Ali Ali: Oriole (London)

Ali Ali is a the bar manager at Oriole, in London. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Poppy Flower Cordial and Kefir and the second with Gin and Wine.

Ali introduce yourself
My name is Ali, I’m 28 and I’m from a city in Bulgaria called Bourgas. I’ve lived in London for nearly 3 years now and worked for Oriole the whole time. Before I moved here I worked as a bartender in my hometown for five years. I initially began working in a little coffee shop, but decided to follow the path of my brother (who is a bartender), because when I watched him and his colleagues, it looked like a great job. After working for a few years I became a bar manager and moved to Sofia. Then I came to London and specifically Oriole because I met the bar manager in Sofia while they were judging a competition I was part of and they proposed I join their team.

The classic you want to show us
Peranakan Fizz
40ml of Gin
25ml of Fermented Marzipan
20ml of Kefir
10ml of Poppy Flower Cordial
80ml of Pandan Kombucha

The bar you dream of
I’d like a small place for around 50-60 people in a sunny place like Spain where you can also eat tapas. If you serve drinks, you need food and I’d serve tea and coffee too. Here at Oriole we are in a basement, so for a change I’d have big windows so the ambience evolves during the day with the light. My cocktails would be tiki style and the music would be Latino to add to the ambience.

What do you do in your time off
I stay home and research drinks or go to restaurants to try new flavours and I particularly like desserts. Otherwise, I play a little basketball with colleagues. I actually graduated from a sports school studying Greco-roman wrestling, so sport is important for me.

The spirit you like the most
It’s gin because it’s light, floral and easy to mix because it’s tastes like summertime. I like to mix monkey 47 and Tanqueray Ten because for me they are complementary in a martini, but Hendricks is nice too.

What makes a good cocktail
A good cocktail is based on seasonal products, mixed at the right temperature in the glass to keep the right dilution. Simple things, but essential.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I love to work with fermented beverages, like kombucha or water kefir. We ferment a lot of stuff here. I like the natural balance between acidity and sweetness. It’s easy to prepare, versatile, but it takes time.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
House Negroni
40ml of Gin
30ml of Campari
15ml of Homemade Blend Sweet Vermouth
15ml of Resin Wine

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
One of my favourite places in London is The Connaught. Night Jar is where my brother works so you should also go to meet him and I like Coupette a lot too.

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