Barkeep at ACME in Sydney, Ed Loveday talks science, Japanese citrus, and why he can’t hate on those little cocktail umbrellas.
Bartenders play a unique role in the hospitality game. Part alchemist, performer, counsellor, and bouncer, they’ve got to master a lot more than just mixing cocktails. At ACME, the restaurant he co-owns in Rushcutters Bay, Ed Loveday has made a name for himself as a rare bartender who understands the power of simplicity.
Does science play a role in the modern cocktail?
It definitely can and does play a role, but it’s not something I subscribe to. I was in London recently and nearly every bar had a rotary evaporation machine or they were making their own ferments – it was impressive. And I have total respect for the likes of Dave Arnold and Tony Conigliaro, who have inspired a new generation of bartenders to breakdown the science behind tasty drinks. My style is way more simplistic though. It’s more about fresh, seasonal, produce and flavours.
Alive or dead, who’s someone you'd love to make a cocktail for? What would you make them?
Donald Trump. A Moscow Mule.
The little cocktail umbrella – is it ever an appropriate garnish?
Sure, why the hell not? A long time ago I went through a phase of garnishing pretty much everything with flaming passionfruit halves, so I’m probably not the right person to ask what is or isn’t appropriate.
One ingredient and spirit you're obsessed with?
Yuzu, the Japanese citrus. I’ve been obsessed since trying it for the first time about eight years ago. In fact, I’m fairly certain there’s a running joke going on behind my back that all my drinks have yuzu in them. Mezcal for the spirit, because it’s just pure party starting juice.
Your most memorable drink?
Downing Palomas (tequila and grapefruit soda) on the side of a race track in Arandas, Mexico. That’s one of the more memorable experiences I’ve had recently. It was two horses drag-racing each other down a straight track, while locals stood in the middle playing chicken with them. Pretty wild. The bar was just a 12-foot-long, waist-high, brick wall with a few dozen tequila bottles lined up on it.
How much do the seasons play into the drinks you create?
Everything we do at ACME, across both food and drinks, is about seasonality. The menus are constantly changing as ingredients go in and out of season.
What's your idea of time well spent?
In winter, a run, or a swim in summer, followed by lunch at Fratelli Paradiso with friends and a few good bottles.
Ed wears Kent watch in 38mm Black White.
White Negroni from Ed Loveday Bar ACME
30mls Tanqueray Gin
30mls Regal Rouge Lively White Vermouth
Stir over ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.