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
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
Ministry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
people
Life and Style
L’Auberge du pont de Collonges (AFP)
food + drinkFury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Arts and Entertainment
Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
theatreStar choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links