Ryan Chetiyawardana

Where did you learn your craft?

After making the move from the kitchen, I had very little time to pick up the bar; Santa Fe in Birmingham had taken the chance on me just before the busy Christmas period so I had to learn fast. My bartending career started there ten years ago, but I learnt and developed through all the places I worked, and through the people I worked with along the way.

Name a few of the places you’ve worked

Bramble, 69 Colebrooke Row, Purl, The Worship Street Whistling Shop.

Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve worked with and why?

Lots inspired in different ways. It’s hard to pick one as I don’t focus on any one particular aspect of my work. Jason Scott taught me that it doesn’t matter how good your business is – the people make it. I agree hugely and it’s an outlook I’m applying to my projects going forwards.

What makes a good bartender?

Being genuine, being considerate – considering all you can affect and actually wanting to help people enjoy themselves.

Which bartenders do you admire and why?

Too many to list! Excuse the corniness, but I was always in awe of how Paisley (my girlfriend) made every single person – without fail – feel like a million bucks.

What’s your proudest moment as a bartender?

Again, it’s hard to think of one point. It was very humbling to have bartenders I’ve trained come back to me echoing the points I believe in the most.

Wait – I did manage (pre-smoking ban) to take a book of matches from my back pocket and in one movement, flick it down the bar top of a packed bar with a match sticking up, lit, for a beautiful girl holding a cigarette. Literally the smoothest moment of my life. The bar went crazy.

Shaken or stirred?

Shaken – wake up people!

What’s your favourite drink?

To mix:

Gin Martini.

To drink:

Manhattan or Daiquiri.

On your menu:

(not current) Rum n Coke Float (rum, coke syrup, whole egg, lime twist).

What’s your definition of a bartender and a mixologist and where do you fit in?

Someone attentive and observant including the wont to help others enjoy themselves, with the extra magic touch of creating something the individual didn’t know they wanted or needed.

I’m always trying.

What’s your favourite ingredient?

Salt.

Where do you drink off duty?

Horses for courses – different places (and drinks) suit different moods. There are lots still to discover too…

What’s your essential piece of bar kit?

A microwave.

What’s your failsafe recipe to mix at home?

An Americano (in a loose definition), a slug of something sweet, a slug of something bitter, lots of ice, something sparkling and a complementary slice.

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

David Bowie because, a) he’s alive so there’s a minor chance; and b) he’s had many different incarnations so it would be great to create a drink for him.

 

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