Fairmont’s knowledgeable mixologists are ambassadors for the hotel brand, known for luxurious stays and sumptuous bars.
Monocle sat down with Fairmont’s The Savoy tastemaker and cocktail connoisseur Erik Lorincz whose bartending background is as aspirational and internationally inspired as the Classics Perfected range of cocktails he curated for the luxury brand. Having showcased the range at London Cocktail Week, Fairmont is re-energising the cocktail scene both here and abroad, one drink at a time, with the promise of creativity and consistency in every glass.
Q&A – Erik Lorincz
Give us a little background into your career as a bartender. How did you get into cocktail-making?
I started about 17 years ago in Slovakia, where there wasn’t really a cocktail culture so I started from scratch. I found a cocktail school in Prague and while I was there they were opening the first cocktail bar in Slovakia. I went there for a weekend and in the end the owner offered me a job. I worked there for three-and-half years before moving to London. Then in London I was, again, really starting from scratch. I spent some time in Japan gaining more experience before moving on to a boutique hotel bar in London. After that I worked at The Connaught and was finally offered the head bartender role at The Savoy.
What does Fairmont mean to you?
Fairmont is a huge brand and has a very strong link to its destinations, such as The Savoy. The Savoy is a beacon of British hospitality, which I really like – I’ve worked here for seven years now. Wherever you go across the world and encounter the Fairmont brand, its integration into local cultures is perfect.
What is it that makes The Savoy stand out?
In many ways I think it’s the history and the people who work here. It makes for unique moments: you can have beautiful hotels but it’s the element of the human touch hat makes for extraordinary experiences. I think that’s what The Savoy is about.
Tell us about the Classics Perfected range of cocktails and your inspiration for their creation.
The Classics Perfected refers to the history and tradition of cocktails. We took classical cocktails but kept the DNA: we didn’t want to turn them into something completely unrecognisable. The desire was to enhance the drinking experience and create something a little more complex. When you go to a Fairmont property anywhere in the world, if you ask for the Classics Perfected range you will get exactly the same drink and it will taste exactly the same. We researched every single ingredient that was available in every country where there was a Fairmont in order to accomplish this.
Typically, innovation in cocktail-making happens when visionary bartenders come up with fantastic new flavour combinations at the request of an individual. For the Classics Perfected range, Fairmont gathered a careful selection of top bartenders from around the world to co-design a new series of cocktails for the brand.
Grant Sceney from Fairmont Pacific Rim, Nader Chabaane from Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and Erik Lorincz from The Savoy all brought creativity and years of expertise to the proceedings. The new creations were developed in partnership with Kathy Casey at her Liquid Kitchen Food Studios.
The Fairmont hotel collection boasts some of the most iconic and well-recognised hotels in the world, including The Plaza in New York, The Savoy in London, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City. Each bartender brought their own flair to the Classics Perfected range, as well as traditions from their respective Fairmont establishment.
London pop-up bar
London Cocktail Week included a vibrant assortment of more than 200 bars, restaurants and pop-ups, as well as a dedicated Cocktail Village at Old Spitalfields Market. The festival offered tastings, parties and other special events every evening in a myriad of colourful venues across London.
The event was an opportunity for Fairmont to showcase its unique cocktail Classics Perfected range and some of its properties’ iconic bars, such as the Beaufort Bar (The Savoy, London), the Champagne Bar (The Plaza, New York), the Jazz Bar (The Peace Hotel, Shanghai) and the Antidote (Fairmont Singapore).
The Fairmont Old Fashioned
10ml simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
30ml Woodford Reserve bourbon
30ml Mount Gay Black Barrel rum
1 orange, for the peel and to garnish
1. Pour sugar syrup and add the bitters.
2. Pour in rum and bourbon.
3. Fill the mixing glass ¾ full of ice.
4. Stir swiftly for 20 seconds.
5. Fill Old Fashioned glass ¾ full of ice.
6. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
7. Cut a wide orange peel and express oil on the rim.
8. Twist a slice of orange and drop into the glass.