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The Thirsty Barber continued

At Gourmet Today we were mightly excited when The Thirsty Barber opened its doors. We are back again to check out what’s new in their world only to find they are in the testing phase of a brand new menu. Here’s the scoop. 

When The Thirsty Barber first opened their doors in the summer of 2016 they staunchly proclaimed they would be dedicated to serving expertly prepared and exquisitely presented cocktails to the highest of standards in a Speakeasy environment

A year on and this is still their mantra, and whilst some new faces may have appeared behind the Barber’s secretive façade, they are working hard to improve upon their hard earned reputation by bringing back some classic cocktails from eras gone by and introducing the St Julian’s area to some of the more contemporary.

The three owners of this concept, characterised on the bar’s interior walls and adorning the pages of their newspaper styled menu, have allowed a great deal of creativity and input from James Mongan, bar manager, their lead mixologist Marco Utomo, and his team of staff who stand proudly behind the marble topped bar in their themed barber’s aprons and bowties. Each member of the team has been consulted extensively to ensure the bar’s main characters all have a part in choosing the flavours the Barber is to offer.

Matthew Demanuele, arguably one of the most active owners in Paceville, has spent a significant amount of time welcoming and hosting clientele who enter the unassuming British red telephone box that transports you to the 1920s. During the past 12 months he has been on hand analysing and getting to know the crowd, and readily admits that certain sections of the existing menu needed updating to better reflect the demand. Certain cocktails, such as their premium champagne based Seven Deadly Sins range, may not have been as successful as they would have hoped, but the introduction of the entry-level Boss Cocktails, named after American gangsters of the early 20th century, were a hit from the moment they first appeared in March of this year.

“Over the past three months we have been trialling a variety of drinks, from weekly and daily offers, to soft launching prospective menu items. We advertise over 40 cocktails, but our staff have a selection of over 100 which can be requested. With this new menu we are hoping to make it straight forward for visitors to find one to their exact requirements.”

One of the unique selling points that The Thirsty Barber prides itself on is that in excess of 20% of all cocktails sold are what they refer to as ‘Open Cocktails’. Clientele are challenged to describe the spirits, tasting notes and sweetness of their required drink and within no time they are presented with a completely customised indulgence. Matthew was keen to stress that this will still be an option, but that very often these could be close to existing recipes or follow similar preparations as others, therefore giving the customers a crafted list with the variations may reduce the need.

The new menu, due for imminent launch, will include 15 new manifestations with base spirits from across the board and giving The Thirsty Barber an opportunity to expand on it’s extensive stock range. The iron bar backs are brimming with over 120 spirits and hard liquers, all ready to be served neat, with mixers, or within their famed cocktails. Much of these are to be culled to make way for the next era.

We were allowed some insight to the forthcoming offerings by Marco Utomo, a Thirsty Barber stallwart whose career took him to the Cocktail World Championship in Tokyo and the finals of Bols Around The World in Amsterdam in 2016/17.

Inspired by the Maltese Islands, the Melita Gardens builds upon the botanical nature of the gin base and accompanies this with the refreshing and spicy tastes of basil and apple. The elderflower and sugar combines to soften the palate. During recent in-house taste tests this cocktail was viewed very favourably with broad tasting notes and forms a good contrast to the current short drink Bijoux.

Created by Marco Utomo for the Bols Around The World competition, Tetteh The Blacksmith combines the strong tasting Bols Genever with coffee and chocolate before adding in the softening banana and yoghurt textures. Lime adds a citrus ending to the sip which would serve this cocktail well as an early evening beverage or to be enjoyed all night long.

Melita Gardens
Melita Gardens
The Thirsty Barber has fast become one of the island’s best spots for private functions including corporate events, wedding after parties, and launch nights. With bookings already in the calendar up to October 2018, much can be done to ensure the longevity of the project and it’s increased appetite with the Maltese nightlife crowd.

Tetteh The Blacksmith
Tetteh The Blacksmith
“We would love to appeal to every section of society, and have found that when the initial influx of international tourists died down after the season ended, we had a large number of foreign residents amongst our regulars and an increase in local visitors.”

One way that they have tried to branch out to other sections has been themed nights; the hugely successful Thirsty Rocker has seen three outings since the close of Coconut Grove in last September, and the weekly live music nights have kept the spirit alive within the Paceville boundaries.

To test out the mixologists expertise and sample the new cocktails, The Thirsty Barber is offering the opportunity to order from the new range throughout the month of August. If it’s anything like what we have become accustomed to, you are in for a treat.

 

The Thirsty Barber 

Ball Street,

St.Julians

Tel: 79440909


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