The Thinking Drinkers Interview

Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland otherwise known as The Thinking Drinkers are busy people, and when we say busy we mean BUSY! From writing for top publications to touring in their own theatre show, there really aren’t many people working as hard as these 2 in trying to make the world a better place to drink in. They recently picked up the Imbibe ‘Educator of the Year’ award and Giffard managed meet up with them for a ‘very serious’ chat about the awards and what The Thinking Drinkers are all about:

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MxMo: Banana Panic with a Martini Mashup

Giffard Liqueurs & Syrups:

Some inspiration to use our Banane du Brésil Liqueur !

Originally posted on Rated R Cocktails:

So if you’ve read Rated R Cocktails before you know classic cocktails are not my bag. Sure I love a Negroni, a French 75, a Rob Roy, and a hipster juice, but Tiki is my bag. It’s only because I love my longtime Twitter and Mixoloseum buddy Dagreb from Nihil Utopia that I participate in this month’s MxMo. I do love Martini’s but this month we’re making “Not A Martini”.

Okay so confessional time, I love gin. Gin sadly does not last around here because I tend to drink it straight with a lime twist. My Alcoholism aside I also love Martini’s, but I won’t be happy without olives. To me a martini needs olives, and all the twists in the world won’t replace them, though that doesn’t mean I want you to add olive juice. Read this: If I come in to your bar and order a martini…

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Au Revoir Mexicana, G’Day Mexico!

Bildo Saravia & Mike Tomašić   &

Bildo Saravia & Mike Tomašić

Bondi Beach, Sydney. Arguably one of the coolest places on the planet, but also a place with contradictions that should not work – One of the world’s best beaches, full of beautiful people all hanging out in the sun, doing yoga, paddle boarding or surfing….mixed in with some of the scariest deadliest wildlife on the planet. Expensive real estate but still a haven for backpackers! However,  somehow everyone and everything manages to get along swimmingly most of the time (pardon the pun). Which brings us to Mr Moustache, a cocktail bar and restaurant which has somehow managed to seamlessly marry lively Mexican food and culture with the refinement of French elitism from the 1920s. Like the contradiction of yoga bunnies and sharks hanging out on the beach it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but trust us, this one really does. The decor is slick with an element of understated cool, not a Piñata or sombrero in site. The food is beautifully presented, showcasing the best of Mexico’s rich culinary history without being a pastiche of its own heritage.

So onto the drinks. The menu is a collaboration between Phil Ward from Mayahuel, New York, and Mike Tomašić so you should expect great things and you won’t be disappointed. The drinks are Mescal led, all ingredients being locally sourced wherever possible.The juices hand squeezed daily using a Mexican elbow and the garnishes are simple yet elegant.  Many of the cocktails also use key spices from the kitchen meaning there is a real synergy between the food and drinks.

Heres a couple of our favourites:


According to ‘The Urban Dictionary’ Pamplemousse is slang for little fatso in France. Not too sure how true this is but why let the truth get in the way of a good story….. or a great name for a cocktail for that matter!

Calle 23 Blanco
Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse
Angostura Orange Bitters
Fresh pink grapefruit
Fresh lime
Egg white

Little Fatso's Fizz

Little Fatso’s Fizz


A riff on the 20th Century ~ a classic cocktail from the early 1900’s consisting of Gin, White Crème de Cacao, Lillet Blanc and lemon ~ the 21st Century plays on the seamless affinity between Mezcal and chocolate in a non-cloying, refreshing kinda way.

Nuestra Soledad
Giffard White Crème de Cacao
Cocchi Americano
Fresh lemon

21st Century

21st Century


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“Inspired by the Joker and the Thief from Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower”

Alex DyzartAlex Dyzart is from Kent but he aquired his cocktail mixing skills in Auckland’s speakeasies during a two year stay in New Zealand. On returning to the UK Alex fell on his feet and joined the team at the famous Venn Street Records, where he is now assistant manager.

Alex’s first tattoo features Sailor Jerry Swallows “that are linked heavily to Sailor Jerry rum. A very popular brand with bartenders”, he explains. “My next tattoo was rather more ambitious and took three years in the planning alone. Inspired by the Joker and the Thief from Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, the design covers my entire right sleeve and it was important to get every detail correct. I’m now working on designs for my left sleeve with a phoenix as its central character. But it’s not just the design that’s time consuming, finding the tattoo artist that I want to work with is a challenge in its own right”.

In 2013 a close friend, with a passion for blue coloured drinks, passed away and that Blue Daiquiri was his favorite cocktail ever, “he drunk it all the time !” said Alex.

Blue Daiquiri

60ml Plantation 3 Star Rum
10ml Giffard Blue Curacao
30ml Fresh lime juice
5ml – 10ml Giffard Sugar Syrup, according to taste

Hard shake.

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“Following a wandering heart without reference to time”.

Julian Zerressen

Julian Zerressen

Happiness Forgets is wonderful name for a bar and until a few months ago that is where you would have found Julian Zerressen. He is now storming a ‘pop-up’ cocktail bar called the Art of the Aperitif, at the Langham Hotel, before departing on a meandering journey across the globe via wherever his heart takes him, arriving whenever he arrives.

Originally from Munich, Julian is keen to discover cocktail making in different countries and cultures. It is “an ongoing love affair that is far from over”, he says. Julian loved the hospitality industry from an early age. His father has always run bars and restaurants and after studying Hotel Management at college, it was a natural move for Julian to continue his training in a Michelin starred kitchen. He then changed tack and spent the next two years at the Golden Bar in Munich. Julian smiled and explained, “Training in a top kitchen was really challenging and tremendous fun but I really missed the interaction with customers. It means something to create something for someone, place it in their hand and then watch their face as they enjoy it. You never get that intense interaction working in the kitchen”.

Julian’s tattoos are souvenirs of his travels. Little reminders from a variety of countries and cities but he makes a point never to visit the same tattoo artist twice. “My next tattoo will be in Thailand”, he says. “I’m not sure when but in the next few months”, he continued “But before I go let me make you my cocktail of the moment, the Trinidad Sour.  It was created by Giuseppe Gonzales and it changed my view on bitters forever”.

Trinidad Sour

30ml Angostura Bitters
30ml Giffard Orgeat
15ml Rye Whisky
25ml fresh lemon juice

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“It’s a personal statement by one individual for another”.

Adriano Di Giovanni

Adriano Di Giovanni

One day a week Adriano Di Giovanni spends a solid six hours just preparing for cocktails. Just three years ago Adriano left sunny Sicily with the express intention of becoming a world class cocktail specialist. For the last year or so he has been at Zilouf’s in Islington. “What I love about this bar is that whatever we can grow or make ourselves we do and that applies as much to sauces in the kitchen as it does to juices behind the bar and the decor on the walls”, he says. “There is a really positive, ‘yeah let’s do it’ attitude here. We are encouraged to try new things, to experiment”.

Adriano is Italian and in keeping with the national stereotype there is an energy and passion to the man as he explains what motivates him, “As a bartender, making a cocktail for someone is more than a job. It’s a personal statement by one individual for another. This is from me to you and I want it to be the best it can be. I want to see you enjoy my work”.

Outside Zilhouf’s windows it has stopped raining and by midday the sun is beginning to shine on Upper Street. Looking back from the scene Adriano says that this “Is the perfect time for an Espresso Martini”.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Coffee
Giffard Noisette D’Anjou
Giffard Cherry Brandy

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Tattoos and bartending are a blend of two profound subcultures

Nathan Shearer

Nathan Shearer

“They’re a very personal scrapbook”, Nathan Shearer says of his tattoos. “I got my first when I was 19. It was a small act of rebellion and a bold step into a new subculture. Since then they have become markers from travels around the world, with two from Smith Street in New York City but most from Soho in London. I have always admired the talent and craftsmanship of great tattoo artists”, he continued.

Born and raised in South Wales, Nathan had a long-standing interest in cocktails before he moved to London to study Computer Science at King’s College. The discovery of London’s social scene led on to what Nathan calls the “seductive bartender subculture” and the point of no return. He trained at the London Cocktail Club and with a well respected reputation he is now creating his own art at uber cool Callooh Callay in Shoreditch.

A great cocktail requires many things but “chief among them are trusted brands with consistent flavours and the use of fresh natural ingredients is a must. I won’t have anything artificial on the bar” says Nathan. “Right now, my favourite cocktail is a classic Mai Tai. Happy to make one for you anytime”, he concludes.

Mai Tai
15ml Lime Juice
15ml Giffard Orgeat
15ml Cointreau
25ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Appleton VX
10ml Goslings 151, floated on top.

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