Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Derbyshire.
What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
I have always been drawn to nature, so I guess something within that realm but I never really knew what I was going do when I was growing up.
How did you find your way into the world of spirits?
I moved to Nottingham without a job and my brother, Ali Reynolds, put me in contact with a guy named Gareth Evans who employed me as a bar back. I moved myself up pretty quickly from there and was behind the bar in less than 6 months.
Can you tell us a bit about winning the Chivas Masters last year and being crowned top mixologist?
Well, I will say that winning the Chivas Masters final changed my life. Since winning I have travelled the world, visited places I never thought I would and met hundreds of amazing people. I’m also still very much in contact with the competitors I was up against in NYC last year where the final took place, another great aspect of the Chivas Masters. Winning such an amazing cocktail competition still means everything to me; I always said to myself “do what you know, try to relax and have fun”. Thankfully it paid off.
What were your winning cocktails?
There were many rounds in the final, so can’t remember making every one of my cocktails – it still seems a bit of a daze. I suppose my “signature” cocktail is the “Black Dizzy Tea”. This drink embodies the Chivas Regal brands history, its links with the royal family, and the classic era – (1880 – 1920) – that I had to work within.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of spirits?
I think low ABV cocktails will explode on to the market at some point. Burning ingredients to extract different flavours has become trendy recently. I also think that sustainability within brands and coming up with new cocktail serves is exciting and should be researched more.
What are your FOUR indispensable collection favourites?
1. Deluxe ice pick
2. A very good knife
3. Bar Blade
4. Tin on Tin Shaker.
What’s next for you?
I will have to keep that a secret for now! I’ll let you know when the time is right.
*In June, Alejandro Millan Ponce de Leon from Mexico was crowned as the 2016 Chivas Master. Alejandro overcame fierce competition from 14 of the world’s most innovative bartenders over a five-day final held in Shanghai, impressing with his winning cocktail ‘El Jornalero’.”
60ml of Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
20ml Dubonnet Rouge
10ml Pineapple Syrup
1.25ml Sarsaparilla Cordial.
Throw the cocktail from tin to tin, serve in a glass tea cup and garnish with lemon zest.