You, our loyal readers, won’t really like this week’s Bartender of the Week. In fact, you’ll probably hate her. “Why?”, you ask. Because while you’re in the cold UK getting drizzled on she’s sitting on a beach in Puerto Rican paradise preparing for an epic party being thrown by one of the world’s most recognizable spirits brands, Bacardi. So hate her now. But don’t hate her for long. She’s actually quite sweet. And she’ll serve you superb drinks, even if they may be a bit risky.
Emma Andrew is one of four expert bartenders at Edinburgh’s recently opened gin bar, Heads and Tales. Actually a Glaswegian, she’s lived in Edinburgh for the past five years. Although she’ll mix you a drink and play you a song on her guitar she won’t tell you which city she likes better. “I’ll get hell for whatever response I give,” reasons Emma.
So leave her city of preference to mystery, but make sure to have her unveil the mysteries of her crazy concoctions. And then have her show you her pictures from Puerto Rico and Bacardi’s Halloween bash. As you flip through the photos, you’ll hate her again ever so slightly, but not for long. She is mixing you drinks, after all.
1. The Heads and Tales website equates its cellar bar to entering the rabbit hole. What’s your favourite scene and character in Alice in Wonderland and why?
Definitely the Mad Hatter and the tea party scene. It’s always great to see someone a bit mental. Everyone has a crazy side.
2. If you’re not drinking gin, what’s your favourite drink?
I’ve been drinking a lot of rum recently. The fact that I’m going to Puerto Rico helps that. I’ve also been into my tequilas which are trendy at the moment although not as much as in the States.
3. What’s your favourite music for mixing cocktails?
Well, at Heads & Tales we play a lot of jazz, electro jazz. So I’d mostly mix cocktails to that. But when I’m not at the bar I’m listening to a lot of guitar Indie music. I play the guitar and studied classical music at uni.
4. Where’s the place that’s top of your list for places to go to enjoy a cocktail?
That would either be the Dead Rabbit in New York or the Black Pearl in Melbourne. Sure, they’re on opposite side of the world. But I’m a bartender. We have to go to great lengths for research purposes!
5. What’s your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh when you’re not mixing drinks?
I run a lot and go to the gym. Edinburgh is actually a really great place to run when the weather is nice. It’s very picturesque.
Bonus Question - What are you dressing up as for Halloween and why?
I’m going to the Bacardi triangle party in Puerto Rico! They’re having 1,862 guests in honour of the year the brand was founded. So of course, also in honour of the brand, I’m going as Batgirl for the Bacardi bat on their bottle.