The Authentic Gin Master
What’s your first thought of a great bartender? A hipster look alike doing fluffy cocktails, making a parade of one’s skill and innovation that catch the attention in the bar? To Angus Winchester, a notorious bartender who is going to open his own bar -- The Embassy, in Brooklyn NYC, nothing is more important than refocusing on the basic – Authenticity.
Mr. Winchester is definitely a cocktail maven, but he had another identity – he was the global ambassador of Tanqueray gin for seven years. In this sense, he has extensive opportunity traveling worldwide and seeing the rituals and the social aspects of drinking. The Embassy therefore is dedicated not showing off any country, but representing the drinks and the hospitality, and demonstrating global rituals.
So is Mr. Winchester designing the cocktail list for the Embassy?
We are not goanna have any original cocktails that our bartenders create. I really believe that the best cocktails are the classics. You can’t beat a Daiquiri, a Margarita or a Manhattan. Sure we are also going to serve signature drinks from our favorite bartenders, but we always think simplicity is the best. I don’t want it to be a high-concept bar.
Bartending is like playing music
How would you comment to those creative cocktails nowadays?
Well, I think generally it’s one of the problems in the industry. In the past 30 years we have fantasized creativity. And I personally believe that a great bartender is like a great musician. You don’t need to write a new music but you have to play the instrument very well. You have to able to interpret the music.
Do you have any signature drink?
Well I would say I don’t create any cocktail that worth drinking, but I have certain drinks that I’d order in bars around the world. For instance, the three-rum Daiquiri, in which I choose three different rums in the drink instead of double-measured single rum in classic Daiquiri.
Do you see any evolving trends in the industry?
Well, there’s so many trends going on. As I regularly deal with the cutting edge of the industry, I can tell that on the big trends it’s about sustainability. The idea of using only seasonal ingredients is growing locally. In terms of liquids, sherry is becoming very fashionable again. Bartenders are very realizing the benefits of low alcohol drink as well as the vast flavors you get from a crisp, dry, over-salty fino sherry, all the way through to massively rich agave spirits, notably not just tequila, but Mezcal. In fact there are different types of Mezcals like Tobaziche, Tepeztate and the Mezcal category is becoming confusing again. Of course as a category growth, it just means more choices but it needs more education to
The Revival of Gin
So what about gin?
When I started my bartending career, the training would be lot easier as there were only less than ten brands of gin. A newly-opened bar in Singapore offers 1,200 brands of gin now. There’s a massive explosion in the world of gin for a couple of reasons. First it is an authentic spirit as so many early cocktail are gin-based. Secondly it is actually the hardest spirit to make well. It’s a real challenge to the distillers to extract all of these flavors in those natural ingredients. Finally, gin is quite a globalised spirit. Rum, whisky and tequila are produced with local ingredients but gin is about lemon, nutmeg, juniper, cinnamon, coriander, etc. You need to be connect to the rest of the world to make a great gin.
What do you think of the best gin in the world?
Well, you know I was the global ambassador of Tanqueray gin for 7 years. If any person has ever told you anything of the best gin, ignore them, because there is no best gin in the world. Just as there is no best car in the world, it is personal preference. But if you look for some parameters, Tanqueray is the benchmark. So if you came in the bar and you have never drink gin before, Tanqueray is the standard by which you can judge on other gins -- whether it is fruitier, spicier, stronger or lighter, etc.
Tanqueray is the gin of the British Royal family. It’s most awarded gin in the history. In particular Tanqueray No.10 is seen by many people as reinvigorating the gin category, showing people what gin could be. Furthermore, it’s one of the only two spirits to sit in the San Francisco Spirit Competition Hall of Fame. Another one is Bowmore 25 years, which is definitely an awesome whisky.
How would you define a Dry Martini?
Dry Martini is definitely one of the best iconic drinks on the planet. Before making a dry martini, you gonna ask yourself four questions.
Firstly, ingredients. What kind of gin, vermouth and bitters you gonna use?
Secondly, the portion of each ingredients which defines how dry the martini is. The drier the martini, the less vermouth is added.
Thirdly it’s the James Bond question: Shake or Stir? They contribute to the final appearance and taste of the cocktail.
Finally, it’s about the garnish, whether you use orange, lime twist, cherry, olive, etc. It makes a difference.
Today, I gonna show you how to make a 50/50 Dry Martini.
你對調酒師有甚麼印象？ 時尚討好的外觀，以炫目技術和革新精神調出大膽的雞尾酒？對於Angus Winchester —— 世界著名的調酒師，並即將在紐約布魯克林區開設酒吧The Embassy，沒有甚麼比重新回歸雞尾酒的基礙更為重要。
Winchester先生絕對是一位雞尾酒專家，但他也有另一個身份 -- 曾擔任Tanqueray毡酒的環球品牌大使長達七年。他經常有機會前往世界各地不同的酒吧，深入了解各國的飲酒文化。因此，「The Embassy」並不是任何國家的大使，而是展示全世界的品飲文化，並將酒吧焦點回歸到真正的雞尾酒和服務上。
嗯，你知道我擔任Tanqueray這個毡酒品牌的全球大使有七年之久。如果任何人告訴你毡酒A或毡酒B是世上最好的毡酒，儘管置之不理吧，因為根本沒有最好，就像世上沒有最好的車一樣，好壞全屬個人喜好。但是如果你要尋找一些標準，那麼Tanqueray就是典範。如果你從來沒有喝過毡酒，當你走進酒吧，Tanqueray絕對是你判斷任何其他毡酒的標準 —— 對比Tanqueray，你能講出哪一款毡酒是偏向果香、濃郁、強壯還是輕盈。
再說，Tanqueray是英國皇室毡酒品牌，更是歷史上獲獎最多的毡酒，特別是Tanqueray No.10，許多人把他視為重振毡酒威名的酒款，向人們展示毡酒的可能性。此外，Tanqueray No.10是三藩市烈酒比賽HALL OF FAME中僅有的兩枝烈酒之一，另一款是Bowmore 25年，絕對是偉大的威士忌。