Patrick Thomas : Vintage Cocktail Club (Dublin)

Pat is a bartender at Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC) in Dublin. He shows us 2 cocktails, one is irish whisky based and the other one is Kentucky whisky based

Patrick, introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Pat Thomas from Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC) in Dublin, the first fully dedicated cocktail bar in Ireland. I’ve been working here for 3 years, but been a bartender for 11 years now, starting in a neighborhood pub just to pay my bills, then I moved through boutique hotels, 5 stars hotels, cocktail bars, nightclubs and restaurants… pretty much everything by this stage. The spark for me with cocktails came when I entered a competition being run in Ireland and it just made me want to make more drinks. A hero of mine is Stanislav Vardna from Paparazzi who now works at Nikka Whisky. One of his books was about professor Jerry Thomas whom I had never heard of before and on the cover of the book was a picture of him by a grave with the name Thomas Patrick on it. It was just like my name and I thought who and WTF is this? So, I got more and more interested, searching about drinks, researching history, then joined VCC and I’ve been mixing cocktails ever since.

The classic you want to show us
Irish Manhattan
60ml of Redbreast 12 years
30ml of Cynar
5ml of ruby port
2 dashes of celery bitters
2 dashes of angostura bitters

The bar or party you dream of
Oddly enough, the downstairs area here is pretty much it. This building lay empty for 4 years and before, I used to come here me with my friends quite a lot, as there was a late night music bar here. I used to say if I had the money, I would like to open a cocktail bar here, in the basement. Then I was approached by a friend who was in contact with the company who owned the lease. It’s small… ten tables with candles. You can have 50 people, with the kitchen which opens right up. It’s nice, intimate, chilled out, not offensive or pretentious, just what I like. You can come as you are, drink a few drinks, or have a beer. I would only change the music, I don’t like it. I’d make it more rock and roll. I work where I want, so I’m lucky.

The spirit you like the most
Definitely whisky, it’s the original cocktail spirit. A lot of passion goes in to making a good whisky, that’s why you usually just serve it on the rocks. So you try to share this passion in your cocktail. The best are Irish whiskies, they are the original kind of whisky used for cocktails in the US like The Julep, not bourbon. Even more were made in New York, because it was easier to find Irish whisky for a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned than an american whiskey. 50% of the great classic cocktails were initially made with Irish whisky.

What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
Balance : you can use marshmallow, vodka, cognac, 50 year old whisky, whatever you want, if you don’t have the balance, there is no point. The balance shows the direction. If you want a sweet drink you go in one direction and back down with something in the balance, there is nothing worse than a drink that just tastes flat. The product I want to highlight is Guinness reduction, it’s very versatile, it gives a great savoury note and adds a maltiness to a drink. To make it we reduce the Guinness by half on the cooker and add a drop of malt extract, it works very well in whisky based drinks.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Smokey Select
50ml of Woodford reserve
20ml of Campari
20ml of Rasperry syrup
3 dashes of peychaud bitter
1 pinch of Maldon smokey sea salt
Twist of orange

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender

In Dublin I would go to MVP (Minimum Viable Pub) in Harolds Cross to have a pint of Guinness and a chat with Shane, Anna and Phoebe. Otherwise, Back Page, a southern dive bar in New Orleans, where you can have a good Manhattan, good food and drinks, it’s just chilled.

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