Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest It’s always exciting when mixologists from some of the best bars from around the world visit the Philippines for cocktail events and guest shifts. The opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business inspires people in our local industry. City of Dreams Cocktail creator Sam Jeveons shares 5 Tips for Up-and-Coming Bartenders: Learn your classics. “There are thousands of cocktails, but if you hone your skills and experience with a classic recipe, you can use them as your base to jump off on new recipes. Cocktails taste great if it stood the test of time. The drinks that I create are variations of old classic drinks,” he says. “The Blood and Sand cocktail first originated in 1922, and I did a drink yesterday for a video shoot and the first drinks were actually created in 1850, so, taste really hasn’t changed that much. We do have to adapt these cocktails and make them into new products and give them new flavors, new balances to give to the palate of today’s generation of drinkers. But the inspiration and origins are very very old. There are thousands of cocktails, but if you hone your skills and experience with a classic recipe, you can use them as your base to jump off on new recipes.” It doesn’t matter how fantastic you look doing all these wonderful bartending moves if your cocktail doesn’t taste great. “Creativity has spring boarded in the last decade. Molecular mixology, a whole sort of garnishes and fancy stuff and some of my friends like Luca Cinalli from Nightjar London, he moves like a ninja behind the bar,” he says. “But all of that doesn’t retract from the fact that, It doesn’t matter how fantastic you look doing all these wonderful moves if your cocktail just doesn’t taste great.” Have you seen the viral video online showing two bartenders creating Gin and Tonic in 2005 vs 2015? The video shows one bartender creating a classic g&t in less than 30 seconds and the other took almost 3 minutes to prepare an elaborate and almost funny looking g&t. Sam says this funny video somehow shows how bartending changed over the years. “Cocktails taste great if it stood the test of time. If you haven’t stood the test of time, if you haven’t been a cocktail who’s been drunk all over the world, since 1922? How do you know that you’re good?” he adds. According to him, his cocktails are not Instagrammable—sometimes bartenders focus so much on the presentation that by the time you taste the cocktail it is already watered down. The flavors, preparation, and presentation should be balanced. Drink. “Hong Kong is a city of bartenders who don’t drink,” says Sam. “You’ve got to love what you do.” Do not rely solely on technology. “Technology is killing us,” he says. “In 28 Hong Kong Street, they don’t have Wi-Fi, so you can’t be on your phone, hence everybody is in there talking.” When he started in the industry, no one relied on the internet for recipes. “I used to bring 23 books with me to study some recipes, and I would write each recipe down so I could study them. Nowadays, everything is available at a touch of a screen. The problem is it’s not on their head. The new bartenders they don’t know anything in here (taps his head) because technology is their go to. Take that away and what can they do?” What’s inside Sam Jeveons tool kit He talks about some of the great bartenders that London has produced; they need to be able to memorize 250 cocktail recipes just for an interview. “I used to write the tests for the London bars that I used to run and we had three-hour exams. You look at the alumni; cocktail recipes are drilled into them. It helps turn you into somebody who can talk about it,” he adds. Most of these bartenders end up consulting all over the world. These bartenders then go on to write books and herald the new chapter of bartending. This is a job about people, not about cocktails. “My age is the last age of bartenders who learned from real people whose job wasn’t to make drinks but run the room, host the room.” He says that in his time, the bartenders were better known to guests than the bars themselves. “It was bartender first before the place because you were being hosted. I guess to a degree, that style of bartending might be on its way out. I don’t know if it’s a trend, I need to teach these guys that if it is a trend they need to reverse it.” Visit City of Dreams Manila to try Sam Jeveons’s signature drinks. The drink menu is available at CenterPlay, Crystal Lounge, Waves, and Breezes.