Joe Ballinger

Joe Ballinger



The Berry & Rye


Old Smoke on the Meadow

Favourite Bar?

Tricky, can I have three?

  1. MOJO Liverpool
  2. Baxter Inn Sydney
  3. The Green Dragon Inn Gloucestershire.

These combine three of my favourite things; rock and roll, whiskey, real ale and the countryside.  All very different.  All the best at what they do.

Weirdest comment you have heard from a customer?

A lady was sat at my station, alone, minding her own business once when

a man slowly reached out and poked her nose ring

.  I waded in with, “Not very appropriate I think mate.”  His reply was, “They’re just so (had to remove word) weird.”

What’s the funniest thing you have seen in a bar?

In Sydney I worked in a fine dining restaurant which gave lunch time host in the sunshine to some very wealthy clientele.  One morning a party of six middle aged Aussies are a few bottles of wine in, late on in the shift.  I think they were the last people there.  They are being very jovial, loud and fun.  Suddenly they stop their hilarity as one lady legs it up stairs to the toilet.  Peering round, we see there is a trail of human waste and a smell proceeding it right up to the toilet door.  Her husband quietly speaks to the host who goes and hands him a table cloth.  The brave man clears up his wife’s mess himself, approaches me and asks where he should leave it.  Suppressing a thousand immediate sarcastic responses I direct him to the laundry basket almost messing myself trying not to laugh.  That was funny.

Favourite secret bartender saying?

Can’t tell you them.  They’re secret.

Your favourite cocktail?

Manhattan.  Variations thereof.

Why do you love Buffalo Trace?

I learnt to make whiskey cocktails with Buffalo Trace so it always reminds me of my first couple of years making cocktails.  It’s what my instinct tells me American whiskey should taste like.  From shots to chasers to mixers to Manhattans it diversely works in pretty much any manifestation.  You want to get people on to bourbon cocktails?  Get them drinking a Buffalo Smash or Old Fashioned.  Top heritage and history with the best range of bourbons of any distillery.