Questions for a Bartender: Lucinda Lewis, Old Bell Inn, Greater Manchester

The bar at the Old Bell Inn

The bar at the Old Bell Inn

Tucked in the village of Delph lies the Old Bell Inn, an unassuming converted coaching inn that has recently assumed a respectable international award: the Guinness World Record for “Most Gins Commercially Available”. As Bar Manager, Lucinda Lewis has the honorable responsibility of getting to know each gin and helping her colleagues to source more gins from around the world. Lucinda gave the Craft Gin Club some insight into how she keeps track of all that gin and how the Old Bell plans to hold onto to their record.

1. Recently, it was reported that a Spanish bar is going after your Guinness World Record and has already collected 475 gins. How are you going to compete?

We’re fighters! We’re not going to let them steal our record from us. To stay competitive, we’ll just keep looking for as many gins as we can get our hands on. 

2. You have 430 gins on your bar. Is there any space on which to mix drinks?

It’s not easy. We’ve kept about 100 bottles at our hotel bar. For the rest, we turned the reception area into our Premium Gin Emporium. The room is mirrored and we put in glass shelving to display the rest of our gins. Still, with so many gins, it can be difficult to find the right bottle!

3. How can you possibly remember the specific characteristics of each gin?

When we receive a new bottle, we begin by sampling it and figuring out which garnish and tonics will go best with it as well as what type of notes it gives on the nose and palette. We then leave a small label on the back of each bottle so that we know how each gin is best served.

4. What do you do in Delph when you’re not mixing drinks?

Looks like Lucinda may have had one too many gins

Looks like Lucinda may have had one too many gins

I drink them. I figure I’ve tasted about 100 gins so far. So when I’m off, I’ll sit at the bar at the Old Bell and have a couple or pop off to another gin place in town.

5. Where’s one place you’d like to have a cocktail that’s top on your travel list?

Somewhere in America. Probably Miami. It’s hot, has nice beaches and it’s posh!

BONUS QUESTION: What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

A Zombie Nurse. It was the first thing that came up on Google!

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