Lauren Mote: “I have always found the bar manager role to be the most challenging (and also the most gratifying)”

Lauren Mote: “I have always found the bar manager role to be the most challenging (and also the most gratifying)”

Lauren Mote: “I have always found the bar manager role to be the most challenging (and also the most gratifying)”

She’s  a mixologist;  a  sommelier; an  architect  of potions, tonics  and  elixirs; an  accomplished  emcee, writer,  spirit and  cocktail judge;  an  international spirits  diplomat  and accredited  instructor; award-winning  bartender  Lauren Mote wears  many  hats, but  she’s  perhaps best  known  as the DIAGEO  Reserve  & World  Class  Global Cocktailian, and  the  co-founder of  Bittered  Sling Bitters – an  internationally  successful portfolio  of  award-winning cocktail  bitters  and culinary  extracts. Named the 2015 Bartender of the Year by  both  the Vancouver  Magazine  Restaurant Awards and  DIAGEO  World Class  Canada,  Lauren is  a  well-respected  speaker, educator,  mentor  and industry  advocate,  whose reach  extends  well beyond  the bar. We asked Lauren a few questions and found out what a Global Cocktailian role seems to be.

You are the World Class Global Cocktalian. What does that position mean?

In my role as Global Cocktailian, I am currently travelling around the global World Class countries, educating bartenders at all levels, creating events and seminars for our customers and guests, and judging the local stages of the competition. So far, I have been all over South East Asia and South America and I have been blown away by the incredible diversity of flavours, stories, personalities and emotions. I love working with and mentoring up-and-coming bartenders and having an international platform to champion my three passion points; sustainability, diversity and innovation within the drinks industry.

You are also a writer, bar manager, cocktail judge, speaker. What role is your favorite?

I love having the ability to change a mood, fix a problem, enhance a great moment, and inspire others – my profession is incredibly impactful, whether I’m making a single cocktail for an excited guest, taking an ambassador for coffee to discuss their goals, or teaching a whisky-lover how to make their own “flawless” Old Fashioned at home. That’s real time gratification. I would say that each role I’ve had, blends seamlessly into characteristics of my role as Global Cocktailian, making it difficult to choose a favorite!

And which one is the most challenging?

I have always found the bar manager role to be the most challenging (and also the most gratifying) – it’s one part business, one part hospitality, and one part creativity. We have many things to consider when building a bar and bar program – the bar’s concept, the demographic, the ideal cocktail vs. other beverage offering split, the relationships you have with certain suppliers, price point and food concept – all of these factors come into play to create a cohesive, concise and exciting program. It all makes sense when it comes together but it is a difficult challenge, and one that takes time and attention to develop perfectly.

What do you feel by judging the cocktail contests? When your vote can change someone’s life.

The World Class competition measures every aspect of a bartender’s abilities, from presentation and hospitality to creativity, time management and preparation. It is a great honor for me, as someone who has participated as a “contestant” to be able to provide my perspective, feedback and objective opinion. The approach for World Class is quite clear: a formula for bartenders that includes a fail-safe approach to creating not only the right serve, but the right serve for the right circumstance. We have to consider more than just creating a cocktail, it’s about the experience, from the name and story, to the purpose of the cocktail (paired with food, stand-alone reception cocktail, classic cocktail, low proof, etc…) and all the flourishes that go with this to make it a “world class experience”.

What was the most unusual cocktail you ever tried?

I have had some interesting cocktails in South East Asia, including salmon roe/fish eggs, stinky tofu and some other odd flavour pairings – some worked, and some didn’t. As a judge, it’s also my duty to refuse cocktails with dangerous/poisonous ingredients and/or bad technique that could hurt someone, to ensure proper care and considerations are made for guest consumption in their bars. We use competitions as a method to teach and educate, as well as judge winning combinations.

What is the funniest cocktail name you ever heard/invented yourself?

I love the play on words – especially when the cocktail can somehow connect to the concept or name of the cocktail. Some odd ones that I have developed are Peater Rabbit, the Amphibious, LabRats and Hug-A-Wildcat. I also love cocktails named for 80s pop culture references and I’ve seen everything from songs like Sussudio to cartoon characters like Cobra Commander (GI Joe). There’s so much you can do with a name – it’s almost as important as the cocktail itself!

By Kateryna Mykhailenko