For the first time, an American will run the cocktail bar at the Savoy Hotel in London
For the first time in its history, an American will run the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London.
Shannon Tebay, who was head bartender at Death & Co., Manhattan’s famous cocktail bar, was chosen to be head bartender at the American Bar, long ranked as one of the world’s most prominent cocktail destinations. .
Ms. Tebay isn’t just the first American to take over the bar – she’s the first woman to hold the post since Ada Coleman in the early decades of the 20th century. Coleman is a renowned figure in mixology circles and the creator of the Hanky Panky cocktail, a blend of gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet-Branca that is still popular today.
“This time around, they were looking for an American perspective,” said Ms Tebay, 35, who said the interview process took about six weeks and was done by video call. “There has never been an American at the head of the American Bar. Having this authentic perspective on what we are doing on this side of the pond was important to them. (Harry Craddock, another famous former American bartender, has long been considered to be from the United States, but a scholarship recently revealed that he was born in England.)
Ms Tebay, a native of Albuquerque, spent seven years with Death & Co. She served as a head bartender for her last two years, and much of that time was spent during the pandemic, an experience which she says she prepared her for any challenge. .
“Coming out of this Covid phase of working in New York galvanized my confidence to take it on,” she said. “It’s been a year and a half of constant adaptation and pivoting. I came out of it realizing that I am capable of more than I thought.
The American Bar, which opened in the 1890s, was one of the first places to introduce American-style cocktails to Europe, hence the name of the bar. It has attracted many famous clients over the years including Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” published in 1930, has been a bartender’s bible for nearly a century.
Ms. Tebay, whose official titles will be Head Bartender for the American Bar and Head Mixologist for the Savoy Hotel, will begin work in mid-August. The bar, which was closed due to the pandemic, will reopen in mid-September with a new cocktail menu it will create. She will also spend this time building a stick.
“I want to diversify the staff as much as possible,” she said. “It is the responsibility of hospitality leaders to make positive changes in our industry. “