Erik Lorincz & 1921 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Born in Nitra, a small town in Slovakia, Erik dreamt of being a waiter on a cruise line as a child. This all changed the day he saw a bartender flipping bottles, mixing drinks and shaking cocktails. “It was in that moment that I just knew. I love thinking of the day I decided to be a bartender as it lead me to where I am now; my days behind the bar are just amazing”.

Failing to find a bartending school in Slovakia, Erik stumbled across an advertisement in a Rolling Stone magazine for the Beefeater national finals in Prague. Finding the nearest travel agent, he booked a ticket and headed to Prague with a camcorder to film the event. Once home, he watched the video over and over, practicing juggling above his bed. From there, his dream to become a bartender grew. 

 “After I saw what was happening in Prague, I realised that this was the city I needed to be in,” explains Erik. Following this recognition, he quite his waiter job and moved to Prague to attend bartending school.

“Within a few weeks my teacher came to me and asked me to come to Bratislava where he was consulting at a cocktail bar that had just opened. My first night went well and the owner asked me if I would like to come back next weekend.” One weekend turned into three months, with Erik travelling every weekend from Prague to Bratislava, working shifts in the bar over the weekends.

“All this time I was reading a book about cocktails and learning the recipes alongside working,” he says. After finishing school, Erik landed his first full time job at the Greenwich cocktail bar in Bratislava, which is where he first came across Cherry Heering, as a key ingredient in the ubiquitous Singapore Sling – and the rest is history.

“I love meeting people and I’m always exited to know who is sitting in front of me,” Erik explains. My motivation comes from things that I come across in my everyday life and I believe that a challenging guest is the best way to taste your skills behind the bar!”

 For Erik, travelling is another form of motivation for his work: “I can try and see new flavours, techniques and discover something I have never seen before,” he says.

Every day brings something new for Erik, “Lately my job is a combination of working behind the bar, running the floor, or taking a plane to another destination for a guest shift or presentation. At the same time, I’m working on expanding my range of bar ware”.

 “My mentor at work is Declan McGurk who has always an answer for me. He is a true guru that carefully looks after every person in the team and makes sure our bar runs like a Patek Philip watch!”

 Of one of his best memories from behind the bar, Erik says “I will never forget serving a cocktail connoisseur, a martini drinker who ordered a Dry Martini. I had carefully chosen a gin that he would like, chipped the ice block to fit into my mixing tin, poured a water to clean the ice and stirred carefully. At the same time, I sank into deep conversation with him. Whilst talking, I picked a frozen martini glass, placed it in front of him and filled it up to just below the rim, garnished with an olive and told him to enjoy it. Shortly after he called me over, saying ‘Erik, I just can’t get the juniper in this gin you were talking about….’ I had served him a chilled water instead of gin!”

 Having spent a considerable amount of time in the industry, Erik “believes it’s important to focus on guest service rather, as well as the drink creation. I believe that the best bar experience comes when not only the best drink has been served, but when we serve the guests other needs to, by going above and beyond to provide an experience, as well as an exceptional drink.”

 Erik chose the year 1921 as it “was the year Harry Lawson Craddock started at the Savoy as a bartender. This drink is my tribute to his excellent work and the legacy that he created for us.”

 

Craddock’s Fizz Cocktail

45ml London Dry gin

25ml Cherry Heering

10ml Fino Sherry

30ml Lemon Juice

15ml Sugar syrup

3 drops of Peychaud’s bitters

Top with soda 

Method: Fill up the highball with chipped ice. Shake 6 first  ingredients and strain into highball, top up with soda, gently stir.

Garnish: Lemon peel 

Glassware: Highball

 

Ciro Adriano de Georgio & 1839 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Ciro entered the bartending world in an unusual way, something that he initially believed was a setback: “I always felt that I was way behind colleagues of the same age, that I’d arrived at the party way too late”. Now, older and maybe wiser, he sees the great opportunity he was given and how much his studies have benefited his impressive career, in 2014 being announced Dutch World Class Bartender of the Year.

Born and raised in Napoli as the youngest of four siblings, Ciro Adriano de Georgio was studying the science of communication before making the switch to bartending.

“I dreamt of working in the advertising world, maybe as a graphic designer. Instead, my family business in Ischia was turned into a cocktail bar and club by my father and elder brother, which signalled a turning point in my life,” he explained.

Having no previous bar experience or knowledge, he rolled up his sleeves and started studying, in particular reading books: “Joy of Mixology from G. Regan was amongst the most inspirational,” he shared. In addition to this, he took both a flair and sommelier course, and it was through submersing himself in the industry that he realised his passion for bartending.

 Sadly, in 2010, Ciro lost his father, who he credits as one of the “few people that inspired and influenced” him the most, alongside his brother Bruno, Erik Lorincz (now the head bartender at The Savoy, London) and mentor Andrew Nicholls.

Ciro’s cocktail is inspired by the year 1839, “as it was the year that the construction of a pedal-driven bicycle, by Kirkpatrick Macmillan was complete,” explained Ciro. “Living in Amsterdam I owe a lot to this device. For me, it is much more than just a transportation vehicle, it is a cultural heritage, a national pride that keeps the country moving and fit at the same time.”

As for the ingredients, they are all connected to this story. Cherry Heering, as with the Netherlands, has a strong history related to trading and the colonial period.

“My tribute to the cherry liquor is also a tribute to some of the incredible spices that come from some amazing countries in Asia and their history and culture that is also a part of the Dutch heritage today,” he said. “Overall, my cocktail is a homage to what we as a country are today: a multicultural society composed (just like a good cocktail) and balanced by several ingredients from all around the world that come together to create something unique.”

On Ciro’s own journey along the famed spice route can his fondest memory of Cherry Heering. Backpacking across Istanbul through Sri Lanka and on to Singapore, he rolled up to the bar at the Raffles, there to order the ubiquitous Singapore Sling.

“As a bartender I’d heard so many stories about this place, one of the “holy locations” of the cocktail industry, like La Boteguida and el Floridita in Cuba, the Cipriani in Venice, and so on. I remember finally walking in this marvelous colonial building, climbing a flight of stairs to reach the bar and walking in this beautiful room where the time seemed flowing at a different pace.’

‘Everything was kind of magical, the music, the atmosphere, the classy interior design.

I pulled up at the bar and ordered the famous Singapore Sling; with its ½ ounce of Cherry Heering.’

Having seen many trends come and go throughout his extensive career, Ciro has, in particular, noticed the newfound popularity of classic cocktails, such as Negroni’s and manhattans – something he’s excited to see. “As well as this, I’ve noticed a surge in customers ordering modern classics such as the Penicillin, Trinidad Sours and Paper Plane,” he continued.

“I think this is because our travelling is far easier nowadays and so patrons pick up drinks trends from their travels and order them when they return home. I also think social media has played a part in this – when people see exotic drinks on their news feeds they’re far more inclined to try them out themselves.”

Another element of the ever-changing bartending industry that pleases Ciro is the shift in attention from one side of the bar to the other – from the person in front of the bar, the guest, to the person behind the bar, the ‘star-tender’.

“I’d love to see this continue. I think our profession along with all others deserves respect and to be honoured not just by those in our industry, but by those that are not a part of it too,” he explained. “That being said, we need to keep in mind that it is not about us, we are the servant if you will. We are there to create unforgettable memories, to give our guests an experience; something that will make them feel better and maybe happier too.”

“Someone told me years ago: “Hospitality… the clue is in the name!” I use this as my motto; to remind myself how important is to be hospitable. If you’re not, you should work in a different business!”

Fiets 1839

(Fiets means bicycle in Dutch)

Ingredients:

15ml Cherry Heering

10 ml Naked Grouse

20ml William George Rum

15ml Cubeb Pepper, lemongrass and ginger syrup

20ml Lime Juice

1 Egg white

Method: Shake and fine strain

Garnish: Naked Grouse sprayed on top alongside 3 Naked Grouse soaked cherries

Glassware: Coupette

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