As part of our new (and first) Spotlight series, Bars and Clubs sat down with Co-Director of The Barrelhouse Group, Mikey Enright, to talk Gin, cocktails and Juniper.
Bars and Clubs: How many gins do you stock at The Barber Shop?
Mikey Enright: At the moment we have just over 700 at the bar.
BC: How do you decide what to stock, with all the new gins coming onto the market at a rate of knots?
ME: Quality is obviously most important so If we’re sourcing from a site overseas such as Masters of Malt, then we have to do some research and be guided by reviews/star rating. Locally, we mainly do tastings and make our own decision from the taste profile. It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it ha
BC: How do you educate staff about the massive variety of gin on offer at The Barber Shop? And do you have any advice for other bar owners/managers wanting to train their staff in this growing area?
ME: We have a dedicated training Manager, Cristiano Beretta. We do weekly trainings/tastings and also have an online training programme aptly named ‘Jerry’. Having an extensive range of Gin, we tend to break up into countries/regions to identify the types of botanicals found in the liquid but also the different styles too such as London Dry, Sloe etc. It’s hard to find the time for training sometimes in a busy bar environment and that’s why we have one person in our business that is dedicated to this area
BC: Do you encourage staff to upsell from a house gin to something on the back bar? What are some of the best ways of doing this?
ME: Yeah, we start with local and expand to Gins from different parts of the World. What style of Gin, what flavours are they looking for? Also we find that guests like to opt for a Gin that is produced from their homeland or rather by provenance, where are you from?
BC: What are some of your personal favorite gins at the moment – both Australian and international?
ME: Ford’s London Dry Gin, Portobello Road London Dry Gin, Kis O Gin Contemporary Gin, Manly Australian Dry Gin and Herno Gin to name a few
BC: Have you noticed an increase in consumer understanding and knowledge about gin as the category has boomed over the last few years? If so, how?
ME: Most definitely and obviously looking at the UK, Gin is massive. Australia is catching up slowly compared to other countries but it’s a growing category and the non Gin drinker is being transformed into a Gin lover. They’re starting to experiment with different tonics and more obscure Gins, that’s what we’re seeing. Eventually the Vodka & soda will be replaced by the G&T in most venues, not just a Gin bar
BC: Where you stand in the so-called ‘juniper debate’? Do you think a gin that isn’t juniper forward should still be called a gin?
ME: Gin comes in many forms but I do believe that Gin should have prominent Juniper taste to it. Some Gin’s do taste like a flavored spirit, however experimentation with native botanicals and Juniper have made some really interesting Gin creations. I’m a London Dry style type of person really but have an open mind and palette to all types of different styles. Gin should also only be named this if it meets the regulatory standards
BC: What are your top selling gin cocktails at the Barber Shop?
ME: Martinis, Gimlets, Negronis and Gin Tonics.
BC: Do you have any house signature gin drinks as well?
ME: The most popular contemporary cocktails this season are Red Rabbit, Smoke & Bandages and Spice trade created by the Barber Shop team.