We catch up with Head Bartender, Jake Perry – the man who’s always up for a wee chat.

How did you get into bartending?

I originally started in the kitchen when I was 14 in the Mitchells and Butlers chain as a KP. From there I moved into pastry and then to the grill where I worked my way up to Junior Sous Chef over two-and-half years. From there, I went to be a Sous Chef an independent restaurant where they had a carvery every Sunday. At this point I was ready for a switch and a friend offered me an opportunity as bartender in a hotel which he managed. My background as a chef helps me today as a bartender because it’s basically being a liquid chef! You’re essentially playing with pairing flavours and creating drinks.

Tell us a little bit about your experience behind the bar…

I moved up to Edinburgh from my home town of Welwyn Garden City in 2015 and have had a variety of jobs within Edinburgh. I was part of the opening bar management team at Brewhemia in 2017 and following that, I started in BABA.

Where’s been your favourite place to work so far?

Not to sound cheesy, but BABA. Here we’re given the creative freedom to design the menu and create unique cocktails. We’re also given free rein to figure out the best way to run that bar that works for our team and are trusted to do what we believe is best.

What’s your favourite cocktail to drink and to make?

To drink, a twist on an Espresso Martini that’s made with Café Patron, vanilla vodka and Baileys.

To make, I would have to say drinks that have unique garnishes where you can add some theatre and bit of a wow factor to them. BABA’s Head Pastry Chef came in last week with his wife and we made Angostura bitters ice cubes within a Chocolate Orange Vodka Martini. Freezing the bitters into the ice allows the drink to remain clear while still having the flavour of the bitters.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

With my daughter, Rylee, who’s three years old – she’s outspoken and full of energy. We go out to eat a lot as she loves food, just like her dad!  I also love to discover new places to eat and drink.

What’s to come?

I hope to continually progress within BABA and Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. Now the bar team and I are prepping for an autumn cocktail menu release – we’re busy brainstorming for that. One of my newest ideas is a Turkish Coffee Negroni. Made with our cardamom coffee, Edinburgh Gin, Campari and sweet vermouth.