Lee was the runner-up in The Chivas Masters, London Prestige heat. He works at Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous in London, loves a Martinez and would like to have made his whisky version of the drink for the first Head Bartender of The American Bar at The Savoy…
How did you become a bartender?
I was studying Maths at Leeds University and working part-time in a pub for some extra cash. I went along to a cocktail bar one night and was blown away by the skill and professionalism of the bartenders there. I ended up going back the next day to ask if they had any positions available. I got a job, then six months later I’d fallen in love with it and decided to drop out of university, much to my mother’s dismay.
What is your definition of a classic cocktail?
A classic cocktail recipe must have ingredients that are easy to get hold of, is easy to make and is easy to enjoy.
What is your classic cocktail of choice?
It depends on the mood, the time of day and the place, but I could either go for Margaritas on the beach with friends or a well-made, late-night Martinez in luxurious five-star surroundings!
What appealed to you about The Chivas
I loved the idea of creating four different cocktails from four different eras – a definite challenge but one that let me get quite creative and playful. Whisky is also my passion and I love any opportunity to make drinks with it.
Which of the four periods (The Classic Age, The Post-War Boom, The Disco Years and The Age of Revivalism) did you enjoy most?
Part of my presentation during the competition was to pick a specific bar in a specific location during the time period, and to play on that theme. I think The Disco Years were the best as I set it in Miami Beach in the 1980’s, so think palm trees, Miami Vice, bad fashion and Lamborghinis…
Which of your four cocktails are you proudest of?
I’m really proud of The Classic Age Cocktail. It was my twist on the Martinez, and I try to use any opportunity to make this drink for guests (or myself of course).
Which famous person, living or dead, real or
fictional, from the four periods would you like to make one of your four cocktails for?
If I could go back in time to the late 1890’s, I’d love to have Frank Wells, the legendary first Head Bartender of The American Bar at The Savoy, sitting at my bar. I would have made him my Chivas Martinez, and who knows, maybe it would have become a classic.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy Chivas?
I enjoy it neat. Or with ice, or topped with ginger beer, or in a cocktail.
What’s your recipe for a simple Chivas cocktail for people to make at home?
Throw some ice in a glass, a good glug of Chivas, a dash of Angostura bitters, a squeeze of lime and finish it off with a fiery ginger beer.
What are you most looking forward to about the final?
I’m looking forward to improving and fine-tuning my original recipes and presentation, hopefully that will be good enough to set me apart from the other competitors.
The Chivas Masters is…
Hopefully going to take me to New York and New Orleans.
The People’s Choice
Who would you like to see win The Chivas Masters UK Final 2014? Click the Facebook ‘Like’ button below to cast your vote for Lee. To see all the finalists click here.
Lee joins the other seven finalists in the The Chivas Masters UK Final in London on 3rd June.