Megs DeMeulenaere is 25 and has spent the past seven years tending bar. She now works at Bramble in Edinburgh and goes through to the World Class UK 2012 with her gentlemanly version of the Classic Martini, The Mister.
What does the World Class competition mean to you?
It’s a great concept to push the boundaries and ideas of bartending all around the world. World Class brings different cultures together to create better drinks, better service and better knowledge.
What is your earliest cocktail memory?
Frozen margaritas when I was sixteen on holidays with my family in Cancun.
Did you choose the profession or did it choose you?
I started bartending to pay my rent through university. After I graduated and got a job I was still working in the bar at night because I wasn’t ready to stop bartending. I then realised over time that it was a lifestyle and career that I was always going to enjoy more than being sat behind a computer.
How do you think bartending is regarded as a career?
I think there will always be people who don’t believe it’s a ‘real job’ and regard us as ‘just’ bartenders. However, I feel it’s slowly starting to be recognized and respected more in and outside the industry as the world becomes more educated about drinks and drinking culture. A competition like World Class is a perfect example of just that.
If drink hadn’t entered the equation, what would you like to think you’d be doing now?
I graduated with a degree in Interior Architecture, so maybe something with that. But the more likely answer would’ve been in the music industry for sure.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Easily the people. Both the people I work/ed with & those you get to meet over the bar.
And the hardest?
I will never get used to the feeling of getting citrus in fresh cuts!
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?
Most definitely my mom, she stands out because she never drinks but when she came to visit me in Australia I made her a drink I had entered for a cocktail competition. I can’t remember what the cocktail was but it was the first time I have seen her finish a drink.
Who’s your favourite cocktail drinker and why? (living, dead or fictional)
Frank Sinatra because I am a fan of his music and also his quote “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you picked up at the World Class Forum?
It’s not about the drink, it’s about the experience.
What’s your favourite cocktail:
a) to mix?
b) to drink?
A rye or tequila Sazerac
c) on your menu?
Aged Affinity Cocktail (we barrel-age Whisky, Byrhh and Noilly Prat then bottle the cocktail into individual sized bottles).
List three ingredients you’d put in a cocktail to sum up the facets of your personality.
1. Tequila (because if you’ve met me you’ll know my obsession with tequila)
2. Champagne/sparkling wine – because there’s always a reason for bubbles.
3. Chartreuse – it’s one of my favourite liqueurs that works with any spirit and is amazing on its own or in a variety of cocktails. It’s big and bold, though can be soft and subtle at the same time.
The recipe that got her through:
50 ml Ketel One Vodka
5ml Noilly Prat
5ml Green Chartreuse
5ml DOM Benedictine
2 Kaffir lime leaves
Stir all ingredients with good clear ice. Strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.