Guillaume Le Dorner : 69 Colebrook Row (London)

Guillaume is the bar manager at 69 Colebrook Row in London. He makes us two cocktails, one is gin based and the other one uses cognac.

Guillaume introduce yourself
Hi I’m Guillaume and I’m the bar manager at 69 Colebrook Row in London. I began my career as a kitchen porter and worked my way up to become a chef. That was 8 years ago and during this time I decided I wanted to become a bartender. I’ve
always been interested in flavours and flavour combinations and the first time someone made me taste a cocktail, I thought it was really cool to create such a complex taste with only 3 ingredients. It was very professional and sharp and I was
impressed. For me in that moment something just clicked and I became passionate about cocktails. Apart from the flavours and pushing the boundaries further and further, I simply love the customer relationships we can have on a daily basis… that’s the best part, that’s the job. What I like here in 69, is that we are able to provide a very good service and at the same time a chilled ambiance. You are here to help clients to feel comfortable, answer their questions and help them if they know nothing about cocktails.

The classic you want to show us
Dry Martini
50ml of gin
15ml martini extra dry with dry essence
1 olive

The bar or party you dream of
It would be a small team dedicated to 20-30 customers in a relaxed, cosy ambiance. It would be very dark… I like dark places. A simple, good short cocktail list with few very good beers, like Belgium ones and some food prepared by a chef. As I love rock and roll like the Rolling Stones, the music would of course reflect this.
When I party it depends on my mood. Going to cocktail bars is always good fun as you can see how other people work and catch up with them. Otherwise I love pubs and there is nothing better than spending a chilled Sunday afternoon in a good London pub.

The spirit you like the most
I like gin because it’s not a very strong spirit in itself, compared to scotch which can takeover everything else. Gin is not the main flavour of the cocktail, it’s more the leading one which supports the other flavours.

What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
It’s a good cocktail when people like it, nothing more complicated than that. It’s not a magic, just allow the 3 senses to be stimulated: it needs to look good, smell good and taste good. You know at the end people are happy to pay for an expensive drink if they like it. Once someone asked me for a dirty martini, but really dirty. In the end it was 10ml of gin for 80ml of olive juice, but it was what she wanted, so for her it was a good cocktail.
I love ambrette that we use a lot here. It’s a seed mostly used in perfume and it’s flowery and mustardy at the same time. Not many people know this ingredient, but it has a great flavour and it’s always good to make someone discover something new. It’s like a bitter, it adds something different which twists the taste.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
50ml of cognac
15ml of camomile syrup
Put in frankincence smoked glass

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
You should go to Bar Termini to meet Roberta or Happiness Forgets in London or Little Red door in Paris, Remy does an amazing job there.