Born and bred in London. Now living in Hampstead, my favourite London village, which feels like an out-of-London village. I am moving to live in Bali with my wife and daughter later this year.
La Capilla, Tequila Town, Jalisco, Mexico - La Capilla is the Mecca for tequila lovers everywhere. Located in the heart of Tequila town it is run by the celebrated owner and bartender, Don Javier Delgado Corona who was 80 years old when I first visited the bar several years ago. Softly spoken with a gentle demeanour and a broad smile this lovely man continues to look after his guests as if they were in his own front room. His wise, wrinkled hands effortlessly assemble his home recipe, La Batanga, a cocktail made with tequila, fresh lime and cola served tall over ice with a crunchy sea-salt rim and stirred with a long knife. Intrigued bartenders and tourists alike travel from far and wide on a ‘spiritual’ pilgrimage to sample Don Javier’s drinks and warm hospitality. Painted in Mexican pastel colours, La Capilla is on the corner of a dusty cross roads. Kids ride by on horseback and big old American 4x4 vehicles cruise by, booming out traditional mariachi music on their stereos. His regular clientele are a combination of farm workers and distillery owners. There is no kitchen to cook food but Don Javier’s often prepares soft cheese dowsed in hot chilli sauce and other simple fare. Andres Carne De Res, Bogota, Colombia - Whilst visiting Colombia a few years back, I had the best bar and restaurant experience of my life. Andres Carne de Res started more than 25 years ago as a small shack selling burgers. It is now a legendary, über-cool hangout on the outskirts of Bogota, which seamlessly handles upwards of 1000 covers per night. Prime beef is flown in directly from Argentina, food is served on chopping boards and mouth watering steaks are sliced with Rambo-sized steak knives. Oversized cocktails are served in hand decorated ceramic jugs, glass jars and coconut shells. Everything inside and outside the venue is recycled and crafted with their own fair hands, from drinks coasters, door frames, chandeliers and dining tables, and the walls groan under layers of art and artifacts. Staff entertain the customers with enchanting theatrical performances throughout the evening, take my word for it. If you order a bottle of spirit for the table it is served in a unique way and comes dressed with their individual branding. Andres Carne de Res is an unforgettable, out of this world adventure. It has a personality that is larger than life. It is colourful, vibrant, warm and infectious. Not somewhere you’d go if you’re planning a quiet night! Boadas, Barcelona Spain - Boadas is old school. A classic, authentic cocktail bar, steeped in history and paused in time. Situated on a quiet side road steps away from the frenetic pace of Las Ramblas, Boadas has been going strong for over 70 years. The tobacco-stained walls are dotted with photographic memorabilia archiving the history of the bar and it’s bartenders. The original bartender and owner Miguel Boadas learnt his trade in La Floridita, one of the famous cocktail bars of Havana town, Cuba. He returned to Barcelona and in 1933 opened his doors to the discerning drinker. Amongst his clientele were Joan Miro, the surrealist painter and sculptor, and George Orwell. In 1967 when Miguel Boadas passed his daughter (born on the year the bar opened) succeeded her father in the theatre of Boadas. Now in her late seventies Maria Dolores can occasionally be found wowing customers with her skilful throwing technique, passing liquid through the air in an arc from one glass to another, without spilling a drop (a technique I have often tried to replicate without success). The experienced bar team will construct any cocktail with the utmost precision. I would recommend the “coctel del dia” (the cocktail of the day).
Murray Stenson - The highlight of a recent trip to Seattle was visiting the well-known Zig Zag Bar. Award winning bartender, Murray Stenson runs the show here. Many guests call him, ‘The Blur’ and if you visit this pace it’s easy to see why. He really is the fastest moving bartender I have ever come across in my life. And it’s worth noting that he’s not miles away from retirement. He serves every guest uniquely while still finding time to mix drinks and wash glasses. Zig Zag has an extensive cocktail list and a huge array of spirits behind the bar.
It has taken me to more than 40 countries
Chickolet Sour: Tequila + Dark Cacao + Lemon + Agave + Chocolate bitters + Egg white
Benicio del Toro. He played Che Guevara, one of my heroes
Dakar Racer. I love motorbikes.
Grandma. It would be good too see her one more time.
I feel we will be seeing more of the Dive Bar…
Open some of the bottles I’ve been keeping for a special occasion
Ocho Reposado tequila. It’s my ‘go to’ bottle.