To get better at anything requires a lot of hard work. Learning, practising, making mistakes and doing it all over again. The bartending community is full of veterans. Those people who have been behind the wood for decades. Who have seen trends and cocktails evolves. From these people we can learn a heck of a lot both when it comes to bartending and when it comes to life in general. We reached out to those who have been bartending for over twenty-one years to answer some questions about their experience over this time.
Today we talk with Angus Winchester – former Brand Ambassador for Tanqueray, former VP of Barmetrix and owner The Embassy (opening soon) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn – about where he came from and some of the changes he has seen in his 29 years of bartending.
BA: Where was your first job behind a bar and what month/year was it?
AW: Bartender at The Coven Nightclub in Oxford in September 1988
What was the most popular drink you poured at the time?
Beer or Pernod and Blackcurrant
What was the first drink ordered that you had no clue how to make?
Gin and Orange
Concerning entertainment in bars and restaurants at the time, was it mostly live music, or had DJs crept in? What was the vibe of the bar/cocktail scene back then?
DJs in the nigthclub; tapes and CDs in the bars
What trend in bars and drinks are you happy to have seen come and go in your career?
Long Island Iced Teas
Would you describe yourself as a pack leader (manager/trainer/educator) or a lone wolf?
Any truly outstanding surprises that the industry has thrown your way? Something you genuinely had no idea would work but became popular?
Are you in a long term relationship and has your career been a help or hinderance to your personal life?
No to relationship but generally its hard to reconcile the two unless both are industry or have been
What do you do when not working that you didn’t do when you started in the business?
What is the greatest lesson that you have learned through bartending?
No one cares how much you know til they know how much you care
What surprises you most about bartending now versus when you first began?
The ego involved today…
What advice do you have for new bartenders?
don’t move around so much
What was the last drink ordered from you that had no clue how to make?
Any other advice or wisdom that you would like to pass on?
You are not in the cocktail business you are in the Experience Business.