Ilan is a bartender at Blind Pig Soho in London. He makes for us two cocktails, one rum based and the other one with mescal and apricot brandy.
Dilan introduce yourself
I’m Ilan and I am a bartender at Blind Pig, a bar in Soho, London. I have been here for just over a year now. When I was a student I worked part-time as a bartender, then I began to make cocktails, and I really enjoyed it. I realised bartending was not only about making cocktails, even though mixing different spirits and syrups is very exiting, it is about the ambiance a bar creates, the atmosphere, the customers, the chats and all these factors made me realise I wanted to become a bartender on a full-time basis.
The classic you want to show us
60ml of dark rhum
50ml of apple juice
10ml of simple syrup
2 dashes of angostura bitters
The bar of your dreams
I love lounge bars. So it would be a chilled, quiet lounge bar… not too busy and not too large, because I think it’s important for customers and the overall atmosphere not to be too far from the bar. It’s important to see how bartenders work, their gestures, their creativity. For myself the best moments are when I get to sit at a bar and discuss with the bartender.
The spirit you like the most
My favourite spirit is rum. It’s a warm alcohol than you can drink alone or mix in a cocktail. I love all rums. And not only agricultural rum. When I worked in the Caribbean I tried so many different kind of rums, so I know which ones will work best in the cocktails I want to create. I also like to work with Cachaca from Brazil. It’s sweet and it mixes very well with cocktails.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
A good cocktail is related to the bartender, the quality of the products he has chosen, the way he works with those products, and the way he mixes, stirs and shakes.
Sorry, I don’t want to highlight a product, I’d like to highlight another spirit which is special for me. It’s a bourbon called Angel’s Envy Kentucky Bourbon, it’s finished in a port wine barrel, and you can feel it at the end. That’s the taste you have in your mouth after the last sip. I drink it neat as I think it’s a waste to work with it in a cocktail. It’s more like a digestive, than a spirit.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
50ml of Vida mezcal
25ml of lime juice
20ml of homemade ginger syrup
2 dashes of orange bitter
10ml of apricot brandy
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
You need to go to EEC London Chinatown to meet Thibauld.