Mikey Enright & 1901 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Hayden Wood:

As the owner and operator of iconic Sydney gin Mecca The Barber Shop, Mikey stays at the sharp end of the industry through innovation and the ability to diversify his brand to areas that compliment his style and the ever-changing nature of the drinks game.

Mikey chose 1901 – The year that King C. Gillette and William Emerson Nickerson founded the American Safety Razor Company to begin mass-producing safety razors.

You need to be as sharp as a razor to stay ahead of the game in the bar industry. Mikey has added shaving accessories, an actual barbershop or two and a traditional British boozer to his bow in recent months and his embracing of the latest technology in a Rotary Evaporator is testament to a mission to offer his guests something different.

“They’re not cheap. So it’s a $15, 000 plus piece of kit. Generally what you use them for is to extract the flavour and turn it into a distillate. So we use it for a whole range of things – to do all our distillates, which essentially are our tinctures – we’ve got like 25 different tinctures that we can add to Martinis in The Barbershop. With Cherry Heering, I wanted to recreate a Gimlet, you know, going off The GilletteCocktail,Chicago style. So rather than using cordial, I’m using lime and sugar. I wanted the natural cherry notes the Cherry Heering deliver but rather than using just Cherry Heering, I Rotary Evaporated the liqueur extracting the colour to transform it into a clear liquid. It pretty much tastes the same and even the sweetness carries through the process.

While embracing cutting edge technologies and techniques, Mikey is adamant that without a solid foundation of core bar skills and knowledge the danger of over complicating the customer experience is very real.

“I actually think you need a good six months to a year as a bar-back first. And then you need two years, definitely of cocktail bartender experience. I personally think that you need to work in quite a few different types of bars. You know, work in a good restaurant bar, a large-scale hotel bar, beach clubs etc.”

“You know, the experience you get out of all those different styles of bars, I think rounds you as a career bartender. Moving forward I also think it’s a huge advantage to try to move into management before you kind of go past your sell by date. In terms of, you can’t bartend forever. So make sure you make the transition into management sooner, rather than later in your career. I think that’s a good thing because you get real good knowledge of the business side. This is especially important if you potentially want to open your own venue. That’s the next step really – opening your own venue. That’s the real challenge I think. It’s always a funny story listening to young bartenders saying.Oh I’m gonna open my own bar next year.And they’ve been in the industry for like two years. And you’re thinking Wow. I love your style, I love your enthusiasm, but that’s a big call.”

Regardless of his extensive experience in the industry, Mikey felt like he was starting again from scratch when he opened The Barber Shop. His mission of constantly evolving and innovating classic ideas closely resembled the Cherry Heering story. His Bicentenary cocktail exemplifies this marriage of old ideas executed in a modern technological way – bringing the past into the future.

Gillete Cocktail, Sydney Style

45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin

15ml Cherry Herring Distillate (Made by Rotary Evaporated Cherry Heering)

20ml Lime juice

10ml Sugar syrup

3 Drops Lemongrass Tincture

1 Drop Saline

Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with cubed ice, shake and strain

Garnish: Fresh cherry soaked in Negroni

Glassware: Vintage Coup

Rhys Wilson & 1863 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, in 1985 by a single mother Rhys explained: “My mother, along with my older brother Luke are by far my greatest influences from my younger years. My parents split when I was five, and we always said no matter what it will always be the three of us.”

 Rhys has fond memories of his upbringing. “Sydney is an incredible place to grow up; it has the outdoor lifestyle, and a relaxed mentality combined with all the perks of a large and beautiful metropolitan city.”

 Of travelling as a family throughout his younger years, Rhys said “this has shaped who I am today, and what I do. I have lived in five different countries, including Spain, Indonesia, Scotland, and England. And this year will bring a sixth.”

 The other element of his childhood that Rhys credits to influencing the man he is today is performing. Starting out on the stage when he was 14, Rhys went on to study Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. It was here that he landed his first job as a bartender at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney.

 He soon realised “my talents were not best served pursuing two different industries, but instead harnessing the aspects that both of them shared. I recognised that the stage I would best serve my audience was on the stage of some of the best bars in the world.”

 Today, Rhys is hugely grateful for his career: “I love so many aspects of my job; managing a team, running a business, developing and supporting talent, taking care of guests, seeing them enjoy what we create, and catering for them.”

 “Above all I still love the show. I love when it gets to 5pm, I get dressed up, dim the lights, put on some music, take a station, and be a part of the performance,” he added.

 Rhys’s passion for his job is clear “We treat the bar like our house, and everyone is our best mate coming around. We want them to feel comfortable, and drink something delicious.”

 He continued “Within the bar, it’s my job to maintain that atmosphere every day. On top of this, we don’t want to ever be complacent with success, but rather keep pushing boundaries, and ourselves to keep striving for better, both inside the bar, and within the global industry.”

 Throughout his extensive career, Rhys has had many mentors: “To me, a perfect mentor or influence is someone who inspires you, but at the same time guides you to be yourself and create your own path to your goals.”

 Rhys continued “A bar to me is about escapism, so I always want the conversation topic to be light and relaxing, nothing too intense. I want to talk about how many kms you ran today, why you have a tattoo of a snowman, which awesome drink you had or how lucky we are to have access to interesting ingredients. I believe we can have intelligent conversations, whilst keeping it fun.”

 Of his bar, Rhys commented “We try to always keep a balanced menu, and being quite classic in style allows us to recreate drinks from our past as well, so we always have plenty to draw on to get our guest their perfect drink.”

 “We of course have our hero cocktails like Tokyo Collins, Perfect Storm, and Jerezana, and Gin is still as popular as ever amongst consumers. Our international clientele are from the US which leads us over to the American Whiskey shelf, but I have also noticed the continual rise of agave spirits, and we are always looking for unique ways to showcase them, making them accessible to first time drinkers.”

 “A big part of Happiness’ success is the support of regulars and locals, and we forever have people coming back to drink drinks that were on our menu years, and years ago.”

 Rhys chose the year 1863 for his cocktail after taking the time to research lesser known Australian history. He explained “I wanted to focus on something a little different, that most people around the world wouldn’t know about, whilst at the same time tell an interesting story about the history of our country.”

 For this he settled on the comical tales of Ben Hall the bushranger: “They reminded me of being a little brother playing tricks on my older one.”

 “For the cocktail itself, I wanted it to relate to what the people of 1863 may have drunk. The rural areas back then were populated by poor and oppressed Irish families, so I created a drink that replicated a glass of Irish whiskey, stirred down with some added elements to heighten flavours for a tasty serve.,” he finished.

 

Ben Hall Cocktail

50ml Irish Whiskey (Green Spot)

10ml Cherry Heering

15ml Freya Birch

7.5ml Sweet Vermouth

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a frozen Sazerac glass (no ice).

Garnish: Lemon zest twist (discarded) 

Glassware: Old fashion

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