Luke is our new Funkin Ambassador for Scotland – primed to shake, spin and serve up Funkin cocktails all across the land. What’s his story? What’s his top cocktail tip? Why did he give up surfing? Let’s find out…
Where are you based?
In the buzzing city of Glasgow.
What’s your background?
I’ve worked in hotels and bars all over the UK since I was 17, studying the ‘Wine and Spirit Education Trust’ qualifications, then a Business Degree at Glasgow (specialising in Sustainability of the UK wine industry, so always focused on drinks) along the way.
Time working for Buzzworks in Scotland (focused on wine, whisky and education) and Pernod Ricard have set me up well for my role with Funkin.
I also travelled a lot surfing – mainly around Europe (before taking a forced break when I shattered my skull!).
Did your European travels teach you much about the cocktail industry?
I think the UK really leads when it comes to cocktails. But every country has good impact bars – Berlin, Holland, Spain. Now the more rustic ‘stripped back’ look is big it’s made it easier for people to start a ‘cool’ cocktail bar – as you don’t need expensive leather seats and marble tops etc any more.
What are your favourite Funkin products?
Oh, in general I love the Funkin Pro Purées. Passion Fruit can be used in many diverse ways with its tart freshness. And the Bloody Mary Spicer has enormous scope too. The Funkin Pro Spiced Syrup and Smoked Syrup too – such a depth of flavour but not overpowering so ideal for cocktails. I could go on…
Top tips for cocktail making at home?
I would say…focus on learning how to structure a cocktail rather than just one specific cocktail recipe. Basically – balancing sugar, citric, sharp and sweet.
Top tip: If you learn how to make the sours family of cocktails (blending rum, lime juice and sugar syrups), it’s a great basis for doing a lot – then you can start really having fun. Using Funkin you can play with syrups and make very cool and personalised variations that you and your friends will love.
We all know the importance of a good garnish. What’s the best one you’ve ever used?
For a gin competition I once made a Scottish gin cocktail and garnished with flowering heather. Looked pretty good.
Have you noticed any cool trends this year?
The gin craze is still growing. Tequila and mezcal are too. There’s also a move back to classics and more demand for low ABV, healthy, savoury cocktails for pairing with brunch or food.
What’s your favourite bar?
In Glasgow – The Finnieston
London – Disrepute
Mmm, a Manhattan. I like cocktails strong but sweet.
Best cocktail ever tried?
I had a Mezcal based negroni the other day – it was magic!