Booze hounds

Sasha Filimonov

Who are you and what do you do? Tell us about yourself… 

I am Sasha Filimonov, also known as Sasha Sips (I do love a bit of alliteration). I have the distinguished honour of being the Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador to the United Kingdom. I like to think of myself as your dutiful cucumber- and rose-guardian.

What’s the best thing about your job?

To say I adore my job is to put it lightly. It is so much richer, deeper, more fulfilling, more surprising, and more intensely creative than I ever could have dreamed of… and each day is full of wonderful new delights and twists and turns that keep me perpetually on my toes. To choose only one thing that is best is an impossibility, so I shall share with you my top three things:

  1.  Being able to be a bringer of joy to bartenders, consumers, and everyone alike. It fills my heart to curate exciting and sometimes shocking experiences that push people outside of their comfort zone and invite them in to discover our deeply peculiar Hendrick’s world (and ultimately, provide them with some insight to my strange little brain).
  2. Working with such passionate, talented and creative bar folk. I have worked within the drinks industry for many years and our shared passion for hospitality, delicious things, and bringing the FUN is something I doubt I will ever tire of.
  3. Being able to work with our incredible Master Distiller and spend time in the Hendrick’s Gin Palace… it’s our very own version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and Lesley is so inspiring, so creative, so humble and always up for a giggle (as well as bit of chocolate).

You can teleport to any bar in the world, where are you going?

This is TOO HARD! I feel incredibly privileged to have some of my absolute favourite bars in the world on my doorstep in London and get giddy with delight when I have friends coming to the city for the first time… that’s when it’s time to strap our Martini shoes on and galavant around town. From sipping on delicious tipples at Lyaness whilst watching the sparkling lights of London reflect off the Thames to indulging in punches by the fireplace in the Punch Room at The London EDITION to experiencing Martini magic at Dukes and The Connaught… there is just so much good.

One of my must-do things when I’m travelling is to find the best place for a sunset sundowner, where I can really take in the view of the city/village/town/beach… so whether that’s A for Athens overlooking the Acropolis, The NoMad in LA taking in the urban landscape, PARK Bar in Lisbon enjoying the rolling streets and colourful architecture – it’s always a delight. 

Then once the sun is down, I like to indulge in my favourite high energy hot spots. From The Clumsies in Athens to Two Schmucks in Barcelona to Katana Kitten in NYC to Sweet Liberty in Miami – these bars never fail to deliver all of the fun and all of the damn delicious drinks with their unique styles of hospitality.

Where’s your favourite city for bar-hopping?

New York and London. I’m originally from New York so get overexcited every time I’m back to check out what is new and also to just indulge in the divine dive bars. London does hotel bars like nowhere else in the world, so when you really want a treat yourself moment… this city takes care of you to the nines. 

What’s your idea of a party?

It’s all about the energy and the journey. I like to gradually build up the vibe and create momentum with a few twists and surprises along the way – so just when you think you’ve seen it all, *BOOM* CONFETTI CANNONS AND ALL NIGHT DANCING UNDER THE STARS. 

One of my all time favourite parties was with my Hendrick’s Ambassador team in Lisbon, when we turned the wine cellar of our house into a techno bunker… and as the night progressed, we continued to move the party into smaller and smaller crawl spaces (always bringing the music, the tipples and the disco lights with us). The final space we literally had to crawl in on our hands and knees – and it was the most silly and delightful evening (with a few decidedly sore heads the morning after). 

Who in the industry would you love to rock up to the bar next to you?

I’m lucky enough to consider some of my closest friends my mentors – and every moment I spend with them, I feel I’ve learned something and I’ve gained a heap more joy into my own life and spirit. Ali Dedianko, who is now the proud mumma of two beautiful twins, has been a perpetual source of inspiration to me and every time I see her – I have a spring in my step and feel more equipped to carry on with whatever projects and mischief I am working on. 

What is your desert island bottle?

Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice. It was our first big release from Lesley’s Cabinet of Curiosities – and was created for our former Global Brand Ambassador’s wedding day. It means so much to us and there was so much heart and love and celebration in creating the liquid, that sometimes it brings a wee tear to my eye. More than that, it’s absolutely delicious.

But also, mezcal – I’m totally satisfied supping it neat on the beach. To me, it tastes like sunshine and relaxation (with just a pinch of mischief).

What’s your failsafe cocktail?

A bone dry martini with a twist. Always. But make sure it’s a Tini Martini ;) 

What is your hangover cure?

A non-alcoholic drinks buffet: matcha green tea, green juice, a freezing cold can of diet coke, a kombucha, and a turmeric ginger shot. Then I like to eat some deliciously zesty ceviche. (I’m not high maintenance, I swear…).


Booze hounds