The lowdown on Tim
Tim started off working as a glass collector in a nightclub in Switzerland, progressing on to “a bit of bartending in one of the restaurants there”. When he came back to Blighty his local Yacht Club needed some help one weekend, “just pouring pints and making Pimm’s, that kind of thing”. He then moved to London and started working at The Hospital Club before moving to Australia for a year. When he returned to London he enjoyed a year and a half at Dirty Martini in Covent Garden, a spell as Brand Ambassador for Funkin, opened The Cadogan Arms on the King’s Road and then landed at Babylon at the Kensington Roof Gardens 18 months ago.
To date he’s won the Boudier Saffron and Sides competition 2010, and achieved a Gold and Silver Medal at the International Cocktail Challenge earlier this year. Tim goes through to the World Class UK Final with his tequila charged cocktail Spruce Goose.
What led you to become a bartender?
Part boredom, part necessity. But mainly when I was younger away on holiday with my parents in Switzerland there was this bartender Hugh, he always seemed to be having such a great time and everyone knew his name. I thought that was pretty cool and that memory has always stuck with me. Also I love making people happy and if I can do that with one of my drinks, even better!
What’s the best thing about your job?
I really like the fact that two days are rarely the same, there’s always something cool and exciting to do. I also love the creativity and history that goes into what we do, as well as the stories behind each of the drinks.
Who do you admire in the industry and why?
I admire the people who have been at the top of their game for a long time. The fact that you can still find Dick Bradsell behind the bar after all these years is truly inspiring. I admire Dave Wondrich for all of his knowledge and passion; likewise the innovators in our industry like Tony Conigliaro and the Fluid Movement guys – great imaginations and execution.
If you could mix a drink for anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?
I think mixing up a few libations for Oscar Wilde would have been pretty awesome. It would be great to hear some of the things he’d come out with!
What’s your favourite classic cocktail?
That’s tough as there are so many greats. I really enjoy a good Daiquiri, slightly on the sour side – that’s my go-to drink: simple, elegant and with a nice bit of history behind it. Perfect.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had at the bar?
I once had a girl ask to lick some of her cocktail off my finger which was pretty odd! I felt a little uncomfortable serving her for the rest of the night after that.
What’s your proudest moment as a bartender?
Winning the regional final for World Class, this competition is so big and you work so hard for it. I couldn’t eat all day in the run up, I was so sick with nerves!
Describe the inspiration for the drink/s that got you through to the finals.
Pretty simple really. I enjoy taking classics and twisting them to make something new. I very roughly based my ‘Spruce Goose’ on an Aviation. I have a friend who had recently become a pilot so when I was out celebrating with him, I had a shot in my hand and the idea came to me. Tradicional has some really nice, soft orangey notes in it for me and I wanted to help bring those along. The thing I most struggle with is naming my cocktails!
Do you have any funny/embarrassing anecdotes in the rounds leading up to World Class UK finals?
Nothing in particular, swapping brand knowledge notes with Ali Reynolds whilst waiting for our turns is probably the most for me. Everyone was too nervous to be laughing around.
Have you picked up any good tips from the competition? If so, what are they?
Yeah a few, mainly based around confidence and presentation. But I’m keeping my cards close to my chest on this one!
What does winning your regional heat of World Class mean to you?
It is a massive deal, as I’m sat here it’s still not quite sunk in! It’s very gratifying, going up against some of the best guys in London and winning is huge. The competition is so stiff and you work so hard, it’s a massive relief for it to all have paid off. Also it means I’ll be topping up my tan in Mexico in August. Salud!
What would winning the finals of World Class UK mean to you?
(Cue teary X-Factor music)… It really would mean everything. It’s the pinnacle of our industry, all I’ve wanted since I started is to be the very best that I can be and become an industry leader. In winning this competition that can all happen. It would be great to be given the platform to be able to inspire other people to continue pushing the boundaries and improving our industry.
Who would you thank in your World Class acceptance speech and why?
I’m nowhere near even thinking about that… but at a push I’d be thanking my parents and long suffering friends… and of course to the judges for doing the sensible thing and making me this years winner!
If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why?
I’d be a Mai Tai, because it’s classic and strong with an affinity to party and have fun. And as the phrase goes, it’s ‘Out of this world; the best!’
The drink that got him through
Howard Hughes had a huge impact on the world through his Aviation exploits and having had a friend recently qualify as a pilot, I thought it would be nice to create a drink to celebrate this. I find that the orange compliments the Tequila and this is a perfect drink to enjoy on a warm summer evening.
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled coupette glass. Garnish with orange zest.