Things are getting a little muddled here at Ana’s. And we’re not just talking about that fuzzy-headed ‘morning after’ feeling (although that’s a distinct possibility too thanks to our bartenders’ notoriously enthusiastic pouring technique). Muddling is the combining of ingredients for a cocktail by mashing them in the bottom of a glass into one happy squelch of deliciousness.
Now you might think muddling is easy. But it actually has a mammoth margin for error. Ever had a mojito that tastes a little ‘grassy’? That’s due to over-zealous mint-crushing making it release its bitter chlorophyll. One man who knows how to muddle with style is Gavin. Our mixology maestro can whip up Ana’s signature Strawberry Fields faster than you can name the band who had a hit by the same name.
Strawberry Fields recipe:
- Muddle fresh strawberries and passionfruit
- Add Grey Goose vodka
- Throw in a dash of simple syrup and a handful of crushed ice
- Top it off with a slug of lemon juice
With 12 years in the business under his belt Gavin has perfected the art of charming the guests. But if there’s one profession where charisma equals success it’s bartending, right? “A good bartender is personable,” Gavin agrees. “He always remembers guests, is genuine and smiles.
“When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor so I could help people and save lives. When school finished and I was waiting for college to start I was offered a summer job behind a bar. I guess the summer’s not up yet! I love the industry and that’s why I keep on doing it. The best advice I was ever given was to never take things personally. Liquor can bring out the best and the worst in people; you have to take it all with a grain of salt.”
There’s one more trick to his trade too: measurements. Or rather lack of. “I rely on my instinct!” Now when it comes to muddling, that couldn’t be clearer.
Do you prefer the alcohol in your cocktail meticulously measured or gleefully guesstimated? Tell us below!
by Gemma Handy.