The Luxardo Campione 2014 Finals begin
13 May 2015
G's Movers with Shakers
As Luxardo Brand Ambassador I get to witness first hand some of the finest talent to shake it up behind the stick. Join me as I interview some of my favourite bartenders in the trade.
This week I had the pleasure of catching up with Elliot Ball; veteran bartender, competition regular, former Luxardo Campione and co-owner of London’s hottest new bar- The Cocktail Trading Company.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Hard to say – I’ve been fortunate enough to have many mentors. That said, the one that got off me the path of ‘fun job to pay my way through uni’ and actually onto something resembling a career was Sub 13’s Tim Whelehan. A true gent who expertly balances work and play.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Probably something to do with that balance I just mentioned – there are very few careers where work and play are so intertwined, fewer where you can actually choose to work with your best mates, and fewer still where the amount of fun you have can correlate with doing a good job.
How would you describe your style of bartending?
Tough one. As I said, I’ve worked in a lot of different places, so I don’t really conform to a specific style. I’d like to say ‘adaptive’, in that my style changes depending on what’s happening around me. You don’t need to 3-bottle your manhattans when it’s chilled, maybe forget the toilet humour at the Savoy and no bottle-tossing in the weeds...
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Amaretto. I could put it in almost anything, and sometimes I want to shoot it instead of whiskey. Sue me.
What is your favourite bar and why?
Really depends on my mood, but I’ve recently fallen in love with Sovereign Loss in Brixton – owned and run by two legends, Chris and Joe – the drinks are good, the service balances classy table-style and fun over-the-bar-chat, and the space just feels good. It’s a similar feeling in Happiness Forgets – no one things stands out as unbeatable, but the combined package is just awesome.
What is your favourite drink and why?
Manhattan. There are others I’d name, but they vary largely in terms of quality, not interpretation. With a Manhattan, if you’re in a good place, you get a good Manhattan. And then there’s the bartender putting his/her own love and personal touch into what makes their Manhattan – you experience a lot of creativity this way.
Best/ worst night behind the stick?
My final shift at Sub13 in Bath provided both. 5-deep all night, just me and the manager, broke a bottle in the speedrail and cut all the fingers in my right hand to the bone. Obviously, this was unpleasant, but it went to show what a community there can be at a bar, even in the deep weeds; in 3 minutes, I was back on the bar, having been stitched up by one of the regulars in the office, and having received some serious love and support... and a lot of tequila.
What are you most proud of?
My latest project – The Cocktail Trading Co. The combination of quality, speed and ethics remains to be seen in terms of whether it can be successful, but the faith and support I’m getting from my peers makes me swell with pride – I’m not sure what I did to engender their belief in me...
What makes a good bartender?
Service, service, service. I know people say it too much, but with the combination of the stereotypes of the ‘service industry’ and the new trend of ridiculously hardcore devotion to flavour, we’ve lost sight of what service is. When you have your friends round for dinner, and you want to show them an awesome time, that is service. And when you get that feeling in a bar, that sense that you’re in someone’s house sampling their hospitality, there’s not much that can go wrong.
What are you mixing?
Something I haven’t had in ages – a Grenoble flip. Basically, equal parts Luxardo Maraschino and Green Chartreuse (or try Luxardo Liquore St. Antonio) with a whole egg and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Crazy-good.
You can catch Elliot with partners in crime Andy Mil and Ollie Brading, mixing it up and dropping knowledge at Cocktail Trading Company.
Luxardo Brand Ambassador and member of La Famiglia.