3 years ago

Joe Schofield, Always an Altos Winner

Our most anticipated moment of the year is drawing near—the unveiling of The World’s 50 Best Bars List for 2019.

Our most anticipated moment of the year is drawing near—the unveiling of The World’s 50 Best Bars List for 2019.

The list will be announced at a special celebratory event in London, where Altos Tequila once again has the honor of recognizing a selected charismatic bartender as the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.

We spoke with the 2018 winner, Joe Schofield, about how his life changed after receiving this award. We also discussed other important topics such as sustainability, wise drinking, and some of the challenges that the bartending industry is facing today, such as innovation and creativity.

We consider Joe Schofield as part of our Altos Family, not only because he was the chosen Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Winner in 2018, but also because we share the same “We Care” values, focused on the theme of sustainability and the programs that support our bartender community.

We began our interview by asking Joe about his sustainability and bartender community programs at Sensorium, as well as his other projects. Let´s remember that Sensorium, it´s a unique consultancy and restaurant concept from Ryan Clift and him. They showcast their creativity in cuisine and cocktails using some of the finest ingredients on Earth, based on the ever successful.

After thanking us, he explained that he participated in an incredibly inspiring sustainability symposium in Mendoza, Argentina earlier in the year.

"I realized that sustainability is all about the small steps. One small step may not make a huge difference, but it may influence other people. They, in turn, influence other people—creating essentially a pyramid effect."

Encouraged by the symposium, Joe decided to create a QR Code Business Card, which is saved on his phone. Saving trees by not printing on paper was rewarding in itself, but since he posted about it on social media, three huge global companies have reached out to him to ask how they can implement it for their own teams. Just think about how many people can be reached by the employees of these global giants!

Addressing sustainability, Joe shared the following tips for creating a sustainable, solid, and honest cocktail menu: focus on minimizing waste, looking to your own backyard for ingredients, and carefully separating waste, plastic, and recyclables.

While these efforts and contributions impact the lives of the bartender community, Joe’s main message—that he promotes in every seminar he gives around the world— is: Have fun!

"It is very easy to get caught up in the craft or art of a cocktail, but sometimes it can be a little too serious. People tend to visit bars to have a good time, and we should encourage that."

Joe also thinks that as an industry we should be focusing on all beverages.  Instead of learning how to make that one Prohibition Cocktail (that no one ever orders), he invites us to study wine, how to make a great cappuccino or even, how to pour a perfect pint of stout beer.

When you win the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award

Joe’s life changed both professionally and personally after he won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award in 2018. “It is always very humbling to receive recognition from your peers,” he says. Joe is also very lucky to be the only bartender in history to have won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award at The World’s 50 Best Bars as well as the International Bartender of The Year at Tales of The Cocktail Spirited Awards.

"Winning Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award certainly boosted my career and opened up numerous opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise."

For Joe, The World's 50 Best Bars List is a great way to be able to give recognition to bar teams all around the world. Not only can being on the list help enhance your beverage sales in a venue, it can help with staff retention too.

Let’s not forget that award schemes, especially those that are consumer friendly, help give recognition to our industry as a whole.

"I hear ‘What is your real job?’ less and less. I believe this is due partially to awarding bodies like The World’s 50 Best Bars List."

Innovative projects: the boundaries of modern-day cocktail culture

We also asked Joe about the boundaries of modern-day cocktail culture and the initiatives promoting it.

He told us that one of the most innovative projects he has worked on is the Sensorium menus at Tippling Club, alongside Chef Owner Ryan Clift. Together they created two multi-sensory menus; one explores memory triggers through aroma and the second a completely edible cocktail menu in the form of Gummy Bears. Amazing!

These types of creative processes applied to cocktail creation present challenges that Joe and all of the bartenders in the Altos Family face every day. Joe graciously shared a theory with us to help others who sometimes get stumped by creativity block.

He always starts with a classic cocktail as a base and applies the “Mr. Potato Head Theory.” Yes, the Mr. Potato Head Theory! With Mr. Potato Head, if you remove his hat you put on another hat, and so on.

"If you build cocktails like this you can retain balance and body. Also there is an element that your guests can relate to the drink. They may understand the DNA of a Margarita or Paloma, for example."

Always in balance

As bartenders, we have a responsibility both to our clients and to ourselves. That’s why we encourage our community to practice wellness and mindfulness activities, such as yoga and meditation, to foster balance and inner peace.

Of course Joe is aligned with this lifestyle. He tells us that he tries to meditate every day because it helps him to focus on what he wants to do that day as well as to simply relax.

He admits that it took him a while to warm up to the idea at first. At some point, though, he realized that people have been doing these practices for thousands of years for a reason and decided to make them a part of his daily routine.

Concluding the interview, we asked Joe if he could give us some tips on how bartenders can both practice and preach wise drinking.  

Joe talks about the importance of being mindful of the amount of alcohol that you consume. He likes to make sure there is a certain number of days each week where he doesn’t drink any alcohol. In the case of his guests, he enjoys the low alcohol movement; in fact, he shared that he’s a huge fan of aperitif cocktails, so they tend to be his ‘go to’ option.

If you want to know more about Joe Schofield’s story and projects, see the following:



And follow him on social media:

Facebook: joe.schofield

Instagram: @joe_schofield