The Luxury Channel interviews Daniel Crebesse, head of the UK Bartenders Guild and head barman at The Milestone Hotel in Kensington. Daniel shares his hot tips on how to create the ultimate “at home” bar experience….
After years of working in hotel restaurants, at a time when chefs had very little to do (as almost everything was flambéed), Daniel grew weary of the infamous split shifts and antisocial hours, and decided to turn his attentions to the creation of fabulous libations. He never looked back.
According to Daniel, quality products make for quality drinks. Essentials include high quality vodkas such as Belvedere or Grey Goose and a decent Gin like Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray for your martinis. As for that elusive perfect martini, Daniel has to disagree with Mr Bond. Shaking the martini looks great, but using ice in your cocktail will start to dilute it and if you use a shaker, the longer you shake, the more you diluted your drink will be. Stirred is preferred!
You also need serious Malt Whiskies, preferably one from each whisky-producing area of Scotland, as well as liqueurs like Cointreau, Grand Marnier and Amaretto that are integral to many of the popular cocktails you might crave. Daniel’s more luxurious must-haves include Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac and 25 year old or 30 year old Macallan, a single malt Speyside whisky.
Daniel’s essential tools are his shakers, bar spoons and strainers – and of course, you need a good corkscrew. The best around are the ones provided by the wine suppliers – they are robust and easy to use, so cosy up with your supplier the next time you order your wine (incidentally, although not much of a wine drinker, Daniel recommends Cheval Blanc 1982). Shop-bought corkscrews either break or are impractical unless you spend good money – you have been warned!
In Daniel’s opinion, luxury is when your products are of very good quality. For example, a top of the range ice machine that produces good, clean shaven ice.
Another luxury, for Daniel is experiencing the best bars and beverages around the world. He loves Gibsons in Chicago for its atmosphere, The Crillion Hotel Bar in Paris for wonderful cocktails and the Hilton Caraibe in Puerto Rico, because of the breath-taking ocean views – and the best Pina Coladas and rum cocktails around.
So, you have all your ingredients and tools of the trade – now is the time to try mixing your own cocktail. Daniel recommends his delicious 1st Concerto cocktail: in a champagne glass, double strain 10ml of Blackberry liqueur, 1 strawberry, 1 raspberry and 1 blackberry. Using a bar spoon, pour champagne very slowly to the top. Garnish with one blackberry on the rim of the glass.
Now, what to serve this delicious drink in? Daniel recommends different glassware for different drinks (after all, a drink must be a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds). For cocktail glasses and crystal tumblers, Bowman-Weaver are the very best, while Mikasa wine glasses add elegance to any table. For sleek and stylish modern designs, Urban glassware will make an instant impact.
However, according to Daniel, the most important element of a good bar is the bartender himself. So if you want a truly delightful drink without the hassle of making it yourself, make your way to the Milestone Hotel Bar, kick back and ask Daniel to magic up one of his signature drinks.