William Hetzel is assistant bar manager at Scout in London. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Vodka and Kefir and the second with Gin and Whisky.
William introduce yourself
My parents own several restaurants, so I’ve known the hospitality industry since I was a kid. I studied hospitality for 6 years in Strasbourg specialising in bartending. Originally I wanted to be a pastry chef, but I didn’t like the feeling in a kitchen. For me the bar was better because it was a great mix of creativity and interaction with people. After finishing my studies, I worked in Paris at Le Mandarin Oriental, but the feeling of a palace was not my cup of tea, so a friend advised me to move to London to learn more. I sent my resume to all the best bars in London (around 20 bars), then Bar Termini answered me. I went there for an interview and shift with Roberta the bar manager at the time and Max from Three Sheets who was also there at this time and they hired me as a bartender. About a year later Constança contacted me to become the head bartender at Peg and Patriot. I had learnt a lot by myself but I needed to go further, so I joined Constança and Matt to learn from them. I progressed a lot thanks to both Constanca and Matt and when Matt asked me to move with him to Scout one year ago as bar assistant manager I jumped at the chance. You need to work every day in a lab to get it and to understand the possibilities. That’s partly why every week we change 1 or 2 drinks on the menu, and we’ve had 90 different cocktails on the menu so far. All the fresh products we use, have to come from England, and you see on the menu the origin of the main product we focus on instead of the spirit. We don’t put the name of the alcohol, because most of the time we redistill the spirit, so you can’t feel it. We forage a lot as well, so we use ingredients people normally don’t use or try in cocktails. We try to be as sustainable as we can by not using straws or paper… and we use integrally all the ingredients we work with.
The classic you want to show us
20ml of Beach Rose distilled with Vodka
5ml of Alexander Seeds distilled with Vodka
25ml of Grey Goose Vodka
25ml of Fermented Rhubarb
20ml of Sugar Syrup
40ml of Kefir
Top with Soda
The bar you dream of
I would open Scout in Japan, because I love both Japan and Scout. The service here is more like a restaurants, we come to see the client and explain the menu and the concept. The clients know why we are here, so they are interested and open to our mindset. I love this approach, but maybe my Japanese Scout would be smaller, with around 20 seats.
What do you do in your time off
I love video games and listening to a lot of music. Otherwise, I read novels: I like Stephen King and Agatha Christie. I am also a big fan of Woody Allen movies and I think Café Society is his best.
The spirit you like the most
My favourite spirits to work with is vodka, as it’s the perfect base. It’s like a blank canvas for a painter, you have the kick of the booze without any taste so it’s easy to distill to work with.
What makes a good cocktail
The taste, what you read is what you taste. So you need to read the ingredients on the menu and if it’s well balanced, you can feel the main ingredients with its own specificities, like a gastronomic restaurant.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Sugar, it’s what we use the most here in syrups, fermentations, kombuchas or liqueurs.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
30ml of Nikka Coffee Malt Whisky
10ml of Bombay Sapphire Gin
10 ml of Sugar Syrup
80ml of Acorn Coffee
Top with Tonic
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
My favourite bar in the world isbar Trench in Japan and it hasn’t changed in the last three years. It’s a small bar, with ten seats, a great ambience, great music and amazing cocktails. Otherwise in London, go to Sager & Wild, they’ve made me some of the best cocktails I’ve had in my life.