My life in food: Tony Conigliaro, Mixologist

‘I draw my inspiration from art, science and even perfumery’

Tony Conigliaro is a titan of the UK drink scene. He collects awards like others do stamps. His London Bars, the Zetter Townhouse and 69 Colebrooke Row, are frequently garlanded with titles such as “Best Place to Drink” and “ World’s Best Cocktail Bar”. He makes use of sound and texture as well as taste and smell in his creations, which he comes up with at his north London Drink Factory, and has produced a book, Drinks (Ebury Press, £25) which is half cocktail recipes and half drink autobiography. In June he will launch the bar at the Grain Store with chef Bruno Loubet.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

I am constantly tasting and adjusting my recipes. So the kitchen tool I reach for the most is a wooden spoon – if that can be classed as equipment. I find that everything seems to taste better on a plain and simple wooden spoon. At home in my kitchen, I tend not to use scales. I prefer to improvise, tweaking recipes depending on my mood. This is the complete opposite of how we work at the Drink Factory, my lab and research centre, where everything is weighed and considered in the finest details. Maybe being carefree about recipes at home is my way of relaxing after a long day at work.

 

If you only had £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

The ultimate meal on a budget would have to be a steaming bowl of Asian noodles. I love exploring new places around Soho and China Town. £10 goes far there – the options are endless.

 

What do you eat or drink for comfort?

For me, pastry is the definitive comfort food, but it needs to be paired with something savoury. The combination of beef and pastry is truly heavenly, so something like a beef pie would be my perfect meal.

 

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Easy. I would definitely choose potatoes over bread. I once had a potato roast-off with the conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jim Wood, for the perfect roast potato. It was too close to call.

 

What’s your desert island drink?

It would have to be Rhum JM Rum Agricole from Martinique, a drink like that could make you happy to be stranded on a deserted island – and never want to leave!

 

What’s your favourite bar?

I’m going to have to say my favourite bar is 69 Colebrooke Row. I spend enough time there.

 

What’s your favourite cookbook?

As I spend the day using and making recipes, I don’t really use cookbooks at home. I prefer to cook instinctively, but if I’m really stuck, I’ll have a look around the internet. At work, on the other hand, I spend ages searching for weird and ­wonderful books for inspiration.

 

Who taught you about alcohol?

I consider myself to be self-taught when it comes to alcohol. I have always been intrigued by the science of taste, and have spent a long time over the years experimenting and discovering new techniques. I draw my inspiration from art, science, and design, and am inspired by anyone from chefs to perfumiers. For example my new cocktail, “Lipstick Rose”, was inspired by perfumer Ralf Schwieger’s creation for Frederic Malle. The best way to learn in this business is hands-on experience, a nd keeping an open mind to trying new things.

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition