your greatest satisfaction from creating your own product?

People coming up to me and telling me how much they love it is amazing!

8.If you were to have a conversation with a spirit (and presuming it could talk back and tell you its past) what would it be?

Would love to have a good old chin wag with a bottle of Punt e Mes

9.What are your 3 favourite cocktails?
Negroni, Martini, Boulevardier

10.What prompted you to make your own product?

I wanted to make a ‘Healthier’ spirit as I was concerned by the amount of hard liquor I was consuming!

11.If you could pass just one thing, on to a young bartender what would it be?
Don’t lose focus

12.What has been your biggest satisfaction from working with Bartenders?

Experiencing their passion and dedication

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

I love scultpure (used to be an artist!) Architechture, Photography

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

I would finger the glassware.

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

Good company

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

Adam & Eve – Kammerling’s, Lychee and Grapefruit juice served tall over ice with a lemon wedge and a slice of cucumber. Best cocktail in the world. FACT.

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

Just meeting a cool bunch of passionate people

18.What gin do you prefer in your martini?

Can’t go wrong with Tanqueray

You can find more about Alex and his ginseng spirit Kamm & Sons Here

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