Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Over the last 5yrs I have been buying to my wife's dismay, an array of lovely bartending equipment. For a along time all I did was collect it like a magpie hoarding it in my  "special" bartending box. Now that I am doing some work for Martin Millers I get to use it on special occasions. Here are just a few pictures of what I have been collecting over the years. Here is a collection of my bar spoons.
And here are some of my jiggers

Well that's most of my stuff....

That's not a knife its a spoon!

Since starting at the Merchant, ice and it's use has played a huge part of my working bartending life. We started humbly. We fumbled our way through making, storing, using and cutting it. It was a total nightmare and extremely time consuming. In Belfast we don't have the luxury of ordering in pre made blocks of ice. So every single piece of ice has been made by us for us...
We haven't changed our methods that much in five years. We freeze tap water, yes pure tap water in large plastic containers and place them into chest freezers. Its takes two to three days for the water to freeze into a solid block. We then remove the frozen block and let it defrost awhile. Once the ice block has defrosted a little we removed it from its plastic container. We set to work with an ice pick, we collect all the clear ice discarding the ice that is cloudy(mineral and dust sediment). It's that easy folks, really it is that simple. Here is me with a chinese meat cleaver cutting ice in the wonderful merchant hotel.


I visited Manhattan once, it was just after 911. You could cut the tension with a knife, the streets were dead, like a vacuum cleaner had just sucked the life out of the city.I want to go back because I never had a Manhattan in Manhattan.

Manhattan, Manhattan
Soft, silky, smooth
luxurious like satin

An elegant combination
that lingers on your lips
It numbs the tongue

The rye bites at your gums
The gentle sting of pleasure
It's a great Manhattan's measure

A volatile mixture of
Rye, bitters and vermouth
Bound together by tradition

Manhattan, Manhattan
Soft, silky, smooth
luxurious like satin

Drunk in a sensual 
And pleasurable fashion

Manhattan, Manhattan
Soft, silky, smooth
luxurious like satin