So it’s onwards and upwards with our tradition of interviewing a bartender at each of the venues where the society convenes!
October’s event was held in the JubJub bar at Callooh Callay and was hosted by the award winning Mr Sean Ware. Sean is a multifunctional sort of chap who splits his time between duties as bar manager, bartender and award-winning mixologist.
The eclectic style of Callooh Callay might lead you to expect Sean to be some kind of Mad Hatter incarnation. Not so. Despite his affiliation with one of London’s hottest cocktail venues, Sean is a very ‘normal’ and approachable character. Instantly likeable, he’s the sort of bartender who puts you at ease upon your arrival and makes you want to stay and drink one more than you really should.
I begin our chat by asking how Sean would describe Callooh Callay, as the many attempts to categorise this bar invariably draw comparisons with Alice in Wonderland and Narnia. Although they clearly have an influence on the bar, Sean explained that their first priority was simply to produce excellent drinks with a bit of fun on the side.
He talks a lot about drinks being fun during our talk but I can’t help but feel this undervalues the quality of the drinks Sean and his team serve. Later on, Sean clarifies my thinking by explaining that while the quality of drinks on offer in London is currently extremely high, he thinks it’s important to maintain the fun element as well. Reflecting on the hushed reverence some of London’s finer hotel bars create, I’d agree he has a point.
Our conversation moves to Seans’ drinking preferences. He admits to being a ‘classics’ man when drinking at home (isn’t everyone?) and absolutely never runs out of gin and rum. Whilst tending to a hot gin punch gently warming on a bar-top stove, Sean describes his best ever drinking experience to me. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can repeat most of it but if I say ‘Soho’, ‘bar’, ‘wine’, ‘jagermeister’, ‘Dave Grohl’ and ‘Led Zeppelin’ I think you can paint the picture rather nicely! The man certainly has a wild side…
My time with Sean was cut short by the arrival of several LCS members and so the conversation moved to more general and less potentially litiginous subjects such as the impending London Cocktail Week and our respective plans.
But Sean had gotten me thinking, we all love cocktails and take them seriously, but we musn’t forget to have a little fun with them too.