Our favourite bartenders: Ian McIntyre, Beard To Tail

ByThe Cocktail Lovers

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Where did you learn your craft?

I was living in my home town of Weymouth, in Dorset. I was asked if I wanted to move from a nightclub into a cocktail bar that was owned by the same people as they were short of staff. After a couple of shifts I fell in love with the industry and moved to London to pursue it as a career.

Name a few of the places you’ve worked

Cineworld, Haven Holidays… My last job was working at the Bigfoot Lodge in Niseko, Japan and before that I was at Callooh Callay. I was allowed a three month holiday to be able to go and work and learn overseas, something which I am still grateful for now.

Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve worked with and why?

It would have to be Andrea Montague and Rebekkah Dooley, they are both extremely hard working, caring and amazing at their jobs. I owe them both a lot, it wouldn’t be fair to just pick one.

What makes a good bartender?

It’s the same for how you become good at anything: passion and dedication.

What’s your proudest moment as a bartender?

Having a customer walk up to the bar and thanking me for the wonderful evening they have had or for the drink I made them. It always puts a smile on my face knowing people are enjoying themselves.

Shaken or stirred?

Stirred or thrown… it looks awesome!

What’s your favourite drink?

To mix:
Anything thrown and blue
To drink:
Beer and gin.
On your menu:
The Captain Cuba

What’s your definition of a bartender and a mixologist and where do you fit in?

I haven’t met many mixologists in London, it tends to be more of a term used by a lot of non-industry types to describe someone who mixes drinks. I class myself as a bartender, because my job is to tend the bar, not only to make drinks but to make sure people are happy and having fun also just to keep an eye on the bar in general. To use the term mixologist would specify that I only make drinks, when my job really is so much more than that.

What’s your favourite ingredient?

This week it would be nettle cordial.

Where do you drink off duty?

Happiness Forgets and Casita

What’s your essential piece of bar kit?

It would probably have to be a shaker. It has many multifunctional uses. Shaker, mixing receptacle and even bottle opener.

What’s your failsafe recipe to mix at home?

I would love to say that I make drinks at home, but I don’t. But if I was going to it would probably have Yoichi 15yr single cask in it and would be served straight up in some form.

If you could mix a cocktail for anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would just like to make drinks for my family. Since moving to London I haven’t been able to show them any of my drinks, they only get to read about it from websites and print. I would like to sit down with them all together in a room and chat whilst I make them all drinks.
Find Ian tending bar at Beard to Tail, 77 Curtain Road, EC2. beardtotail.co.uk.
The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)

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