Jared Brown, the creator of Mixellany gives us the keys to drinking and living it up
He had no choice. His eagerness to taste and smell led him to drink his first glass of wine when he was only six years old. Did curiosity kill the cat? No, curiosity gave rise to one of the biggest names in the cocktail and spirits business. Author of more than thirty books that go from an ode to vermouth (A Guide to Vermouths and Other Aperitifs) to a praise of the Dry Martini (Shaken not Stirred), Jared is co-founder, along with his wife Anistatia Miller, of Mixellany Limited (mixellany.com). “When I was ten I read in a book how the American colonists had done a very basic distillation from cider. There was no cider available in the U.S at that time so I would brew my first batch and then distill it.” Sitting on a big leather couch and dressed as a true liquor dandy, he kinda looks like the great Big Lebowski… but not quite. He could easily be a character from a Coen brother’s movie although this man is way too stylish and would never daresay he is a one-drink man. But not everything has been alcohol for the master; the art of cooking has also caught his attention. “I studied and trained to become a chef and I’ve worked every position in the kitchen.” He pursues everything that comes to his mind and is no stranger to reviewing almost 900 restaurants, bars included.
Beyond the gin tonic
Spain has adopted the gin tonic as a cherished child from the world of spirits, which is exactly why he is sitting down with us as a judge at The Gin Collection Contest. And what is he looking for in a winner? As in everything he drinks: “Absolute perfection.” The gin and tonic combination has earned its place on the Spanish dinner tables but cocktails are still fighting for theirs. Slow though this may seem, they’re no longer being seen as those big (and irresistible) strangers. Maybe the mistake is, according to Jared, that cocktails are normally only had before or after a meal. “Cocktails can fit in with a meal just as well as wine, if not even better. What do you do if the bottle is not good enough? Open another bottle? With a cocktail you can make your drink perfect by creating a slight imbalance.” It’s as simple as that, according to Mr. Brown. “If, say, the dish has a citric component to it, I’d take part of it away, and then serve a drink that would be perceived as having a lot of citrus in it.” And then there are the bars with their lack of food. A superb Negroni can be had on its own, but dare drink three more or mix them boldly with the house’s Gimlet or a mezcal Bloody Mary and you’ll certainly end up pretty hurt. “Lots of bars don’t understand that serving food is essential. If you don’t, your customers will eventually leave and look for it someplace else. It is also a missed opportunity to create an experience for the senses.” Before we say goodbye, he assures us there is a perfect drink for each occasion but not for all occasions. So, what would you be drinking for this interview? “A Bloody Mary with gin, in other words a Red Snapper.”
photography: NANI GUTIÉRREZ