Meet the bartender: Behzad Nvaziri, Sokyo Lounge, The Star

The bar supervisor at Sokyo Lounge earned top honours at the Time Out Hotel Bars Cocktail Competition with his twist on an Old Fashioned
Behzad Nvaziri at Time Out Hotel Bars Cocktail Competition 2018
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan
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Knowing his customers and sharing his life experiences with them has been the key to bartending success for Behzad Nvaziri, who loves to spoil Sokyo Lounge’s regulars. “By the time they get through the door and you see them approaching, the drink is ready and on the table and they’re just speechless,” he says. For the Hotel Bars Cocktail Competition, he added a little twist of his own history, imbuing an Old Fashioned with the flavours of a winter feast in rural northern Iran, where he and his friends would char wild bacon over coals and sip bootleg whisky to warm up. “We really cherished that moment, because everything was so precious. And all those flavours came together in this drink: we have bacon fat-washed Irish whiskey, lemon thyme, which is really floral and reminds me of home, and we serve it well chilled with dry ice.”