When Bartenders Talk - Erik Lorincz
Savoy head barman and the man Bond turns to when he wants something more than a Martini shaken, not stirred
"It's very hard to top the American Bar at the Savoy, in London," says drinks industry specialist and Global Advocacy Director at Bacardi, Jacob Briars in our new book Where Bartenders Drink.
Indeed, the bar has topped the international cocktail scene for forty plus years. "Much like the ancient runins many of the ancient bars are not very good anymore," says Briars. "But The American Bar is as intact, and as important and as fantastic as it was in 1930. It is both timeless and contemporary."
Erik Lorincz has been the bar manager for the last five years at The American Bar and sitting at his bar and watching him mix up the best classic Savoy cocktails - or one of his own creations - is a true joy.
Erik is also one of the high profile contributors to 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.
The 750 expert recommendations come with insightful reviews, key information, specially commissioned maps, and an easy-to-navigate geographical organization. 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. Today we're talking with Erik.
Where are you from and and how did you get into this line of work? I'm originally from a little village in Slovakia called Branc. I studied in hospitality school where we touched on the basics of cocktails. That stayed in my head and I was constantly looking to learn more about bartending. I had very limited access to any information about cocktails and the hardest part was making my vision come true. I found a school in Prague, left my waiter job, friends and family and moved to Prague to learn about bartending. The first offer came straight from the school as my mentor was consulting on the first ever cocktail bar to open in Slovakia. I went for a trial shift and got a job as a barback while still at school in Prague. I had to travel every weekend 6 hours by train from Prague to Bratislava for 3 months until I finished school. The toughest bit was making a life-changing decision to become a bartender in a country that had no cocktail bars!
What's the one thing about being a bartender that would surprise people? How many times you are asked what is your real job! The biggest surprise comes after when I explain that as a bartender I consulted on the last two Bond movies, I got hired to work with Cartier and am constantly travelling around the world as a bartender at various events.
What's your favourite cocktail to make and why do you like making it? I am a big fan of Dry Martini and Negroni when at home. At work it's all about what the guests request.
Do cocktails go in and out of fashion? Yes, and there is a lot to explore and bring into cocktails still. I would like to see more local grown, herbs and vegetables used in cocktails.
What do you do when you’re not mixing? I love to go out into countryside. My favourite hobby for relaxing from the busy life style is being on a sailing boat and fishing for hours.
Check out Where Bartenders Drink in the store and check back in the coming days for another interview with one of its star mixologists.