Friday, 10 June 2011

Even people as cool as Newman, McQueen, Richards, Morrison, Solo and Marsh started somewhere: Round 1

This blog is purely dedicated to how all good bartenders have not always been "good" bartenders and celebrating the fact that it is officially part of the foundations of some of the most knowledgeable people in the community. As well as sharing all embarrassing experiences with the humble, non-critical people of the net.  

Christian Tirel - Barmageddon
I started behind the stick at the Black Horse Chambers Bistro in Lincoln, first cocktail I made was a Long Island Ice Tea (25ml Vodka, 25ml Gin, 25ml Tequila, 25ml Rum, 25ml Triple Sec, 25ml Coke, 2 ice cubes Lemon Garnish) needless to say I was a very popular bartender in the area for my potent edgy serves and epically bad banter...and the only thing thats changed to be honest is...erm.....balls, well, hopefully there is better living truth further down.

Kyle Wilkinson - Brass Monkey & World Class Finalist & Ambassador For All Things Northern
Starting as a bartender at Union at the Point in Sunderland "Yeah, the first cocktail I made and fell in love with was the June Bug. Serving cocktails to people in Sunderland is so alien to them that they nearly lost their shit" So Northern, it hurts!

Matt Whiley - Owner Purl/Worship St.Whistling Shop
"I started off in the humble surroundings of friar lane at a little hidden bar called Humbug (, should you be interested) from there I went on to managing Skin where I met my now partner Tom Aske and then moved to London and worked at Milton house and Zuma before bar ownership at Purl and now also Worship St.Whistling Shop"

Matthew Dakers - Bacardi Legacy Champ, Ex-Mahiki & current Worship St. Whistling Shop
"Mine is embarrassing!! Started off doing Long Island Ice Tea Shop making Strawberry Shortcakes then onto Henry J Beans where I made June Bugs, Orgasms, Key West Coolers and much more! This is all we had, it was the best cocktails of the time. But it was the start of 3 pens and 15mins early is to be on time, I'm old, but i'm proud of my experience. When the Mojito and the Cosmopolitan hit it was the best thing since sliced bread, bread will be sliced again.
You're only as good as the last drink you made.
Believe what you do
Shocking Bartender"

Julien Lafond - Grand Marnier Ambassador and Monsieur Tiki
"I started in a **** hotel in Toulouse, south of France, the bar was more frequented by the staff than by the customers but we had a cocktail list that was made by one of the managers there with obviously some classic that were realised with some classy spirits (Smirnoff Red was an upsell!!) and Larios was the House Gin! With specs that were from another world. But also some creation that would defy any of the Tiki drinks from the 70's with one that stuck in my mind for being the worst (taste wise and look wise) drink I have ever made or tried in my life. It was something like this
Shaken pineapple juice + Amaretto + Orange Juice and pour in a highball, no ice
Stirred Vodka + Curacao Blue Layer on top of the base.
Garnish with a classy 1/2 Orange slice and a Maraschino Cherry" Epic.

Craig Harper - Industry Legend 
"1st bar was in Dundee, called Lastings while still in the Marines, just for fun really, closest thing we did to a cocktail was a Black Beard, Morgans Spiced, coke & topped with Guinness! I worked in Branigans in Chester but didn't do the cocktail bar, was asked too but i thought it looked like to much of a faff. Tonic in Edinburgh was my 1st cocktail bar, at least half the drinks were blended, probably with ice cream & it's still one of my favourite bars I've ever worked in"

Jake Burger - N.N.I (Needs No Introduction)
"It was called Ikes Bistro on Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds (just along from where Sandanista is now)and was a WW2 theme restauraunt/bar. Happy Hour (5-8 every night except Sunday) Cocktails were £1.75 each. First recipe I learned was a Transplant: Gin, Bacardi, Creme De Menthe, Orange and Pineapple juices is I remember correctly. Garnished with a cherry/orange flag and a plastic mermaid. Most popular drink was The Banana Daiquiri:Creme de Banannes, Lime Cordial, Bacardi, milk and cream shaken with ice, served in a wine glass.
Back then bars didn't stock fresh limes or cranberry juice. True story."

Hayden Scott Lambert - Merchant Hotel
"I started out working in a campsite in Italy, making the worst possible drinks ever! I was a certified flair monkey and I have the certificate to prove it! I thought flair was the way forward, the height of my knowledge was adding vodka to rtds and drinking redbull and red vodka... I went to beer university in Italy... That's about it, Since leaving the campsite I have worked in some ok bars but nothing compared to the world famous merchant hotel."

Gareth Evans - Pollen Street Social (and on the front of the June issue of Class....gaaaay)
 "First bar was called 'life' on the headrow in Leeds. It was an underground club with 'cocktail bar lounge'. It was a big treat to get behind the stick on the cocktail bar and it took me a few months to work my way up to it, and to be allowed to mess about with the plastic shot glasses and taboo. Cocktails included key west coolers (layered of course), melon balls, grasshoppers and all manner of other delicious treats. Drinks cost 2 quid, which might have been a bit steep thinking about it. My bar manager taught me all the tricks: sticking a straw to the side of a martini glass; shaken manhattans; using the glass as an ice scoop, all the best moves.
I havent learned much since then"

Lee Hyde - Met Bar/World Class Finalist
"I was pretty awful when I first started out. I worked in a few different pubs, pouring pints etc, and I thought I was the man because I could throw a 200ml schweppes orange juice bottle in the air and catch it behind my back, how cool was I! I then visited a cocktail bar called Mononi on Greek st in Leeds (I was at uni and working in oneills) and I was blown away by the guys working there. I applied for a job the next day and was lucky to be accepted. It was the flair side of things that first got my attention, at the time my tipple of choice was a bottle of reef and I remember once that I talked a person out of a mai tai because it was too strong! But I fell in love with it and eventually decided that I wanted to be really good at it. It's a career too be proud of and take seriously, but it still needs to be fun, no point being a douche about it!"

So from Long Island Zombies, certified flair bears at the Merchant hotel & Met Bar, Grass hopping key west melon nuts for Michelin Star chefs, plastic mermaids for £1.75, needless faffy cocktails, naughty little back alley bars, it goes without saying the worse places you start in or feel you are currently in, you will naturally progress to be a shit hot all star blazer slinging rock n roll ballsy cowboy legend of a bar keep. Obviously. 

I can safely say that Barmageddon is starting to enjoy this futuristic style of floggin', keep your peepers reeled for Round 2  

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Tripod becomes the Dry-pod?

A long-winded Hello & Goodbye....

After a long absence from the world of the future, Barmageddon is back up and here to annoy you again. Unfortunately, one of the big dogs has been swallowed by the big smoke to go do some swallowing of his own, to climb the genuinely big deal ladder. The dumpy young brunette, bright eyed and bushy tailed Gareth Evans is currently doing some ferocious pointing and furious stirring down at the new and highly anticipated Pollen Street Social, Jason Atherton's new bar and restaurant. Gareth did always love cricket, so he should slot in there perfectly like a lady of the night down Alfreton Road. Undoubtedly, we will be invading this scarily good sounding bar, to bring back all the sordid tales of of us rambunctiously causing little to no trouble and sitting at the end of the bar in a very orderly fashioned, only speaking in harmony when said bartender shakes in fear of getting mind-fucked by one of the furious chefs. So the best of luck for his future endeavors from the development of your silly shake to the cultivating of ice balls. However, I do leave you with one bit of advice for the big smoke sir...

"It's not the size of your Chartreuse, Bitters or Vermouths collection that's the size of your fucking garnish!" - Barmageddon

Anyway, enough with the teary goodbye's and back on board the train of intensely annoying folks until they have to share a similar view into developing Nottingham's bar scene. We shall be bringing plenty more competitions, fun training sessions with colourful characters, as well as offering our services to fluff the tenders around town....with a few new little ventures in the pipeline involving absurdly irresponsible drinking, terrible dancing and obviously dressing up in unnecessary attire and/or drag.

We leave you with that for now as a gentle reminder that after a mild spell of laziness Barmageddon is back.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Coming to you live...from the future

Hello World.

We have a blog.

It seems everyone and his Pygmy-hog has got a blog nowadays. It is a prerequisite of every forward-thinking corporation, company, group, terrorist cell or knitting circle that they must post in exsquisite detail the minutia of their every waking moment, to be consumed by the content hungry public on their idevices and net-macs.. They demand to know everything about everything - mostly befoire it is even clear what is is they are demanding to know about. But they do demand it. So we are providing it.

So I guess we should introduce ourself. Or rather - 'selves. Barmageddon is a group set up by Gareth Evan, Christian Tirel and Kyle Wilkinson to bring together bartenders and opther hardworking industry types with the things that matter to them - that is, you - access to good quality training, competitions, advice and consultancy. Christ, sound boring even as I write it, but we promise it's not. this is a chance for the good folks of the Midlands bar trade (and beleive us, there are many) to be recognised for what they are. It won't take much, a competition win here, an award there, a press mention everwhere and before you know it, you'll be mixing it (pun most definitely intended) with the very best of them.

So check back on us, ask us questions, and add us on facebook. We'll be seeing you...

Greetings from the future.

Bramageddon xx