Shake and train: Shaker & Company bar

Shaker & CompanyAdam Freeth is this year celebrating 10 years since setting up Shaker which has gone on to become one of the leading bar consultancies and training companies in the UK. He and his team can also now demonstrate that they know how to run a bar themselves after opening Shaker & Company in Euston, London. “It’s a shop window for us,” Adam explains. “It’s a fairly bold statement saying that, after showing and teaching people how to do it for 10 years, we think we are doing the right things with drinks and service.”

While the bar has taken over from Shaker’s Old Street location as its London training school in the daytime, in the evening it is a fully operational bar, competing with the best in the capital. It is inspired by the classic look of a New Orleans saloon bar, with a solid wooden counter and back bar, traditional ceiling fans, exposed brickwork and sand-blasted pine flooring. The classic-look furniture includes soft red leather banquettes, plain bentwood chairs and bar stools with square black-leather seats.

Stefan Ravalli
Stefan Ravalli behind the bar
The interior was designed by Adam with support from Steve Curtis of Space Design. The bar is lit by large brass lanterns and fittings made from reclaimed crystal and glass decanters and demi-johns. An important element is a mural-like picture on one wall, created by artist Dan Filippi from Shaker’s events team, depicting legendary bartenders of the past: Victor Bergeron, Harry Johnson, Ada Coleman and Jerry Thomas plus one from the present, Charles Schumann. Adam says they provide inspiration to bartenders on their courses and for the team behind the bar.

Shaker & Co is run by general manager Scott Walker, an existing member of the Shaker team, plus head bartender Stefan Ravalli, who has come from The Victoria Room in Sydney. While the bar team can serve up any classic, they have a list of 12 original “adventurous” cocktails inspired by recipes from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. This will keep changing but, for now, includes the Potato Sack Sour:

Potato Sack Sour
Potato Sack Sour
20ml Bénédictine
20ml Aperol
20ml Pisco
12.5ml fresh lemon juice
1 small dash Peach bitters
White of one small egg

Dry shake, wet shake, hard shake, deep shake. Serve in a coupette, adding three drops of Peychaud’s Bitters on top.

The Cox’s Grave Spinner combines Bacardi Superior, mango, apple and honey syrup, fresh lime, clove and cinnamon bitters – a sweet version of a Daiquiri that would supposedly have the cocktail’s creator Jennings Cox turning in his grave. The signature cocktail is the S&Co, served in a small shaker with a straw:

Signature cocktail S&Co
40ml Hennessey VS cognac
40ml Chai cider
7.5ml Luxardo Maraschino
5ml fresh lemon juice

Shake and serve in a mini shaker with a straw. Garnish with basil, mint and burnt cinnamon dust.

Many ingredients are made in-house from liqueurs and vermouths to infusions and syrups while there are wines and beers, including several on draught and the bar’s own light refreshing lager. A menu of Deep South soul food has been created by Amit Sood, Shaker’s head of training who once worked at Le Gavroche. There is also a roster of entertainment from live bands to comedy nights and quizzes.

Myles Donneky behind the bar
Downstairs is a small room that gets transformed each month for different drinks brands to host tastings. For the opening, it had a monastery-like atmosphere with old-style school desks, wooden pews and French posters for Bénédictine, and then from mid-November it was revamped into a sleek red-and-white bar for vodka Belvedere Red. The line-up of Belvedere cocktails include an inventive twist on a Cosmopolitan, called a Company Girl, created by bartender Myles Donneky. Served in a teacup, it mixes 50ml of Belvedere, 20ml of Cointreau, 20ml of lime, one egg white and his own reduction of cranberry, sage, allspice and rosemary.

While this is Shaker’s first bar, Adam points out that the company’s team has about 80 years’ operational experience between them and the infrastructure of a larger company already in place. While they do not plan to replicate Shaker & Co, they have a strategy to open more bars, Adam adds. “Once we have learned what we need to learn with this project, we are looking to grow the business on the retail side.”

Shaker & Company, 119 Hampstead Road, London NW1 3EE, Tel: 020 7060 6877

Previous Star attraction: new museum celebrates gin
Next Winter wonders: cocktails for the festive season