The lowdown on Jamie (or the Return of The Mac)
Mr Mac has been working in the hospitality industry for the past 15 years, taking in everything from head/bar management at Tigerlily, Rick’s Bar & Hotel and Booly Mardi’s, to brand ambassador at Grand Marnier. For the past year and a bit, he’s been running t’ings at his own bar ‘The Raconteur’ in Edinburgh and cites his committment to service and professionalism within the hospitality sector as the force that drives him.
This is Jamie’s third World Class UK Final and he has represented Great Britain twice internationally, so who knows? this time might be it. Jamie goes through to the World Class UK 2011 Final in the White Spirits category with his ‘Chaste’ cocktail
What led you to become a bartender?
I was intrigued by bars, pubs, saloons, their history and the service of alcohol. Importantly, as my career evolved I became more focused on the etiquette of service, industry standards and above all, customer satisfaction.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The enjoyment I receive from seeing first hand the satisfaction of a customer/client. That smile or ‘thank you’ beats a tip every time and is, frankly more important.
Who do you admire in the industry?
My friends who have built their own successes: Stuart McClusky, Jason Scott & Mike Aikeman, Chico, Jeff Masson, Tony Conigliaro and Steffin Ogehene. Then perhaps the following:
Julio Bermejo for complete dedication and passion.
David Paskins for being complete host, presenter and educator for an individual like myself.
David Wondrich for such wonderful knowledge and factual history.
If you could mix a drink for anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be with friends who have passed over to the great lounge in the sky and maybe just possibly they could ask Hemingway to partake of a swift sherry. Tear it up Bobby & Gregor x
What’s your favourite classic cocktail?
The Negroni with Tanqueray No. TEN and a dash of my Grapefruit Bitters. This drink symbolises what a great cocktail should be – elegant, well balanced and sophisticated. It certainly has a great story behind it as every cocktail or mixed drink should.
What’s the most unusual request you’re ever had at the bar?
I don’t condone this request but did it for a friend. It was a harsh winter and said friend/colleague had the worst cold. He asked me to prepare a Blazer with Caol Ila with the addition of:
1 x Tramadol
1 x Ibuprofen
1 x Sinex
1 x Paracetemol
This was definitely medicinal, experimental and certainly not to be done again.
What’s your proudest moment as a bartender?
5pm on 18th November 2009 as Teddy Joseph (friend and partner in crime) and I, along with my protege and friend Nick Reed (now 1806) opened the doors of ‘The Raconteur’ to the public. It was quite simply amazing and through the night friends and family joined us in the celebration. I went to catch a breath and on my return found a certain John Gakura perched at one end of the bar and Ian Burrell at the other. That made me smile even more.
Describe the inspiration for the drink/s that got you through to the World Class UK Final?
My girlfriend perhaps even muse Agne Krasauskaite was the biggest inspiration for the drinks created and presented for World Class. I would also like to thank two special ‘Raconteurs’ – Johnnie & Jamie x
Any funny/embarrassing anecdotes in the rounds leading up to the World Class UK finals?
Absolutely but you’ll have to wait for the memoirs…
Have you picked up any good tips from the competition?
It’s a competition and we haven’t finished yet so unfortunately, the tips cannot be shared – not yet!
What does winning your regional heat of World Class UK mean to you?
It’s given me another opportunity to showcase my talent, creativity and overall passion. And of course travelling to Mexico. Again!
What would winning the World Class UK finals mean to you?
It would complete my desire to show the dedication and hard work I’ve put into the industry. It would also allow my talent to be seen at a greater level. In fact, it means a lot more than mere words can describe.
Who would you thank in your World Class acceptance speech?
Catherine and Stuart, my parents, who have supported me no matter what path or journey I took in life.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why?
This is a tough one, seriously! It depends on my mood but I thought of 2 drinks:
Tony C’s Aged Manhattan (6yo): Ageing perfectly, experimental and reassuringly expensive and
Marian Beke’s Aged Piña Colada
There’s a fun wild side to me that I don’t always show…
The cocktail that got him through:
The ‘Chaste’ Cocktail
How corny but it was indeed a girl who’s name translates to ‘Chaste’ or pure, like Ketel One vodka who inspired this drink
40ml Ketel One vodka
25ml Bénédictine D.O.M.
20ml Martini Rosso sweet vermouth
4 dashes Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters
4 dashes Tobacco bitter
7mls Coal Ila 12 year old whisky
Stir all ingredients with block ice in cut mixing glass for controlled dilution. Strain and serve in a chilled side vessel accompanied with a chilled fluted cocktail/ice sphere presented with tobacco bitters. Garnish with aromatised lemon zest presented with tobacco bitters.
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