Cocktails with Shaun the Barman

imageThose of you who regularly follow the blog will know that I’m partial to a cocktail or two, particularly when they are made extremely well.

Shaun is a mixologist who works at the Harvey Nichols Restaurant and Bar in The Mailbox, Birmingham. I’ve known him for a number of years and I’ve watched as his career has developed, learning his craft at a Michelin starred restaurant before joining Harvey Nichols. In January, he helped me surprise The Bloke with a belated New Year meal there (which was delicious), and I got the chance to try his cocktail making skills first hand. They were beautiful, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to catch up with him as he was working, and it was extremely busy.

On Wednesday I had a day off, so I decided to pay him another visit when I was in the city and try more of his repertoire.

I know, it’s a tough life.

I was given the option of choosing anything, either from the menu or off-menu, and I watched as he prepared my Amaretto Sours, while explaining to me how it was developed. I’ve always known Shaun to be a happy and extremely friendly person, but it made me smile when I realised just how passionate and knowledgeable he is, and I loved the fact that he puts his own little twist into different cocktails to make them more unique. I also giggled to myself at his ‘shake face,’ the serious expression of concentration that he got whenever he was shaking the ingredients up.

And oh my gosh, what a gorgeous cocktail it was! Certainly the nicest Amaretto Sours I had ever tried, and at the risk of sounding like I drink too much, I’ve had lots of them!


A beautiful Amaretto Sours

While I was quite happily working my way through it, Shaun set to work on creating me a bespoke cocktail. He asked me what my favourite flavours were, and then proceeded to get together different ingredients.

What resulted was one of the most beautiful cocktails I have ever seen. One of the staff commented that it looked like the iced ‘Rocket’ lollies, so he named it ‘Suzie’s Rocket,’ garnishing it with dried orange peel and beautiful pansies. It tasted just like a Rocket too, with different fruit flavours in the layers. I took the opportunity to share a picture of it on Instagram and Twitter, and it immediately became one of my most popular pictures.


Suzie’s Rocket – how pretty is that!

Shaun has now started to share his knowledge with budding mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts across social media, and has developed his own Instagram and Facebook pages. I’m now following both – he includes videos of himself creating different cocktails and the finished products, including his signature Creme Brulee Sour, which looks yummy!

To find Shaun on Instagram, click here

To find Shaun on Facebook, click here

An afternoon well spent I think!

Hop on over the Shaun’s social media accounts and say hi! And, if you’re in Birmingham, go and book a table at Harvey Nichols and order a lovely cocktail from my favourite barman!


Disclaimer: I was not given a discount on any of the cocktails I drank – all were paid in full. However, Shaun has agreed that when he becomes rich and famous, he will buy me something expensive and invite me and The Bloke to his VIP launch nights.

42 thoughts on “Cocktails with Shaun the Barman

  1. Great post, Susie! We’re in the middle of winter here, so any colorful drink reminds me of long sandy, white beaches and hot, hot sun! A great reminder that summer is coming!

  2. Suzie’s Rocket looks like it should be featured in magazine. You’re fortunate to find a great mixologist.
    One of my worst experiences with drinks was in an Irish pub in Dublin. My daughter, wisely, order a pint. I asked the bartender if he knew how to make a Bloody Mary. He assured me he did. I watched him pour in all the right ingredients in a large tumbler, which he proceeded to shake vigorously before pouring it into my glass. It was the first (and thankfully last) time I had a shaken, not stirred, Bloody Mary with a head on it. I managed to pour most of into a nearby plant.

  3. Suzie, this is a wonderful tribute to a friend who’s learned his trade well. I bet every working person in Birmingham will make their best efforts when they see you come in – what a lodestone for future customers to be written up on your blog.

  4. When I was 13–while all my friends were dreaming about becoming doctors and lawyers and teachers–I dreamed of becoming a bar tender. It didn’t happen…but, I sure wish it had. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love the idea of a bespoke cocktail! I love cocktails but couldn’t choose a favourite. Birmingham is quite close to me so I should pop in some time – I’ll say you sent me πŸ™‚

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