22 Nov Bartender: Andrew Whibley
Bartender of the Month: November 2016
We sat down with Montreal bartender and Bittered Sling “Bitterbabe” Andrew Whibley to discuss why he hasn’t seen Star Wars, the guest experience and his obsession with Coors Light, read on here:
BS: How long have you been Bartending?
AW: I’ve been in the service industry for 13 years, bartending a little over half of that.
BS: Where are you currently working?
AW:Cloakroom Bar in Montreal.
BS: When did you have alcohol for the first time?
AW: It would have been at some point in high school – I got the clever idea of raiding my parents liquor cabinet. My plan was pretty simple, take a small amount of each alcohol so they wouldn’t realize anything was missing… this is where I learned a valuable lesson in mixing drinks, crème de menthe over powers everything.
BS: On a desert island, what are your must-have spirited ingredients? Pick only 3.
AW: Coors Light, Weller special reserve, Cocchi Americano Rosa
BS: You’re walking the Green Mile – what’s your finale meal and beverage pairing?
AW: Ham plate from Vin Papillon and a bottle of Tinajas de la Mata orange wine.
BS: What is the most important rule you enforce in your bar?
AW: Zero pretentiousness. Not every client is going to walk in and order your favorite drinks, made with your favorite spirits – make what they’re in the mood for.
BS: Favourite bar (anywhere) for a drink? Who’s making it?
AW: Bar Raval (Toronto) is my favorite place. While anyone there could make my favourite drink, I would want bartender Mike Webster to do it – he has an odd way of flipping his zests off the orange peels.
BS: What movie best describes your dream bar?
AW: Mad Max: Fury road… organized chaos throughout, but at the end of the day, the people are the champions.
BS: One place in the world you would love to visit?
AW: Anywhere in South America, I’ve never been but I love the culture, the flavour and the people. I’d also like to put my fear of sharks aside and jump on a surf board.
BS: One non-cocktail book you’re in love with?
AW: Recently I’ve read a few John Irving books – I would have to say “The Ciderhouse Rules”
BS: How do you describe your bartending style in 3 words?
AW: Complex, classic, relaxed
BS: Most unusual drink request?
AW: One of the weirdest requests I’ve ever had was a few years ago. A couple walked into my bar and the lady ordered a martini – I asked the normal questions and started to make it. As I was putting the ice in the mixing glass, I noticed them talking. The gentleman said “she doesn’t want you to shake it”. As I was about to start stirring the cocktail, I said “don’t worry sir, I’ll be stirring it”. A minute or two after I served it, the lady called me over and informed me that she was a bartender and her martini wasn’t very good. I apologized, and asked her to tell me exactly how she wanted me to make it. She asked me to put the gin directly in the glass, add olives, and that was that. Her “martini” was 2.00 oz of warm gin with 3 olives. To each their own!
BS: If you could be any Star Trek or Star Wars character, who would it be and why?
AW: Little known fact: I’ve never seen either!
BS: Are you KIDDING? Do you live…. under a ROCK?
BS: What was your dream job when you were 10 years old?
AW: At 10 yrs old all I wanted to be was a professional skateboarder.
BS: Free-pour or measured?
BS: If your shifts behind the bar had a theme song, what would it be?
AW: I feel like on a busy Friday night all that should be playing is “Wu Tang – Can It Be All So Simple”, but just for the chorus (LOL).
BS: The best piece of advice to give a young bartender?
SW: Soak it all in, stay focused, and enjoy every minute. Even if it’s not your career path, you’ll grow so much as a person without even realizing it.
BS: Greatest moment in the bartending industry?
AW: Being able to look at people that I’ve influenced and mentored over the years, that start to grow and accomplish great things on their own.
BS: Favourite Bittered Sling flavour and why?
AW: Right now it has to be the Cascade Celery – it’s such a complex flavor that totally creeps up on you! It’s incredibly versatile.
BS: Your favourite cocktail to drink, and why?
AW: Recently I’ve been loving this one, ”That Other Drink”.
For the full That Other Drink cocktail by Andrew Whibley, click here