What do you do when you meet someone with the same interests? Collaborate to open a pop-up and publish a book, of course! Nick Perry and Paul Rosser first met while working for London restaurateur Jamie Oliver. They became quick friends after learning of their shared love for cocktails. But not just any cocktails. Unlike some of the more traditional cocktails, Nick Perry and Paul Rosser took a highly creative approach to their book, using Alice in Wonderland, as a basis for all their cocktails.
They then created Paloma Drinks Co, a pop-up cocktail and restaurant event business and went on to publish their first book, Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland. Their lifelong hospitality experience, paired with affinity for the culinary world, gave them the techniques and inspiration to envision a most literary cornucopia of cocktail creativity!
Take a leap down the rabbit hole and set out on your wonderful cocktail adventure!
Tell us about the first cocktail you ever created?
Nick – “I do remember thinking that I was really awesome for creating a Frozen Lagerita in around 2004.
It tasted like a Desperado beer and was an iceberg of Margarita swimming in a lake of draft lager, served in a 20oz margarita glass. Turns out I did not invent the drink by any stretch of the imagination- many others had made that pun and subsequent recipe before me.”
“Then there was the Gina G which came about when I accidentally added ginger ale to gin instead of tonic water. I’m still a fan of that one, less so the Lagerita.”
What spirit do you most enjoy working with?
Brown spirits really do it for us in cocktails, rum and whiskey have a real depth of flavour can really sing when mixed.
Latest flavour combination you discovered?
Rum with South East Asian spices- those used in a thai green curry made into syrups and mixed long with fresh mint.
Thai style mojito!
Favorite song when shaking?
Hmm tough question, there’s so many! We’ve been rediscovering New Order recently- ‘Temptation” is amongst my favourites.
What’s your go to garnish?
We love a citrus twist! Garnishes should add to the flavour of the drink as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a young bartender?
Drinking on the job can be lots fun but know your limits and take your work seriously.
What do you do to ensure that you have a good life-work balance?
Invest your time wisely in training your staff well, allowing you to delegate!
What’s your all-time favourite cocktail?
The Negroni – simple, easy to remember recipe that’s well suited to drinking at any time!
Where do you find inspiration when creating cocktails?
Everywhere! Good food combinations can work really well in drinks and vice versa.
Riffing off classic cocktails is always a good starting point, and we are constantly inspired by other bartenders’ recipes too.
What cocktail book would you recommend to new bartenders?
Difford’s guide is a great ‘manual’ and and important reference too lot have on your back bar but We’re more inspired by books such as ‘Good things to Drink’ by Ryan Chetiyawardana.
What’s your most essential bar tool?
As we make clear in ‘Drink Me’, great cocktails can be made using the most basic implements found in any kitchen.
We’ve even, in a dire emergency, used a large soft drink cup (from a well known fast food chain) instead of a Boston tin, along with pint glass to shake a cocktail.
If you could change anything in the hospitality industry, what would it be?
We’d like to see a shift in how employers cater for the health and well being of their staff. We take it for granted that hospitality staff are expected to work crazy hours and never call in sick, lest they let their team down. This puts a lot of pressure on the body and mind of us all. Throwing alcohol into the mix makes us a rather high risk sector for ill physical and mental health.
What do you most admire about the bartending profession?
A relentless commitment to working all hours under often very challenging circumstances.
What three trends do you see shaping the cocktail world over the next year?
Sustainability, provenance and low ABV/alcohol free cocktails.
What’s your favorite advice or quote?
“You can learn as much from a bad manager as from a good one.”
We’ve worked with and under a lot of both- each shaped our development in different ways though we definitely learned about how we wanted NOT to behave from the bad ones!
Tell us about something we haven’t asked. Anything!
We’d love to write another book!
We learned a lot about the creative process whilst writing “Drink Me” and feel that we have just got started!
There are so many places we could go with the next title, choosing which one could prove the most difficult task!