Drinks with Clotilde Lataille (French Classic Apéritifs UK Brand Ambassador at Pernod Ricard UK)
The Edition Hotel
Clo is one of those people where her job wouldn’t be what it is without her. I cannot imagine someone mentioning French Apéritifs and not having Clo in the same sentence. I love the products Clo looks after and it was so lovely to hear more about her journey to where she is today.
I guess we’d better start with who you are…
So, my name is Clotilde Lataille and I’m the UK brand ambassador for the no/low category at Pernod-Ricard, before that, I got a Masters in fine art. I studied visual arts in France, then Switzerland where I graduated. I moved to London to learn English and then I fell in love with the cocktail industry. I worked with some great teams quite quickly. I worked at Callooh Callay then I moved to Hawksmoor Spitalfield. I then had the opportunity to open an apéritif bar within a restaurant (Sardine) where I specialised in my first love of apéritif. Liam Sparks then asked me to join the ABC team on French Apéritifs.
So how long have you been in the industry?
I always worked in restaurants when I was studying, so I would say I started working in restaurants part-time in 2005. I graduated in 2010, so quite a long time now! I started as a waitress, I didn’t know anything about cocktails or spirits. I didn’t drink much at the time, so it was a whole new world opening to me.
What’s your day to day like? What does your job actually entail?
We are in charge of advocacy mainly, doing a lot of training and events. That’s my main job. Events can be something we created ourselves, like a masterclass, a tasting in office, anything from that. Then we want to support the clients we are working with.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the job?
My favourite part is still creating cocktails. That’s something I love. Something even better is when I started with Lillet I could join two of my passions which is art and cocktails. Even a watercolour masterclass with Lillet, that’s really amazing to be able to do illustrations. I was not doing illustrations before Lillet. I started to do it to promote my professional Instagram (@lesaperitifsdeclo). It really is the best part.
The least favourite part for me is it’s quite a lonely job. I travel a lot which is amazing. When you work behind a bar you really feel part of a family because you spend so much time with your team. When you go to the other side, you have yourself. You’re in a city you don’t know and you have to go to visit bars and introduce yourself. For me, that was very challenging. I’m more the introverty type than the extroverty, so to go to bars and just introduce myself and talk, that was very challenging.
Getting away from work a bit, what do you do on your days off?
Visit an art gallery, at least once a week. I like to go and see exhibitions. Tate Modern I think is the most incredible museum. I go to see a lot of contemporary galleries in Mayfair as well. The Tate is probably the one I visit the most. I do running and climbing. I really into walking and trekking. That’s what I do on holiday most of the time. Getting out, getting a little bit of exercise. Cooking is a big part of a day off and evening. I love baking. My mum was never into baking so I was like, I will do it.
Do you think being a woman has affected your career and if so, was it positive/ negetaive?
I don’t know if it’s luck, it could be a bit of luck, but my mentors in bars have been women. When I started at Callooh Callay Andrea Montague was bar manager there, so she taught me everything. Having a very strong woman already well known in the industry pushed me. If she is doing it, I can do it too. The first cocktail competition I did was St -Germain and I won and the I met Camille Vidal. She really helped to support, she created Les Femmes du Bar, she did it in a few European countries now. It’s a bit similar to what you are doing now. I think for me it really helped.
Today, at the MET New York, 4% of the collection is by women artists. I just keep a bit of the fight I had when I graduated from art school and I was receiving propositions to do exhibitions of women artists. You can’t exhibit me because I’m a woman. I want to exhibit because I’m an artist and you like my work.
If someone wanted to have your job in the future, what advice would you give them?
Be passionate, is probably my advice. If you’re passionate about what you do and want to share it with other people, that’s a great way of doing it.
Do you have any tips for people who have never drunk Apéritifs before?
If you are in a good place I would suggest, trust your bartender. Apéritif wine like Lillet is a good place to start because it’s delicate. Spritz and Negroni are good. Negroni if you already have a palate for bitterness. Spritzes will probably be easier to start with. Apéritif can be anything. For me, it’s a way of life. Something to share with everybody, something to share with friends. Low abv, just take your time, have a bit of food and just share a great moment.
As part of our culture in France, we have lots of great products. That’s what I want to share with everybody.
And finally, what’s your favourite drink?
I have two in mind. 50/50 martini with Lillet and Gin with a lemon twist. And a classic champagne cocktail because it’s Christmas.
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