Hello, in a few words could you tell us who you are, what you do, and where you do it?
I’m Tom Byrne, Head Bartender of Charlotte’s Bistro in Chiswick, West London. We’re a neighborhood British restaurant with bar focus on Gin, cocktails & old world wines.
How long have you been making cocktails, and what drew you to it first place?
To be perfectly honest, I got into cocktails by accident! My A-Levels didn’t go quite to plan so I had to get a job in a bar. Luckily enough, I managed to land a job as a Bar back in a busy cocktail bar/nightclub. 7 Year’s later, here we are!
How would you describe your style, philosophy or approach to cocktail making?
Very much classic inspired, and with a quite a simplistic, homely approach. To me, a garnish must be functional to the drink and add something worthwhile. I get joy out of ever so slight reworks of classics - things like developing my own bottled Gibson where the vermouth comes from the pickled onion itself! I work predominantly seasonally, with lots of fresh juices, purées and cordials. Not going to lie, you see a lot of negroni and white lady twists fly off my station.
If you had to name just one cocktail that you're best known for, or have developed, or defines your style, what would it be, and how do you make it?
Our most popular signature is the tea & cake: Earl Grey infused Gin with lavender, Madeira, lemon & egg white. A white lady twist inspire by a drink by one of old bosses, Fredi Viaud
So it’s Friday night, and you have a small group of friends coming round to your house, what cocktail would you recommend to start the night?
Always a Negroni! Simple, quick, and a favorite of most cocktail heads. Nothing complicated needed but has a big effect
Could you name a mixologist or cocktail bartender that has inspired you and why?
I’ve been lucky to work with some great bartenders; Fredi Viaud, Aaron Hibbert & Ben Samuel have definitely helped mould me into the bartender I have become today.
If there was just one tip you could pass on to the home, or novice, cocktail wanabe, what would this be, and how did you come to know it?
Drinks are about fun! Make sure you don’t loose sight of it. Keep it simple & fun and you’ll go a long way - don’t get bogged down in crazy details like the exact amount of times you need to stir, taste is everything.
Find Charlotte's Bistro:
6 Turnham Green Terrace
Chiswick W4 1QP
020 8742 3590