Even being a bartender requires a certain amount of artistry and creativity. The subject of our latest story, Jamie Barter, explains more…
We feel we have been interviewing a lot of musicians lately, so it’s time for something a bit different again. The cocktail masterclass recently held at Revolution in Lansdowne got us thinking — a professional bartender is also an artist. So we went looking for one and found Jamie Barter. He’s a bartender and mixologist currently serving at the Pan-Asian restaurant Drgnfly (which recently won a BH Stars Award) in Ashley Cross, Poole. With six years’ experience to draw on, we were delighted to hear his story…
ARE YOU LOCAL TO THE BOURNEMOUTH AND POOLE AREA?
Yeah, I grew up in Wimborne and went to school in Poole. I have lived in Ashley Cross for about three years now. More because I had to for work; moved somewhere a bit busier, almost metropolitan, I suppose.
WHAT LED TO YOU FINDING AN INTEREST IN PROFESSIONAL BARTENDING?
It’s funny, it started off with me working for Waitrose for four-and-a-half years. Hated it, but the depth of training was amazing and I did really well there. It’s very personable and all about people. At lunch, we would go for a drink in the pub, and I got chatting with one of the bartenders in there. They said, “We’re opening a restaurant and we need people to pad it out.” So, I said, “You know what? I need the extra money – let’s just work there on the side.”
I got into it, found out I really liked it. Really, really struggled for the first month because it was so difficult – you’re spinning plates the whole time and there’s so much going on. I was living in Ferndown at the time; I went out for lunch in a pub and, again, got talking to one of the girls behind the bar in there, who told me, “We’re looking for full-time guys. We can tell you’re really into this. Do you want to move over with us?” I dropped everything on a whim, went in full-time. And it was only meant to be for a bit – I just needed a break from retail because I hated so much. And, at the time, I was trying to set up a business or do something independent, and I just completely fell in love with it.
I have always been poached for every job I’ve had; I’ve never had a job application, and slowly I ended up in Ashley Cross and that sort of scene. Seeing really busy bars, places that are a lot more bespoke. All completely by accident.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF HOW A BARTENDER CREATES AND DEVELOPS A COCKTAIL?
There’s a few different ways to do it. Personally, I’m very concept-based. There’s one on my menu right now called Umi, which is the Japanese description of the sea. And the idea came from the classic Sex on the Beach, but I wanted to almost reverse-engineer it. Keeping the concept the same, but doing something completely different. So, we had the flavours there but put in totally differently.
That method is my preference, but you can also have a classic with a different take on it. Your Manhattans, Martinis, Mojitos, the ones that people recognise, and put your own twist on it. Be that a small spirit that only you can get hold of, or in terms of presenting it, like over ice or not over ice – that sort of style. Or, you can start with just the base spirit. “I really like this spirit — how can I get the most out of this flavour?” and build it up like that. And you can complement that flavour or cut against it.
There’s so many possibilities and it depends on what your passion is at that moment in time. Even if it’s “I want to do this garnish!” and build a cocktail around that. Do it backwards from that.
WHAT SORT OF INGREDIENTS DO YOU LIKE WORKING WITH THE MOST?
All bartenders drink a lot — that’s a given! — so our preference tends to be short, boozy cocktails that are essentially all spirit-based, so not much mixer. And it’s all about subtlety and lots of little bits. That’s what I like to drink. But in terms of what I like to make, my preference is whisky-based. I absolutely love Mezcal, which is a gorgeous smoked tequila – it’s my favourite. Vermouths and fortified wines are also things I’m interested in at the moment. And again, these are classic-style; very short, punchy drinks.
WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT IN DRINKS — TASTE OR APPEARANCE?
It depends. There are two types of drinkers, I’d say. Either way – they’re going to spend big money, because cocktails are expensive. If you think a cocktail costs about the same as an hour of someone’s time at work somewhere else. Some people will want their drink to look amazing because they want to take a picture and post it on Instagram, show all their friends. And for other people – they’ll be real whisky enthusiasts or gin enthusiasts and they will really like that sort of thing.
To answer the question, I would say both are as important as each other. It just depends on the person. And, at the risk of saying too much, there’s a massive gender divide in there as well. In my experience, girls tend to go for the tall, less potent but prettier-looking drinks, while guys prefer hard spirits and that sort of stuff.
BAR WORK (AND OTHER HOSPITALITY) IS STILL SOMEWHAT LOOKED DOWN ON IN THIS COUNTRY. WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THAT?
I think you’re right. There’s two sides to it, though — because the bar community is amazing. For the most part, we don’t see each other as competition, because we need other people to bounce off of. It builds the scene up and gives people a reason to want to go. With an area like Bournemouth or Ashley Cross, it helps to have other good places around, because it gives people more of a pull to come in.
But, when I explained to my parents that I was going to be a bartender for a living. Explained to them the money and the hours and the hardship, I just saw their faces saying to me, “What the hell are you doing?” It is a lot of work and takes a lot of time, and there’s such a wealth of knowledge that goes with it. It’s difficult! To a certain extent, anyone can do it, but to persevere is the difficult part. And I think with the guys that are really good and really passionate, they could do that in any industry, they just so happened to like this one.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COCKTAIL THAT YOU’VE DESIGNED?
My favourite at the moment, which we’ve just put on our new menu, involves Sake – Japanese rice wine. This particular one is a plum one, with gin. Sour-style. And it is so pretty to look at. It’s just an ingredient that people wouldn’t be able to experience around here, since Drgnfly is the first big Asian place in Ashley Cross. So, it’s a fun one for us to show a different style of drink-making.
BARTENDING HAS BECOME VERY CULINARY RECENTLY. WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THAT?
As much as we can, we try to use fresh ingredients. Just to name a few, I have Star Anise on the back bar, poppy seeds, peppercorns, fresh ginger, a whole multitude of fruit; we dehydrate mangoes, pineapples, everything. The concept is our back bar is our kitchen and the front bar is for service. And you’re starting to see the crossover between fine dining and the high-end culinary style coming into the drinks now. The French have been doing it for years; the Russians have just accelerated the scene massively. And it’s come full circle now, because London is the hub for the world, which is incredible when you think that cocktails came out of America.
WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOUR CAREER AS A BARTENDER?
I’m at that stage now trying to work this out. I have put the grind in and I’m at a level where I could pretty much work anywhere. A lot of anxiety is relieved there, because it means I have options.
Abroad is looking very distinct, in terms of those options, depending on how much longer I want to be customer-facing for. Amsterdam is somewhere I really want to go, I love the scene over there, or if I can get to the States, that’d be amazing. I’d love to do a few cities in Europe. A – to travel; B – to meet totally different people, because hospitality over there is completely different to how it is here.
Ownership is another thing. It’s very difficult to get the money behind you to do it, given the way that we pay over here. I would much rather work somewhere where I’m investing in my own skill, rather than at management level. You don’t get that much better in management. I have done it before and I just really didn’t enjoy it; it wasn’t why I entered the industry in the first place.
And the other option is to do rep work for either a supplier or an independent spirit company or something. So you’re still working in it, but you’re selling it rather than actually using it. And even then, I would probably do the odd shifts as a bartender – I can’t see myself not doing it.
Hannah Elkins, Musician
Ahead of releasing her first single, we had a chat with musician Hannah Elkins. Where did her journey in music begin and what are her hopes for the future?
Dividing her time between the hustle-and-bustle of London and the Bournemouth music scene, we were lucky to have a few words with musician and singer Hannah Elkins. As she goes to release her first single, it seemed like a good time to hear about her beginnings in music…
ARE YOU FROM THE BOURNEMOUTH AREA?
Yeah – I grew up in Bournemouth. I studied at Leeds University, and then came back to Bournemouth, before moving to London last summer. But most of my life has been spent in the area.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DECIDE THAT MUSIC WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?
My mum is a singer herself. She’s very musical and runs a choir in Bournemouth. So, in a way, I had no choice. I grew up singing and it was just what I knew to do. But it was really at secondary school that I realised that it was what I wanted to do for a career, and what I went to study at university.
DO YOU MODEL YOUR STYLE ON ANY ARTISTS IN PARTICULAR?
My favourite artist is Lianne La Havas. She has very delicate, beautiful vocals, with quite hard guitar sounds. For me, it was the first time I had heard that kind of contrast in music, which I fell in love with. Another one is Jessie Ware. I just found out that she was classically trained, and I studied classical singing at university. I think that’s why I love her stuff so much – you can hear she’s just got this amazing voice in there. She’s a huge inspiration to me.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST GIG…
I started writing my own music probably quite late in comparison to others. A lot of them, you hear they started writing when they were 12. For me, that didn’t happen until I went to university. Because I studied classical singing, and then I went for a year abroad in the Netherlands to learn to play piano. And it really changed my perspective of music and how I wanted to approach it.
So I started sitting at the piano and writing my own stuff. And then when I went back for my final year at Leeds, I just thought, “I’ve got to do this!” Took a lot of courage, but I booked my first gig at Hyde Park Book Club. Lovely little intimate venue – it was actually quite terrifying because it was so intimate. We had about 70 people in this room. I just rocked up with my notepad (with my lyrics on it) in one hand and my little keyboard and sat in front of these people, who were the most attentive audience I’ve ever had. And that was it – I was hooked.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING FIRST SINGLE…
It’s called After the Midnight. I don’t have a set writing method with any of my music. Normally, I’ll find this idea, work around it and build the song, but with this one, I had just a chorus – two lines and two chords that I knew I loved. Had no idea where I was going with it. Even when I stepped into the studio, I didn’t have the song in full! Bit risky, I know, but I like a challenge. I don’t know if I’d recommend it…
So, I worked with my friends Elliot Wenman, who plays guitar, and Niko Battistini, who is a Bournemouth-based producer. With those two, I created this song.
When I started writing this, I had started a different mind state of how I wanted to write. So, it was included in a couple of other songs I had written. There was the theme of this midnight, the stars, the universe; it just fit into this collection that I was working on at the time.
WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO LAUNCH YOUR SINGLE SPECIFICALLY IN BOURNEMOUTH?
I am really excited to come back and do the launch here. That’s because After the Midnight has been a collaboration with a lot of Bournemouth musicians and artists. The artwork was done by a girl called Amy Leonard, who is studying at the Arts University. She’s done some brilliant artwork for me. Plus the photography has been done by Alice Parmenter, who’s also Bournemouth-based. And then, as I mentioned earlier, the production from Niko. There’s such talent in Bournemouth, and that’s where this single has come from.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE BOURNEMOUTH MUSIC SCENE?
In Bournemouth, there is this real market of music-lovers. There is something called Sofar Sounds, which is run in Bournemouth. I performed for them a couple of years ago, and then I volunteered for their team afterwards. It’s a brilliant event where they basically get three acts and take them to an intimate venue. Audiences can apply for tickets, and they don’t know where the venue will be or what the lineup is until they’re emailed a few days before. They tell you at the beginning of the gig that they want you to pay attention to the artists and give them that respect, which I think can be lost in some of the bigger venues. London, for example, can be slightly saturated.
WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOU AS A MUSICIAN
Ultimately, it’s to write music that people can relate to and want to listen to. As long as there’s someone there who is listening and says that they like it — that’s the dream, really.
Stephanie Wyatt, Miss Earth 2019
Learn more about Stephanie Wyatt, 19, from Dorset, as she has been crowned the new Miss Earth 2019…
At the end of last month, Stephanie Wyatt was crowned Miss Earth England 2019 at the Arden Hotel in Birmingham, sponsored by Millennium Balti in Leamington Spa. She got in touch with Humans of Bournemouth with full details on her story and what it’s like to be “Miss Earth.”
WHAT ARE YOUR DUTIES AS MISS EARTH?
As Miss Earth, I will be representing England on an international platform of millions of people around the world. Since I have also been rewarded with the title of ‘Beauties of a Cause Eco-Ambassador’ for my accomplishments, my duties include working with environmental, eco-activities and other social causes.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVOCACY?
My main aim is to advocate the preservation and restoration of Mother Earth. From a young age, I remember being exposed to the harsh reality around me and knew I had to make a change. When I found out that I could make a difference, I knew I had to carry on doing what I was doing.
DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A STIGMA ON PAGEANTS?
Despite the stigmas, Miss Earth is different to your everyday beauty pageant. It is an environmentally-focused competition. A platform for change. For example, one of our challenges that was judged was to create an “eco-warrior” outfit. I decided to make mine completely out of real flowers. I believe that we are sending out a message here, showing the public that we all have a responsibility to preserve and attend to what the world we live in needs. Which fights against any stigmas.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING TO THE MISS EARTH FINAL?
I am extremely honoured to be put in the position to attend the final. Which is the third-most prestigious platform in the world to represent England. I’m also privileged to meet so many like-minded women. I’d like to thank the Miss Earth England organisation and I hope that I will do my country proud. This really is a dream come true for me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER PROJECTS BESIDES FROM MISS EARTH?
I want to be socially and environmentally responsible for our earth. That’s why I created my own project in 2017. I investigated how I could tackle the world’s second-largest polluting industry, which is clothing. I thought of several ways to reduce this problem and also need those in need at the same time. That’s why I decided to aid those whom are struggle with period poverty. My first steps to making a difference were deciding to set up workshops at my local library, where the public could donate their unwanted clothes. Once generous individuals had donated, I was then able to up-cycle them into re-usable sanitary wear for girls in Kenya. This can make a big transformation on a girl’s life in Kenya since they can go to school now in comfort and not have to worry about their period getting in the way of their education.
WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO DURING YOUR REIGN AS MISS EARTH?
I hope to set up a lot more like-minded projects, similar to what I have done before. I’m particularly interested in helping Third World countries; they are one of the main reasons why I put my heart and soul into the work I do.
Jack Lenton, Personal Trainer
Meet Jack Lenton. His lifestyle is his career. As a personal trainer, he owns his own business and is able to train clients worldwide.
Learn more about how he decided to become a personal trainer and how his passion for fitness began. Jack also desires to help others develop their own career in the fitness industry…
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM BOURNEMOUTH?
No, I grew up in the south of Somerset. Then I decided to go to Exeter University, so I lived there for a while. After that I lived in America for 18 months. I’ve lived in Bournemouth for the past year. My girlfriend lived here, so it made sense for me to move here with her.
WHAT DOES YOUR PROFESSION INVOLVE?
My day-to-day job is mainly online coaching and training. I also employ people to help with my business and coaching — I love being able to give people the chance to do what they love as a job. We mainly coach one-to-one sessions, giving the clients personal advice on themselves and how their body works and what suits them. Nevertheless, we also coach in groups as well; they don’t tend to be any more than 40 people. An individual’s ability determines what group they are put in. As a group, they will be supported as much as possibly needed.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO FITNESS?
Fitness was the only thing that kept my attention; I didn’t really enjoy school. All my efforts went into fitness and sports instead of education. Therefore, when choosing a university course, exercising science caught my eye. It was the only course that for fulfilled my desires at the time.
WERE YOU INTO SPORTS AT SCHOOL?
Of course! It wasn’t weightlifting or strength training — I was too young for any of that. I tended to play more standard sports such as football, basketball and I tried a bit of trampolining. As a kid, just being active was my priority. Fitness has always been a key aspect of my life.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU LIVE A STRICT LIFESTYLE IN TERMS OF FITNESS?
I have made my fitness lifestyle strict because that is the how I prefer it. My mental and physical health has improved by working out daily. Although it never limits me in terms of my lifestyle, since I enjoy it so much, it’s more of a hobby than a chore.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO START SEEING RESULTS ON YOUR OWN BODY?
I was looking at photos of myself the other day. From when I was about a year into my training and my body was so different. It took me about two years to see a massive progress. For a long while, I wasn’t very sure on what worked on my body type in terms on fitness wise. I found that, I noticed what I was doing wrong before finding what I was doing right. Over the years, I’ve increased how much I train. Before fitness and training was part of my daily routine, I was working out about five times a week. My personality is quite addictive, so that certainly helped keep myself on track.
IS SOCIAL MEDIA IMPORTANT TOWARDS YOUR CAREER AS A PERSONAL TRAINER?
Social media makes a significant impact on my career since it allows me to coach worldwide. My personal trainer career is no longer restricted to local people; because of social media, anyone can reach out to me. It also benefits me in terms of meeting like-minded individuals from anywhere and everywhere. Those who share the same passions as me and are part of the fitness community.
WHAT IS YOUR END GOAL?
Right now, I hope to carry on what I’m doing and making money from it. I also hope to keep employing more and more people for my business. This means I can help them gain experience and earn money from doing something they love as a career, just like me.