SHAKE AND MAKE: Designing signature local cocktails at the House of Angostura.
If you are planning an Independence Day party and want to serve your guests cocktails but really unsure of how to make them, Raymond Edwards is going to make things easier for you and help you build your confidence to try even more elaborate drinks —once you have mastered the basics.
Edwards is the chief mixologist at the House of Angostura. He has been a part of the hospitality industry professionally for over nine years and is an award-winning mixologist — is a person who is skilled at mixing cocktails and other drinks.
While some people might see it as just pouring their favourite beverage into a glass and adding two blocks of ice, it is more than that. There is an art to mixing drinks and Edwards’s confidence in his chosen profession comes from years of practice, passion and skill.
He said, “My favoUrite cocktail to prepare is the Manhattan. It’s like preparing a meal. I totally enjoy seeing all the ingredients being placed together and what the end result is. The Manhattan cocktail for me, speaks simplicity, sophistication and balance.”
Rather than make a simple orange juice or fruit punch, Edwards would like to inspire others to venture outside their comfort-zone and showcase their creativity in cocktails.
He said, “When preparing cocktails one must take into consideration the quality of the ingredients being used. What you put in is what you are going to get out.”
With such a wide array of cocktails available today, Edwards said, cocktails can be classified in different ways. These may include: date or period (gothic age, golden age, prohibition period, repeal period and modern). It is important to note, the preparation style: shaken cocktails, blended or frozen, stirred cocktails build drinks rolled and thrown cocktails.
“No matter what you choose, keep in mind simplicity is key. Most classic cocktails contain two or three ingredients,” Edwards said.
He enjoys sharing his passion with others and has conducted many training sessions with aspiring bartenders and has also developed menus for top restaurants and bars locally and regionally.
Some of Edwards accomplishments include: Triple National Bartending Champion Trinidad and Tobago 2006-2008, Bartender of the Year (Taste of the Caribbean) 2007. He was also inducted into Caribbean Hotel Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Edwards has created many cocktails some of which includes the Saga Boy Mojito and The Trinidad Swizzle. He has worked alongside some of the industry’s top mixologists like Dale Degroff (the grandfather of cocktails, Tony Abou-Ganim (The Modern Mixologist) and Salvatore Calabrese.
When it comes to cocktails, Edwards said, “Understanding ingredients and how they react when brought together is very important. Don’t be afraid to try different ingredients and always have fun.”
Edwards prepared the following cocktails: Cloak and Dagger, Trini Swizzle, Strawberry Basil Mojito, Apple and Ginger Mojito and Daiquiri.