Barney O’Kane is a bartender at Little Red Door in Paris. He makes us two cocktails, one with Rum and Rhubarb Bitter and the second with Rye Whiskey and Beetroot Mistelle
Barney introduce yourself
My name is Barney O’Kane (Barney from Belfast) and I am from Belfast, obviously, Ireland. I have been working in bars for 7 years, mostly in Ireland. for the last 3 years, I’ve been working in Little Red Door, Paris. And for the last two years, I have been a part of the senior bar team, helping develop menus and travel around the world sharing what we as a bar are passionate about.
The classic you want to show us
45ml of Rhubarb Bitter
45ml of Dry Vermouth
15ml of Clairin Communal Rum
The bar you dream of
This changes often in my own head. I’d like somewhere clean and bright with High ceilings and lots of natural light, very very small but ever-changing seasonal local menus. Maybe a little kitchen where the menu changes every day and whoever can pop by, pop- up cook and make drinks. Basically, anything with a strong community leads ethos at the centre
What do you do in your time off
I like to try lots of different restaurants, I think it’s the best way to understand flavour and the importance of seasonality. A part from that I like to drink wine in the sun.
The spirit you like the most
It’s a tie between Mezcal and high ester rums, I think both categories have excellent examples of wild crazy tasting notes, natural fermentation, surprising flavours and real examples of terroir in a spirit. But if there can be only one, ester rum then.
What makes a good cocktail
If I really had to be picky, because now it is getting easier and easier to find a cocktail bar nearly everywhere. The most important thing for a good cocktail is, respect for the ingredients, locality, sourcing and the story/ethos behind it.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktail
I really like vermouth, I never understand dry martinis, what’s the point of having vermouth if all the flavour profiles of the vermouth are lost behind a heavy pour of a juniper-forward gin? Drink more vermouth. I also really have a sweet spot for rhubarb and gentian, what a surprise
The signature cocktail you want to show us
60ml of Beetroot Mistelle
20ml of Rye Whiskey
10ml of Baldoria Bitter
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
This is actually the hardest question for sure. Adrian Niño in 1802 Paris, the fountain of knowledge for high ester rums, the current menu there is fantastic and he is a champion host. Rueben Clark, Claridge’s hotel in London. He likes foraging, cools great pasta, has a clean fade and makes very tasty drinks. Johan Evers, a bar called Gemma, Stockholm. Drinks are always top-notch, glassware always so frosty, service is as charming as an old Irish pub, and he will make you fall in love with him within the hour.