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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

News
people

Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband

News
The Bounceway, designed by Architecture for Humanity
newsLondon to add 'The Bounceway' to commuting options
Life and Style
Stefan Gates with some mince flies
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rooney Mara plays a white Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
filmFirst look at Rooney Mara in Pan
Life and Style
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
tech
Life and Style
health

Do you qualify – and how do you get it?

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

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital