Martin, is the managing director at Dry Martini in London. He makes two cocktails for us, one is with rye and Belsazar
vermouth, and the second one is with Cognac and Pear William Eau de Vie
Martin introduce yourself
I’m Martin Siska and I’m the managing director of Dry Martini in the White House Melia hotel in London. I have been a
bartender for the past 11 years and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. This job is about creativity and each day is different.
Initially I came from Slovakia to London to learn english and I got a bar back job (cleaning tables and polishing glasses), then later I had the opportunity to make my first cocktail. I moved to the Hush bar in Mayfair which specialised in cocktails and met so many talented people who shared their passion for mixology with me. After a few years I moved to the Donovan bar where I spent most of the last 5 years before coming here to Dry Martini.
The classic you want to show us
35 ml of Whistlepig Rye whiskey
25ml of Belsazar dry vermouth
30ml of Aperol
2drops of tonka bean droplets
The bar or party you dream of
It would be something small, dark and underground for around 50 people. I like the speakeasy style with vintage furniture and retro jazz music but I’d also have regular live music nights. It would be independent from a hotel to allow more
freedom for your creations. The cocktails list would be a mix of classic cocktails and some more innovative or eccentric.
It would a a short list, but with seasonal changes to use the best products available at that time of year. I would want a good facing with a good selection of quality spirits, so the client can choose the exact spirit he is looking for. I would also have a small kitchen to offer guests tapas, not full meals, but I think finger food is important.
When I go out I like to discover new places to eat and drink. My regulars are small place likes El camion in Soho or
Bar Termini for a coffee or a good negroni.
The spirit you like the most
For cocktails, I prefer to work with whisky and in particular islay whiskies because they are smoky like Ardbeg or Lagavullin . It’s interesting to pair the flavours and make people who don’t like or have not tried whisky discover it and enjoy it. I never want to cover up the flavour, but enhance it and change it, so people can understand it’s not only an oily or smoky taste.
It has lot of characters and as your palate evolves with time, it moves to drinks less sweet. I always recommend to non-whisky drinking customer to begin with a whisky like Glenmorangie as it’s easier.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
A good cocktail is about balance. Just two or three ingredients, but they need to be well balanced.
The product I want to highlight is herbs. I am using them in cocktails and as a garnish too. My favourite one at the moment is cardamon leaf. When you crush it slightly it releases a beautiful cinnamon aroma and flavour. We are also using Sichuan buttons, which cause your mouth and tongue to tingle and are quite spicy, it’s very strong but amazing.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
Year of the lady
50ml of Hennessy Cognac
10ml of pear Williams eau de vie
20ml of lemon juice
10ml of vanilla syrup
10ml of cinamon syrup
1 egg white
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
You should go to hotel bars like Artesian, Connaught, Savoy and Rosewood. For a speakeasy style bar try Nightjar,
Bar Termini for coffee and for fun to finish El Camion.