Cocktail Maker & Shaker: Antony, Rose Villa Tavern


By Rickie J, Editor.

In the first of a series, I’ve tracked down Antony, who creates the potions for the old style boozer-esque, Rose Villa Tavern in JQ.

What or who got you into cocktails?

I started in the industry as a bar back, seeing the bartenders creating these mystical concoctions and the guests enjoying them and sharing special moments over these drinks really amazed me. My managers at the time Carl Finn and Matt Burke started to give me research to do on various drinks and it was when I realised the history and  processes behind the liquid/s that really sparked the passion.

Which are the easiest to make?

Antony felt this depended on where you work. ‘At the Rose Villa Tavern, we sling out porn star martinis and Bounty's like they're going out of fashion so the bartenders can make them with their eyes closed. Whereas over at the Jekyll and Hyde ‘they will do the same with their sweetie jars and so on’.

Which are the hardest?

The hardest to make are when you first start to create your own cocktails, making sure the flavours are balanced and measurements are perfect. The name is one of the hardest, I always struggle with this. The first things that come into my head are ridiculous so it has to be pulled back to something that can be put onto a menu for people to see. [I see a Brum Faves competition coming here!- Ed]

What are your predictions for the future?

Bartending has recently come out of quite a pretentious phase where everything has to be an artisan product, the oldest spirit you can find, served in a one of a kind vintage vessel.

With cocktails becoming more accessible to the people on the other side of the bar, I think it is/will become a lot more fun and it will push bartenders to use simpler ingredients to make amazing cocktails.

What’s your favourite to drink?

My favourite drink is a Blanco 100% Agave tequila, the finest spirit (in my eyes) ever made. My favourite cocktail is a Sazerac; this was one of the first cocktails that I learnt the history of and it sparked my love for the bar. Not many places will have it on their menu but any bartender that can make a good one is worth their weight in gold.

Where in the world have you had a great cocktail experience?

Boadas in Barcelona. It's a small dimly-lit room covered in pictures of the bar from the 1030's till the present and a big oak bar. Two bartenders in tuxedos are mixing drinks with no menu. What really got me was the elder lady sitting at the end of the bar without a drink in front of a picture of a Dandy looking gentleman.

We later found out that the gent in the picture had opened the bar and the lady sitting at the bar was his daughter. The entire place was draped in history and it was then that I realised how experiences shared in a bar or restaurant will last a lifetime.

If you could live in any era for its cocktails, when & where would that be?

Now, given the interest in Ant has in the history of cocktails and the story about the bar in Barcelona, I thought Antony may want to have lived in a bygone era of cocktails. But his answer surprised me!

Right now. Every bartender you talk to is excited about a new product or has just made their own infusion or learnt about a forgotten cocktail. The things that are available to us now means we can progress a lot further than ever before with help from the brands, the ingredients, the knowledge, the competitions etc. It's an exciting time for bars and bartenders.

Rose Villa Tavern.  Phone 0121 236 710 or Tweet @RoseVillaTavern   172 Warstone Lane, Hockley, Birmingham, B18 6JW

Take a look at the website here.

With thanks to Antony and Rose Villa Tavern for the photos.

Got a favourite cocktail bar you'd like featured. Contacts on @BrumFaves or comment below.

All American Menu at Rose Villa Tavern

By Deborah Broomfield

I recently had the privilege of being invited to a tasting of the new menu at Rose Villa Tavern by Birmingham Favourites

The menu has an American feel, with generous helpings and tastes and  influences from the different  States of America. This is in part being due to the influence of the new Head Chef who has spent there and the new menu shows a depth of flavour that illustrates some of what American food is about. Some of the exciting dishes are spicy and tangy and the menu is not just for the carnivores among us; vegetarians are also catered for!

I was one of a fairly substantial group of people who were treated to samples. I arrived a little later so did not sample all the choices but the dishes that I did experience left me pleasantly full which left me to conclude that normal size dishes will be generous and provide good value for money!

The surprise of the evening were the battered pickles spears. This dish may not sound appetising but the batter was flavoursome and the texture of the pickles was crispy and not soggy as I envisaged.

I sampled two types of hot dog the Chicago Hotdog topped with sauerkraut and yellow mustard and the New York. The beef hot dogs are of a great quality and my favourite turned out to be the Chicago - without the sauerkraut! There's also the Ohio and Arizona hotdogs which both have a “chilli kick” to them. The menu on the whole appears to have a lot of cheese as an ingredient but hey, it’s American diner food!

There are also sharing dishes on the menu which include Nachos Grande  plus the Sloppy Joe burger,which was apparently Evis’s favourite sandwich; ground beef cooked slowly with tomatoes and spices and topped with cheese. Unfortunately I didn’t taste this one but just describing it makes me feel like tasting it!

The range of burgers representing different states include the Philly and I sampled the RVT Mush 'n' Swiss - without dressings.

I had a really nice conversation with the Head Chef and came looking for feedback. I happened to mention that I had not tasted the chicken wings. He was really great and went and brought me some to try even though the sampling session was officially over! They were Buffalo wings New York style deep fried in herbs and spices with a hot sauce and blue cheese dressing.

I had a good American round trip in the Rose Villa Tavern and I have booked to do it again!

By Deborah Broomfield who can be contact via Twitter

More info on Rose Villa Tavern here or contact via @RoseVillaTavern