Joshua Reynolds is 22 and works at Pollen Street Social in London. He has been bartending for the past two and a half years. Joshua goes through to the World Class UK 2012 Finals with his Asian Fusion-inspired recipe, Tongue-Thai’d.
What does the World Class competition mean to you?
For me, the World Class Competition, or any highly respected competition for that matter, is about absorbing knowledge, then processing it in the way that you bartend. The World Class is on a global stage, so the best compete, it’s probably one of the only times you will ever be allowed to learn so much – that’s if you want to learn of course. The World Class allows you to let people know who you are through your skills and the way you are as a bartender. I intend to do just that.
What is your earliest cocktail memory?
My earliest cocktail memory would have to be watching my older brother make me a long tequila drink. It’s all I ever used to drink back then.
Did you choose the profession or did it choose you?
A bit of both I suppose. I didn’t have a job and was pretty bored, so I was given a job as a bar back. I did that for three months, then got put on the bar. It soon became apparent how much fun you could have making drinks (and then drinking them…) I must say I was lucky to be taught by some amazing bartenders, one of which, a guy called Gareth Evans, showed me the way you put together a cocktail, history of cocktails, categories of cocktails, garnishes, pretty much everything. So I learnt a lot very early on and having all this information all at once and the fact that I could remember it all, was a clear sign that I obviously wanted to learn the art of bartending.
How do you think bartending is regarded as a career?
Well, I think any job in the service industry is slightly looked down upon; however, if you get the chance to engage with someone who doesn’t actually know what bartending is all about, they are often very, very shocked.
If drink hadn’t entered the equation, what would you like to think you’d be doing now?
Probably something to do with wildlife.
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are several, but I find listening to people’s stories is very interesting.
And the hardest?
I wouldn’t say its hard but breaking down [clearing up] at the end of the night is so annoying.
Who’s the most memorable person you’ve ever created a cocktail for? Who was it, what was it and why does it stand out for you?
I’ll say Jim Meehan [bartender, author, educator and renowned mixologist at PDT in New York]. The cocktail I made for him consisted of Ron Zacapa, Cynar, Kammerlings, Creole Bitters. (He wanted a dry rum aperitif). The bar had just been given his The PDT Cocktail Book and it was all very strange him being there – just timing I suppose. He enjoyed the drink.
Who’s your favourite cocktail drinker and why? (living, dead or fictional)
The Queen Mother – 2 parts Dubonnet 1 part Gin. Why? Because you get to live to 101.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you picked up at the World Class Forum?
From the Tanqueray team: Make the drink different and be daring, just make sure there’s a reason behind it.
What’s your favourite cocktail:
a) to mix?
The Last Word
b) to drink?
c) on your menu?
List three ingredients you’d put in a cocktail to sum up the facets of your personality and a few words why you’ve chosen each item.
1. Chartreuse – It’s secretive.
2. Apricot Brandy – Fixes everything.
3. Lemon Juice – All things need balancing.
You’ve created a World Class cocktail to secure your place in the finals, can you give us a simple failsafe recipe for cocktail lovers to create at home?
15ml Apricot Brandy
12.5ml lemon juice
3 dashes Peychaud Bitters
Shake, strain and serve in a coupette, garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.
The recipe that got him through:
50ml Tanqueray No. TEN gin
25ml Khanun (Jackfruit) infused Cocchi Americano
15ml fresh lemon juice
1 dash Scrappy’s Grapefruit Bitters
Add all ingredients into a three part shaker, shake hard. Double strain into pre-chilled coupette. Garnish with lemon zest.