Renowned mixologist Ally Martin shares fascinating insights and shares an easy cocktail recipe

The mixologist opened up about the art of mixology and his favourite drink, a quick DIY and more
Ally Martin
Ally Martin

Mixing spirits is an art. A brilliant mixologist studies the world and has a rich appreciation of the ingredients which is reflected in their drinks. And among the few mixologists who are raising the bar higher and higher is the world-renowned Scotland-based mixologist Ally Martin – the global ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin. For Ally, it all started when he was studying at the University of Edinburgh. He started bartending to earn a bit of extra money and he says, his job as a glass washer was far from glamorous. He moved from one job to the other and fell in love with the drink mixing which ultimately became his career. He has worked at some of the most prestigious bars across the world including Bramble bar, a stalwart on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars list and is the winner of the UK edition of Bacardi legacy. We caught up with Ally as he promotes the brand’s new variant in India to know more about the white spirits, life as a bartender, the most suitable drink for the first-timer, and some fascinating insights into the unique, tasty and incredibly refreshing cocktails he prepares. Excerpts:

How did your fascination with spirits start?
My fascination began at University when I began working in cocktail bars. I instantly fell in love with the hospitality industry and the skill and passion which goes into making great cocktails. That is where my love affair for spirits began as I worked with great liquids and learned the craft that goes into making great spirits.

What is the best part of being a bartender?
One of the best parts of the job is when I met people from different cultures and get the chance to immerse myself in societies in the diverse countries I visit. As a bartender, you often get to do exactly that.

What are the challenges you face in your line of work?
First, is to make sure we stand out from the crowd. It is also about introducing people to how incredible a certain drink is. It’s about looking at those problems and finding creative ways to bring our mix to life for drinkers.

What cocktail pick would you recommend for a first-time gin drinker? 
If you are just beginning your journey in the world of gin drinking then, of course, I would recommend a Gin & Tonic. It’s the classic way to enjoy a gin and we always recommend garnishing your Gin & Tonic with a slice of cucumber to bring out the fresh cucumber notes. It’s the perfect drink for so many occasions.       

We find your Instagram very engaging, especially the travel posts. How much did your travel and exposure to other places help you develop your passion?
The exposure you get when you travel is so important to strengthen the passions I have for making cocktails. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Mexico, Colombia, the USA, the UK, the USA, France, Singapore, Japan, and South Africa. Immersing myself in new cultures is my favourite part of the job and I learn so much when I do that. Some of my favourite cocktail experiences have been when travelling.

Which are your favourite drinks and mixes? 
It always depends on the mood or where I am. Before dinner, I love to have a Gin Martini, it’s a timeless classic and it’s very simple. I also love to drink a Negroni for that wonderful bitter flavor it has and a Gimlet on sunny days is incredible.

Give us an easy, DIY cocktail we can whip up at home for our guests. 

 An easy DIY cocktail is a Cucumber Lemonade, simple and fresh. Mix 50ml of Gin, 25ml Lemon Juice, 15ml Sugar Syrup and top with soda water over lots of ice. Simple, fresh and invigorating.

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