Industry pays tribute to legendary bartender Dick Bradsell


Espresso Martini Bramble

People from across the bar industry have paid tribute to influential, legendary bartender Dick Bradsell who has died after nearly 40 years behind the stick.

Working at many of London’s top bars since the late 1970s, he will be remembered for creating modern classic cocktails such as the Espresso Martini and the Bramble (pictured).

His creativity and focus on quality and service made him a pioneer in the development of Britain’s modern cocktail bar scene, providing inspiration to many of today’s top bartenders around the world.

Most recently, Dick headed the Pink Chihuahua bar at El Camion in Soho – the part of London with which he is most associated. Born on the Isle of Wight, he began his career in the late 1970s as a bar back at the Zanzibar Club in London. He was later involved in top London bars such as Fred’s Club, The Colony Room, Dick’s Bar at Atlantic Bar & Grill, Detroit and The Player.

Since news of his death broke yesterday, social media have been filled with tributes from bartenders and others in the drinks industry across the world.

Salvatore Calabrese, a leading bartender with nearly 50 years in the industry, said Dick would be sadly missed, describing him as an “inspiration and founding father of the modern bar scene”.

Jake Burger, whose bars include Jake’s Bar in Leeds and Portobello Star in London, was inspired by Dick to make bartending a career. “Our industry and our world is less interesting for his departure but his legacy is written in the menus and the bars of the world’s great cocktail cities.”

Mike Sweetman, national vice president of the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild, said everyone should pay respect to Dick’s legacy, calling him “a true legend in the world of mixology”.

James Fowler, who owns award-winning Bournemouth bar The Larder House and The Library, described Dick as “visionary”, saying he was “one of the key first cocktail kings I ever read about and inspired my journey to date. Your legacy will live on in glasses around the world.”

Bartender Andrea Montague, who is brand ambassador for Bulleit whiskey, remembered him as “such a talented and wonderful man with an awesomely wicked sense of humour. You were a true inspiration to me and thousands of bartenders the world over.”

Dick created the Vodka Espresso, better known as the Espresso Martini, while working at Soho Brasserie and the Bramble at Fred’s Club. Along with the Treacle, other modern classic cocktails that he created include the Russian Spring Punch, the Carol Channing and the Pink Chihuahua.

In memory of Dick, a campaign has been set up to raise money for industry charity The Benevolent – a cause that really mattered to him – with permission from his daughter, Bea. The Benevolent’s mission is to work with the industry and charity partners to combat challenging social issues such as long-term illness, homelessness, addiction, poverty and disability as well as provide practical, emotional and financial support to those from our trade in need. Visit www.justgiving.com/DickBradsell for more information and to donate.

Visit https://sites.google.com/site/bourbongeorge/dick-bradsell for some of Dick’s recipes and other resources.

Pictured: Espresso Martini and Bramble. We have not yet been able to obtain the rights to use any pictures of Dick for this piece.

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