GETTING TO KNOW MASTER MIXOLOGIST: RUSSELL BURGESS

Thu 10 2016  |  admin

We put ourselves in front of bar consultant extraordinaire, Russell Burgess to bring you some inside info on the bartending scene in London; from what makes it at the top of its game to the do’s and dont’s of working behind a bar.

Born and raised in London, Russell has been working in the industry for a hefty 20 years since his first job bar-backing at live music venue, The Borderline in Soho. His attraction to the industry stems from its multifaceted nature and the fact that the skills can literally transport you anywhere in the world! Russell has been lucky enough to enjoy that fluidity and work in Sydney, Melbourne, Nice, San Diego and of course, the true epicentre of all things mixology; London. On the flip-side, when you get to Russell’s level of management, its the late nights and early starts that start to wear you down a little.

Russell is currently based at the quirky, split-level bar, ‘Loves’ Company: Cocktail Palace and Toastie Haven’, located just by Old Street Station.

**WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS VENUE:**

Being a 2 floor venue, there are two ethos’ going on – the upstairs cocktail bar which is great for dates, its intimate, a little ‘tete-a-tete’ over some amazing cocktails
Then the downstairs is a cocktail bar but the concept is more about larger groups and partying
I love my bar team – they’re amazing!

**WHAT’S THE SIGNATURE COCKTAIL AT LC?**

The ‘Sink The Pink’ which is a gin-based cocktail with homemade plum syrup and grapefruit juice

**WHAT ARE THE DO’S AND DONT’S FOR WORKING BEHIND A BAR?**

DONT lose your temper
NEVER swear unless its a joke
DO read, study, learn on the job
DO present yourself well! Clean hands are always very important – good presentation
KEEP updated on current affairs in general but maybe stay away from politics 😉

**IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE VERY IMPORTANT TIP TO A BUDDING BARTENDER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?**

Well its all a combination of learning on the job whilst also reading up on cocktail knowledge. Nail the basics and then don’t be shy to try some experimentation.
Read, read and read! Jerry Thomas has some great stuff on the basics then there’s an excellent book called ‘The Fine Art of Mixing’ by David Embury; a must-read!

**WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COCKTAIL TO MAKE?**

A Tommy’s Margarita but instead of cointreau using agave syrup. A nice nouveau classic 😉

**WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE LONDON BAR SCENE?**

It’s the best in the world! For fear of blowing the London trumpet, it has a larger diversity than NYC which would be a close second.
There’s so much more going on here. And of course it’s the the home of the best cocktail competition around; Rematch Beeyatch – https://www.facebook.com/Rematch-Beeyatch-300557693302525/

**WHEN RECRUITING NEW STAFF, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A CANDIDATE?**

CV needs to be spellchecked! It shows that you care. If you’re not confident then get someone to proof it for you. To me, spelling errors show you cant be arsed.
I don’t look at experience levels so much. But rather a candidate that shows a level of personality – be talkative – answer my questions and ask questions yourself. Its a 2 way street, I prefer having a conversation vs an interview.

Check out [Love’s Company](http://lovescompany.co.uk/) here!