When Bartenders Talk - Guillaume Le Dorner
In our new book Where Bartenders Drink 300 expert drink-makers reveal 750 spots across 60 countries
Until recently Guillaume Le Dorner worked at the legendary 69 Colebrooke Row Cocktail Bar in Islington, North London - a place described in our new book Where Bartenders Drink by Dave Arnold the Founder and President of the Museum of Food and Drink as: 'The kind of place where you can have all these drinks that have gone through the rotovap (a high-tech device to aid evaporation) and yet there's a tranny band playing, or a honky tonk piano guy."
As Arnold says, "I like that, I like a good bit of fun thrown in with my serious." And if you like that too you'll find plenty of it in our new book Where Bartenders Drink. In it, the best 300 expert drink-makers share their secrets - 750 spots spread across 60 countries - revealing where they go for a drink throughout the world when they're off-duty. Venues range from late-night establishments and legendary hotel bars to cosy neighbourhood 'locals' - often in some very surprising locales.
Written and compiled by the native New Yorker Adrienne Stillman, the co-founder, editor-in-chief, and event director of Dipsology, a curated digital guide and online community for cocktail enthusiasts, it's pretty much the only guide you need to ensure that you get the best drinks in the most memorable global locations.
Over the past few weeks we've been interviewing some of the bartenders in it and today we kick off our new series with a chat with Guillaume Le Dorner - ex of 69 Colebrooke Row and currently setting up a new bar, Luciole. This is what he told us:
Where are you from and and how did you get into this line of work? I am originally from Brittany in France, I have worked most of my professional life in London. I now live in the town of Cognac in the south west of France. I started to work behind a bar when I was about 20. It was support my studies at the beginning, I was living in the UK to perfect my English but I got really passionate about bartending and this passion quickly took over and that become my career.
What's the one thing about being a bartender that would surprise people? That’s a hard one, there is one thing I didn’t expect when I started bartending, I didn’t think that the industry would become such a big part of my life. It is not just a job, people who bartend do it by passion. From their day to day shift, to the places they go out to, the seminars they attend, the competition they participate in. You live, breath, eat bartending. It’s truly amazing to work in an industry where they are so many committed individuals. If your bartender knows how to mix a good drink, there is a fair chance that he or she spends most of his time thinking or experimenting on drinks.
What's your favourite cocktail to make and why do you like making it? My favourite cocktails to make would be an Avignon, it’s a cocktail that we are putting on the menu in my new bar Luciole. It’s very simple on the paper, Cognac and Roman chamomile syrup stirred down and served in Frankincense smoked glass. It’s a cocktail based on meditation and religion. It is named after the town of Avignon in France, known as well as the city of the popes during medieval time. The frankincense brings a calm and appeasing feeling while the mix of cognac and syrup bring softness. It is truly a cocktail that takes you somewhere else.
Do cocktails go in and out of fashion? Well, there has been cocktails and ingredients coming in and out of fashion. There has been a lot of research in classic cocktails over the last few years and that means that old school classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or the Martini are back on the map. I personally believe that cognac will make a comeback, cognac was used very often for cocktails before the phyloxera crisis and I think that it’s about time that cognac found its place of choice in the bartending world.
What do you do when you’re not mixing? At the moment, when I am not bartending, I am working on the building site of my new bar Luciole, following the progress of the building, looking for materials. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait for Luciole to open.
Check out Where Bartenders Drink in the store and check back in the coming days for another interview with one of its star mixologists.