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James McQuade

James is a retired cocktail bartender who has built his career around how to use alcoholic and non-alcoholic product and turn it into an art form. Born in Glasgow in Scotland, James started working as a commis waiter in one of the City’s finest seafood restaurants, the Rogano, where he learned the art of oyster opening before moving on through the different hospitality department areas and eventually settling for the cocktail bar. James was keen to become a member of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild (UKBG), an organisation that specializes in the training of young bartenders throughout Great Britain in the consistency and quality of cocktails. The UKBG is a founder member of the International Bartenders Association (IBA), which was set up in 1951 to standardize the quality of cocktails around the world. It was this membership that introduced James to the President of the Guild who invited him to go and work with him in the famous West End of London. During the time James spent working in London, he became one of the countries most celebrated bartenders, and was a founder member of a national team of professional bartenders who demonstrated their skills at exhibitions all over the country. In 1970, James secured a position to attend the International Bartenders School in Luxembourg, a privilege awarded to only two cocktail bartenders every year from each member IBA country. It was not long before James caught the eye of Mark Birley, who invited him to work in the most exclusive members club in the world, Annabel’s in London, home to Royalty and the rich and famous hiding themselves away from the media. James travelled to Australia in 1985 to assist in the opening of Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast of Queensland; he is the author of three books relating to cocktails, and is in the Guinness Book of Records for making the biggest cocktail in the world. He has travelled extensively teaching the art of making cocktails to many bartenders and hospitality students throughout Asia and Japan, and he now calls Australia home.