Featured in Cocktail Lovers December ’20
Find the feature here! We’re a huge fan of Cocktail Lovers, a print and online magazine that can be found in bars across London for you to read while you wait for your date. They have won so many awards for their writing that we are sure that Mr & Mrs Cocktail Lover both eat their dinners off cut glass award plates! For more of their writing: https://thecocktaillovers.com/
Hannah Lanfear is the person you want on your quiz team when a tricky question pops up about anything to do with drinks. Not only can she call on her experience as a bartender and bar manager at gone but not forgotten London venues including Milk & Honey, Bungalow 8 and more besides, as the founder of the fab, highly esteemed educational platform The Mixing Class she’s the go-to gal for answers to do with anything and everything spirits related. Which is why she was asked to partner with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to develop its spirits courses, why she was appointed armagnac educator for the UK by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) and why she was named Imbibe Educator of the Year 2019.
More recently Hannah has partnered with Deano Moncrieffe to launch The Equal Measures Education & Mentorship Project, an amazing, much needed initiative designed to bring positive change and people from diverse backgrounds into the drinks industry. And you wonder why we love her? You will too after reading her answers to our Desert Island Drinks questions. Anyone who admits to liking Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman is pretty damned cool with us…
The early years…
Tell us about the young(er) Hannah. Where did you grow up? What were you like as a child?
I grew up in a fishing village in Cornwall. I was a bit of an imp as a youngster, a bit too naughty to fit into the regimen of school but bright enough to get through without really paying attention. While I was distracted in the classroom I did love books, and would be reading almost constantly. Nowadays I feel a bit conflicted about the idea of home and don’t get the chance to go back to Cornwall often (I could fly to Cairo quicker!), but I think I’ll always be a sailor at heart.
Is there a particular song that takes you back to this early period in your life?
The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues
What drink takes you back to this time? Obviously, this can be a soft drink (seeing as you were a child!), your first drinking experience, or the first that you clearly remember enjoying.
As a tot of three I remember the summer holiday treat of having a can of 7Up through a tiny red straw while sat on a picnic bench at Covean Cottages on St. Agnes in Scilly, still today my favourite place on earth. The bubbles were too much and prickled my eyes and made them water. By the time I had grown into my rebellious streak I’d be half-inching cans of my dad’s John Smiths to go and drink on a bench on the clifftops with friends as we bunked off school. Not quite so angelic as the first memory!
First bar job…
When did you start bartending and what are your memories of this time?
I got my first bar job at the Harbour Tavern in Mevagissey on my 17thbirthday. I had been angling for it for a while and the owner Henry gave in. It was a properly individual sort of a place, if you knelt down to put money in the pool table when the tide was high you’d get up with a damp patch on your knee! It had fallen out of fashion with the locals a bit after a real boom in the heydays of the fishing industry when everyone had a bit of money in their pockets to spend but the owner was a real rum enthusiast and had a good hundred rums behind the bar. Not that we used to move much of it but I think I liked that he was such a maverick, though a gruff old git besides. I’ve always been drawn to people like that.
Give us a taster of a track that you associate with this period in your life and why it stands out for you?
The Harbour Tavern had a jukebox of 7-inch records, all of which had been ‘programmed’ into the jukebox with name cards written in Henry’s gothic handwriting, meaning they were essentially illegible. Tourists would put a pound in the juke box and end up just walking away after maybe finding one song they could just about recognize. Me and my school pals had figured it out and had probably only five songs of choice that we would put on in a continuous loop which drove Henry so mad he would swap the records around so the numbers didn’t match the music. Steve Harley’s Cockney Rebel was on near constant rotation when we could find it but my favourite selection from the juke box would have to be Deacon Blue’s Fergus Sings the Blues which my brother had put on a mix-tape for me when I was small and he’d left home.