In cocktail conversation with Fego mixologist Albert Tenkorang
Our Banstead GM and talented bartender talks about the evolution of Fego’s restaurants from daytime dining to evening experiences…
In 2017, we began introducing evening dining into the Fego group, including our eclectic range of showstopping cocktails. Serving a unique mix of old favourites and original drinks, we had to ensure that our front of house and bar teams possessed the talent and flair to match – luckily for us, we found Albert Tenkorang, general manager at our Banstead site, and a talented mixologist himself.
“Fego wanted to adapt from exclusively being a breakfast and lunch brand, to more all-day dining,” he says. “I’d been working with alcohol since the age of 18, and loved the chemistry of mixology, and putting things together to come up with something new. It was an exciting venture to go into evening sites and change the offering, and I wanted to see where we could go with it.”
Indeed, mixology has been a big part of Albert’s life since he worked as a part-time bartender while at university at Oxford Brookes. From there, he’s worked in bars all over the country, from Bristol to Manchester, and journeyed around the world in search of new and exciting flavour combinations.
“I love to travel, and try to pick up something new on every trip, wherever I go,” he explains. “I’ll come back with something scribbled in my notebook, knowing that I’ll use it somewhere down the line. It’s a big passion of mine, so even on holiday, I sit talking to bartenders over the bar about where they get their ideas from. If they make a drink that I really love, I’ll use it for inspiration.”
Today, Albert infuses our cocktail menus with that same thirst for knowledge and creativity. Whether it’s a classic mojito or a special Fego Royal, each concoction at the bar is given its own twist and identity, putting our individual stamp on everything we serve.
“We have a cosmopolitan, but it’s not your regular cosmopolitan,” reveals Albert. “To make it our own way, we use red berry tea instead of cranberry juice, so that it tastes and looks like a cosmopolitan, but has our Fego stamp on it in a way where it’s not the same as you’d see anywhere else.”
With the ‘Maverick’ Pornstar Martini leading the pack in terms of popularity with our guests, Albert is equally at home making the well-known favourites as he is whipping up something more experimental. Banstead and Beaconsfield were the first Fego sites to embrace our evening service, and it’s Albert’s hope that we’ll be able to develop our menus further groupwide over time.
“We knew what we wanted to do because we knew the clientele that we had,” he adds. “70% of our customers are female, so the idea was to construct a drinks menu that suited them. It’s a new avenue that we’ve gone down, and since we started doing cocktails – especially in Banstead – they’ve really taken off.”
Of course, just as important as the drinks themselves is who’s serving them, which is why Albert places a lot of emphasis on the personalities of his team. After all, as he and many others like him know, it’s not just what’s in the glass that makes a great cocktail…
“The personality matters, because you’ve got to be able to engage with your guests,” he confirms. “When I first got into bartending, I learned that every time you walk into that bar, you’re onstage and have to perform. Everybody’s there to see you, so you’ve got to dive in, see what they want, and do what they need you to do. Of course, great-quality drinks are important, but showmanship is also essential.”
On that note, Albert and his team at Banstead – as well as the rest of the Fego group – are continuing to evolve and elevate the standards of cocktail-making at our eight sites. And with new menus on the horizon, there’s all the more reason for our guests to enjoy time at the bar.
“I’m hoping that we’ll continue to spread our love of drinks,” Albert concludes. “We’re busy researching and deciding what goes on our new menu, which will keep the favourites, but also introduce some new options to the list as well. The world has evolved, and there are so many great cocktail bars out there now, so we have to keep up to date with what’s happening globally, to make our offering the very best that it can be.”
Join us for various dates this summer for Cocktail Masterclasses at Beaconsfield & Banstead