CellarVie Wines meets…Mixologist Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans is the 2013 Diageo World Class™ UK Bartender of the Year and mixologist for renowned Michelin starred chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton.

What is your earliest cocktail memory?

Going to a student night at a place called 'tequila tequila' in Leeds and drinking a cocktail called the Fruity B. It wasn't very good. My first 'real' cocktail experience was when I started at Townhouse. I remember being really impressed that they used fresh lemon juice and strawberry puree. I was apparently very easily pleased.

Who’s the most memorable person you’ve ever created a cocktail for?

Stephen Fry. It wasn't a cocktail, but he did call me a 'whippersnapper' which was nice.

If you could mix a cocktail for anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Winston Churchill. He liked a drink, to say the least. Him, Elvis, or Ernest Hemingway, that would be a fairly eventful lock-in.

What makes a good bartender?

Just trying to make people happy. If you think back to your favourite memory from a bar it is probably not going to be because the bartender was chucking bottles about, carving ice diamonds and using his own barrel-aged saffron tincture to make an unknown cocktail from 1850. It was most likely because the company was good, the music, atmosphere and service were spot on and maybe the bartender noticed that you like gin so made a bit of an effort making you something. It's not about us, it's about the guests.

What’s your favourite cocktail?

Pendennis. Everybody likes this drink.
40ml gin, 20ml apricot brandy, 20ml lime, dash peychauds bitters, shake and strain into a cold cocktail glass. Drink. Be happy.

What’s your favourite ingredient?

Depends on a variety of things; time of year, time of day, where I am, who I’m making a drink for. I love using things when they're at their best, so rhubarb is probably my favourite at the moment.
What’s your fail-safe recipe to mix at home?

I'm afraid to say wine. Not much of a cocktail guy at home. I have been known to mix a Negroni when pushed though.

What is the most versatile spirit for cocktail making?

Probably gin. A good gin has enough about it to be used in a stirred down cocktail or even straight out of the freezer in a martini, but it can also be used successfully in punches, sours, long drinks, short drinks - maybe not so much in a hot toddy, but I reckon I’d give it an effort.

Aside from your own ventures, where is the best place to get a cocktail in London?
A few places; Happiness Forgets, Milk & Honey, Hawksmoor, Oskar's Bar.

How has winning the Diageo World Class™ UK Bartender of the Year 2013 impacted your career?

It's had a massive impact; I have travelled a lot, got to work at some amazing places and with some incredibly talented people. Also, my Mum finally thinks I have a proper job as she saw me on telly. This year has been incredible.

Explain the inspiration behind the Tanqueray BA175 that is currently being served in the British Airways Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5, and the challenges you faced mixing it at 75,000 feet?

This was the flight from London to New York that hosted the UK final of World Class from last year. We had to make drinks at 30,000 feet in a cramped cabin (albeit that of the swanky business class cabin) in front of journalists and the industry's finest. I had extra pressure as all my equipment and ingredients had been confiscated by customs before I boarded.

The drink is supposed to represent the golden age of aviation, when flying was something unusual, something to be celebrated. I have always loved flying and the excitement associated with it and creating this drink was a bit of an honour for me - I love the fact that something I made is available to such a high end clientele. Hopefully, flying first class with BA and sipping on one of these drinks will remind people that taking to the skies is still something pretty special.

Article first appeared in Under the Skin Magazine, Summer Edition 2014. CellarVie Wines' quarterly print publication accompanies all orders on www.cellarviewines.com 


Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


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