Interview: bartender Jamie Terrell

Bartender London

Pernod Ricard recently brought together some of the top bartenders from the U.K. and U.S. for their Gin Symposium at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Jamie Terrell was one of the seasoned barmen that crossed the Atlantic, preparing a Monk’s Gimlet. He’s a veteran of legendary London bars like Atlantic Bar and Grill and the LAB, worked as a Global Ambassador for Plymouth Gin, a U.S. Brand Manager for Sagatiba Cachaça, and now consults on cocktail projects worldwide. He recently shared insights about his background and approach.

Do you consider yourself a bartender or mixologist? What’s the difference?

When I started in this profession the position was always known as a Bartender so that is what I would consider myself to be, plus I think Bartender just sounds right. I think the difference is a matter of opinion.

How did you become so interested in cocktails?

I gained valuable experience of classic cocktails in the first few bars that I worked in.

I became fascinated by Cocktails and wanted to take the Classics that I had learnt to the next level using the vast array of quality products and produce from around the Globe. With a little dedication, experimentation and a whole lot of passion you can create some truly fantastic Cocktails so that is what I decided to do.

What’s your first cocktail memory?

It was a Bloody Mary at my Grandfathers Royal Air Force club (probably around age 6 or 7), my Mum used to like them, now she loves my personal recipe even more.

What was your first cocktail-related job?

My first ever job in a cocktail bar was in a bar in the Spanish Canary Islands called Harley’s it was a TGI style bar and restaurant with a Harley Davidson Fat boy in the reception and a whole range of classic and rare cars parked out front including a Bentley, AC Cobra and a NYC PD patrol car it was my first bar tending Job and I had to learn over a 100 Cocktails, I had great fun doing so.

Do you have any cocktail mentors?

I never really had any formal training as such. That is the beauty of bar tending, the best way to learn is to work with great bartenders and put the hours in. But if there was one person that springs to mind that really made me see bar tending as a career it would be Gavin Chase, he worked at the Atlantic when I started and is now a commercial pilot.

Who are some other bartenders or mixologists who you respect?

I respect any Bartender that works the long hours that the profession requires and still continues to love what they do. Also the many very special friends that I have made along the way who are brilliant bar tenders.

What are some bars that you enjoy drinking at in London?

London bars I like to visit it is hard to narrow down but here are a few of my favorites.

Rules – Covent Garden – Brian Silva has the upstairs cocktail bar, his cocktails are always outstanding, also Rules is London’s oldest restaurant.

Mahiki – Mayfair – always good fun, Tiki cocktail Bar/club

Kosmopol – Chelsea – Owned by my good Swedish friend Freddie – great cocktails and always a good time.

The Cow– Westbourne Grove – Guiness and Oysters in an old tavern setting, it is the closest to PJ Clarke’s that I have Found in London

Dukes Hotel – Mayfair – quite possibly the best Martini’s on the planet.

Green & Red – East London – the best selection of Tequila in the UK with tasty authentic Mexican food.

What are some characteristics that define your bar tending style?

Courtesy, attention to detail and customer service. And above all fun.

What’s a great simple cocktail recipe for people to make at home?

Breakfast at Terrell’s

Glass: Flute
Garnish: Orange Zest
Method: Shake all ingredients, top with Champagne.
Recipe: 1/2 ounce Absolut Mandarin
1/2 oz mandarin Napoleon
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
dash simple syrup
Top with Champagne

If you could only drink one more cocktail, what would it be?

A well made Bloody Mary with all of the trimmings.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Hi Jamie it’s marcus, if you can’t remember me I was nicky’s sisters ex Danny’s dad. Hope alls good with you and Jody, email me and we’ll hook up.

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