Tuesday, 10, October 2017

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The Kensington

Inside the Life of a Bar Consultant

Adam McMahon at The Doyle Collection Kitchen

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As part of The Doyle Collection Kitchen at this year’s Electric Picnic, top members of the team from various hotels took to the stage for demonstrations, talks and tastings. One frequent speaker was Adam McMahon, Bar Consultant at The Doyle Collection. We sat down with Adam to find out what his job entails, how he found the Electric Picnic experience and what his ultimate cocktail order is.

“My role varies, depending on what’s happening at the time. The main part of my job is going around assisting with and focusing on the opening of the new Food & Beverage centres. We’ve opened some fantastic new bars in London this year – The K Bar, The Bloomsbury Club Bar, and we’re about to launch the Core Room in The Bloomsbury, which is going to be incredible.

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“I have a fantastic job. I get to go in a couple of months before, I get to start working on concepts, start working on training plans, I help put the teams together. Then when it comes to hiring the Bar Manager that person becomes responsible for the project, but I’ll work with them and guide them along and become a bit of a support mechanism, making sure we’re on the right track and the vision remains the same. I get to play around the first couple of months of all the new bar launches, and do all the press events, then I mosey on off to a new project!

“The Electric Picnic has been a lot of fun. We’ve been bouncing around the different stages, seeing as much as we can, enjoying the torrential downpour last night (went for a bit of a swim when I got back to my tent) Overall, it’s been a really great weekend. There are some fantastic food stalls here.

“We were doing a couple of cocktail master classes this year. So we got to have a bit of fun on Friday with a nice classic daiquiri, we thought we’d start the festival with something easy. Then moving to Irish coffees on the Saturday, because it’s Ireland, it’s Saturday and we’re still trying to get through Sunday, and on Sunday we did breakfast Martinis, which is a nice brunchtime cocktail, something that’s easy enough to make at home but a little bit different to your regular cocktail.

“There is a huge move back towards classic cocktails at the moment. But then there are reinventions of that.  People want to start stripping down ideas, going back to the core of what they’re making. But there’s a lot of really interesting equipment that’s becoming a lot more accessible for the bar scene, which is allowing us to create more.

“If I could only have one drink for the rest of my life? A Boulevardier. It’s a Negroni made with bourbon instead of gin. So it’s a little bit richer than a Negroni, which can make it a bit more crowd pleasing, but then you get a different sort of complexity. It’s by no means an easier Negroni. Classically, it would be made in thirds, so one third of each ingredient, but for mine, I like 45mls bourbon, 20mls red vermouth and 15mls campari. I think go light on the Campari so it doesn’t overpower the more subtle aspects of the bourbon. Or maybe I just like it a bit more alcoholic! It’s a billed (or stirred) cocktail. This is extremely simple – get your tumbler, fill it full of ice, get your ingredients, give it a couple of stirs and finish with an orange twist. It’s a happy days, go-to classic.

"I came across from Australia for a six-month holiday – that’s close to seven years ago now. I moved from absolute country Australia to Brisbane, and I thought, “Yep, this is the big city, I’ve made it, and things are awesome”. I lived there for a couple of years, always talked to friends about going overseas, then one day we actually sat down and booked a ticket so we couldn’t procrastinate any more."

“The plan was six months in London, six months in Canada and then spend a bit of time in America. After a month in London I got a job in a Japanese/Brazilian restaurant, jumping into the bar and food scene over here and realised there was no way I could make it back to sleepy Brisbane. I loved that city, but this is the cutting edge of the world. And the time has just flown since then. I’ve been bouncing around openings, going to new bars and restaurants, going to as much as I possibly can and learning from fantastic people."

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