It’s one thing for them to have grown up in a country famed for its historic drinking dens, but few things allude to London’s world class cocktail culture better than two brothers from the north of England with a notable career behind the bar. That’s exactly what bartenders Joe and Daniel Schofield have, only this time, with two continents between them. Joe, who is the older of the two, came fresh off a stint as barman at London’s prestigious The Savoy to be head bartender at Singapore’s Tippling Club in 2016. He helped it earn its current position at No. 11 in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list and No. 31 in last year's World’s 50 Best Bars ranking, among other notable accolades.
(Related story: Singapore's Top 30 Bars)
Inspired by his brother’s success, Daniel is also looking to make his mark, starting in London, where he is currently assistant bar manager at one of the city’s newest bars—the artfully cheeky and mildly French-inspired Coupette in Bethnal Green.
And it seems it will take more than a 14-hour flight to keep the brothers apart. Following the Tippling Club's successful Once Upon A Time series, the brothers are set to impress with exquisitely creative libations at a one-night-only showcase of cocktails on February 10 at the restraurant's BIN 38 cocktail lounge and bar on level 2, paired with a selection of small plates by the restaurant’s head chef Ayo Adeyemi.
Among other signature tipples, Joe will pay homage to the Negroni with the Sonic Negroni, which is essentially Negroni aged in just minutes (as opposed to months in a cask) using ultrasonic sound waves. Similarly, Daniel will shake it up with some Coupette signatures, which include his version of the classic Ramos Gin Fizz—dubbed the Ramos/Gin/Figue, it features a combination of fig leaf, gin, lemon juice, and egg white.
In anticipation of this collaborative event, we decided a quick heart-to-heart was in order.
(Related story: 6 Bars In Singapore Make The World's 50 Best Bars List)
How different is your approach to creating cocktails?
Joe Schofield (JS) When creating drinks, I can find inspiration anywhere. One of my favourite creation processes is to start with a concept and work backwards. Take our Revenge cocktail, it’s part of the new Sensorium menu: Dreams & Desires, which has blood, caraway and vodka. I wanted a drink that sent a chill down the spine, and which carried the characteristics of blood. We stir down vodka with a caraway liqueur and garnish with blood bitters which have the flavour of kombu, and that gives the drink notes of iron and umami.
Daniel Schofield (DS) I’d say my approach to making drinks is quite classically styled. My favourite cocktails to drink are classics. Nowadays, it’s very hard to make a drink stand the test of time. I like creating cocktails with products available off the shelf as I find it more challenging but they are easier to replicate. Inspiration can come in any form whether from a trip abroad or a song I like.
How would you describe your brother if he was a cocktail?
JS He would be a Champagne Pina Colada, a signature drink that he makes at Coupette. Pina Colada is a drink we both fell in love with at a tiki bar in Manchester where we used to work together.
DS Joe would be a Singapore Sling, but not for the reason you might think. The drink reminds me of the time we were in New York several years ago, drinking Singapore Sling in some of the best bars in the world. It fascinates me how nearly every bar will make it differently.
Best thing about today’s thriving cocktail scene?
JS Establishments are looking to give a better guest experience, and trying to create a unique approach give each individual guest the best experience. In Singapore, you have some great examples such as Atlas with the Gin Tower, Manhattan with the Rickhouse and, of course, at Tippling Club, we have created the best experience for our guests with the Sensorium menu: Dreams and Desires that comprises twelve exclusively-formulated concoctions. I believe that great food and beverage alone are not enough. I think consumers are expecting that little bit more.
DS In London, we are seeing the bar scene almost take a step backwards. Bars are becoming simpler and more accessible. This excites me. It’s innovation through simplicity.
Favourite food and cocktail pairing?
JS It would have to be fish and chips, and a good vodka martini with an olive.
DS A plate of pasta and an Americano for no other reason than they are both delicious.
Most memorable moment of brotherly love involving drinks?
JS We have worked together behind the bar in a number of places over the years. Because of this, we are able to work in unison behind the bar, building drinks together and finishing rounds of cocktails for the guests.
DS: I think seeing Joe and the team win Best Restaurant Bar at Tales of the Cocktail last year was my proudest moment. I’ve always looked up to him professionally. He was the reason why I got into bartending in the first place, and he is the reason why I continue to push myself to be better. There has never been a rivalry between us. We’ve always been supportive of each other.
Once Upon A Time With The Schofield Brothers is on February 10, 7pm, at BIN 38 at Tippling Club. Call 6475 2217 or email email@example.com to enquire.
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