Imagine being a bartender at one of the glitziest bars in town when a celebrity couple walks in, hand in hand. The catch: Neither are with their usual red carpet counterpart.
For some bartenders, such a scenario is akin to striking gold; the perfect chance to out an indiscretion and earn their watering hole some buzz. But that is unacceptable by Erik Lorincz’s standards.
“If someone trusts you with a secret, would you go around telling it to everyone?” questions the head bartender of The American Bar at The Savoy, London.
Lorincz dropped by Fairmont Singapore recently to show off his craft at the Anti:dote bar. The 37-year-old, who counts Japan as his favourite country to visit, distils his love of Japanese ingredients into the drinks he makes.
Policeman Hook, for instance, is his personal concoction comprising Bruichladdich whisky with crispy reindeer moss and kombu (seaweed) vermouth, while Abby Road combines his current tipple of choice (The Botanist Gin, which he favours for its nuanced flavours, thanks to the 22 foraged herbs it contains) with fresh yuzu and citrus dust.
(RELATED: We reviewed the Bruichladdie Octomore 7.1 – and give it a thumbs up.)
“The mark of a good bartender isn’t just about making great drinks. It’s about being a great host, and that means reading the situation and knowing how to run a bar,” says Lorincz. For instance, in the celebrity scenario mentioned, the winner of Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2010 would have quietly seated the couple at one of the back tables adjacent to the bar, before mixing their favourite drink.
Discretion is key, and it’s why celebrities – Frank Sinatra was known to frequent The Savoy for whisky and to play the piano – have favoured the swanky London outfit for a good 126 years.
(RELATED: The Peak’s been bar-hopping for a while now – here are our top picks.)
That’s not to say the guest is always the star. Once, a customer swore at a staff member for not getting him a spot at one of four coveted bar seats. Not minding that the guest was double his size and chalking up a generous bill, the 1.9m Slovak swooped in and handed him the bill.
“He wouldn’t stop even when I told him to, and we have zero tolerance for rowdiness in the bar,” says Lorincz. “The only ‘F’ words we allow are food and Friday.”
If this all sounds a bit intimidating, it’s only because Lorincz wants guests to be able to sit back and savour what he does best. After all, going by The Peak’s tasting of his work at Anti:dote, the concoctions at The Savoy are delicious and, at £16 (S$31) a glass, surely meant to be lingered over.
We think Lorincz might even make an exception for swearing in this case, if it’s over a darn good cocktail.