Johan, is bartender at La Serre restaurant. He makes two cocktails for us, one with rye whiskey and sloe gin, the second with calvados and cognac
Johan introduce yourself
Hi I’m Johan from Sweden, and I work at La Serre restaurant here in Dubai. I’ve been working in bars for the last 4 years.
I began in this industry as a waiter in cocktail bars in southern Spain where I started to learn about spirits, mixing drinks and flavours. In less than two weeks I realised that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Since then I have worked in different places and learnt different techniques from everywhere. I really like to create a special experience for an individual coming to my bar. I like the fact that everyone visiting the bar is different, so you have to tailor something just for them.
The classic you want to show us
10ml Sloe gin
10ml green chartreuse
10ml of Byrrh
Smoking glass with lemon wood sprayed with absinthe
2 dashes of creole bitters
3 dashes of lemon bitters
1 dash angustura
The bar or party you dream of
My dream bar would be small and rustic with low lights, old furniture, bookshelves and a lot of wood, to create a Victorian feeling. The menu would be very classic with some signature drinks, focusing on whisky and gin.
When I want to party, that’s the same kind of bar I like to go to. I sit at the bar and have a long chat with the bartender while drinking my cocktail and learning new stuff about my business.
The spirit you like the most
I love rye whiskey because it has a great history and it’s a great tradition in cocktails, in fact it’s one of the first spirits put in a cocktail. There are so many classic recipes using this spirit, it’s easy to be inspired. I am also a big fan of drinking it too.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
A good cocktail begins when it catches your eye on the menu. I love interesing names which tell you a story about the cocktail. It has to say something about the drink that the bartender can easily explain to you. Once the cocktail arrives it should look good and match with what you imagined from the name on the menu. Then, when you taste it even if it’s not mind blowing it should at least be interesting.
When I cook food I use a lot of spices. I go into different supermarkets to pick up different oriental spices not available in my homeland. For me, bitters are the spices of the cocktail world. That’s where the different flavours come from and add complexity and depth. My favourite brand is Fee Brothers and especially the rhubarb one, even if it’s not a complex one, it provides a sweet fruitiness.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
15ml of cognac
10ml Pedro Jimenez
15ml dolin rouge
5ml demerara 2.1
2 dashes old fashioned
2dashes plum bitter
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
Any bar in southern Spain which makes gin and tonic.