Cocktail of the Month with Red Bush
In the latest of a regular series, we ask local bartenders to showcase a signature serve featuring the superb premium spirits brands presented by Proximo. Christopher McQuillan, assistant manager at Oliver’s Restaurant in Ballyhackamore, creates a classic cocktail featuring Red Bush.
Christopher McQuillan, assistant manager at Oliver’s Restaurant in Ballyhackamore.
Ritz to rubble cocktail
About the bartender
Christopher commenced his hospitality career cleaning dishes for his head chef brother at the age of 15, progressing to a bartending role at Madison’s Hotel in Belfast when he was 18. Moving on to the Fitzwilliam Hotel’s cocktail bar, “that’s where I started to learn about cocktails, and it gave me the drive to read more about it,” says Christopher. An opportunity then opened up at Love & Death Inc; at that time “the most innovative, creative cocktail bar in Belfast,” he says. “It was in Love & Death, I started to learn about fermentation, distillation and which flavours pair well together. I got promoted to duty manager there and got to work alongside the likes of Anthony Farrell and Brian McGeown for two years. They are both so creative and natural thinkers, nothing is an obstacle, and they also introduced me to cocktail competitions.” Christopher then followed up Love & Death with stints at AM:PM and Saphyre, where he developed his keen interest in food, before joining friends from the industry at Olivers in Ballyhackamore. “I didn’t know this side of town, but after I tried a few of the head chef’s dishes, it was a no-brainer for me; the food is amazing.”
The featured spirit in this month’s signature serve is Red Bush.
Ritz to rubble
50ml Red Bush
15ml Elderflower syrup
25ml lime juice
Shaken over ice
Fine strained into a sherry glass
Topped with thyme and star anise oil
“The light, fresh notes of Red Bush work well as an after-dinner drink,” says Christopher. “I’ve incorporated a lot of ingredients people would perceive as being suitable to drink after dinner, putting it in a sherry glass as, again, it would typically be served after dinner.”