2012 Brand Ambassador/Mixologist of the Year: Angus Winchester

This peripatetic Englishman typifies the modern-day barman traits of energy, enthusiasm and hospitality.

Angus Winchester, global brand ambassador for Tanqueray Gin, describes himself as “English at heart,” but a “citizen of the world.”

Indeed, Winchester has developed renown for his well-stamped passport and encyclopedic knowledge of gin and other spirits.

At age 43, he has spent his entire career in the liquor industry, and was one of the first to establish a global consultancy to provide bar-related advice and services—a model that droves of bartenders now eagerly follow.

Some might say that his frequent-flyer destiny was established early on. As the son of a foreign correspondent, his family traveled often.

At 18, Winchester took his first job bartending, in Oxford, England. A stint in London taught him “how to make drinks at high speed,” followed by a turn in New York, where Winchester realized the importance of hospitality at the bar. When these three things came together—“the love of alcohol, speed and hospitality,” his bartending career began to accelerate.

In 2003, Winchester established the consulting firm Alconomics, allowing him to work with many of the best bars and bartenders in the world, including the award-winning Salvatore at Fifty and Trailer Happiness in London, the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

When Diageo, the parent company of Tanqueray, sought Winchester’s help in recruiting an ambassador, he suggested...himself. Nearly five years later, he’s still going strong in the role.

“I see myself as more of an educator than a brand ambassador,” he says.

In this spirit, he’s committed to exploring new ways to educate the growing ranks of Generation Y bartenders. He is creating brief videos for viewing on phone or computer, “any time of day, 365 days a year.”

One of Winchester’s hallmarks, colleagues note, is his seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm for the business. Even when off-duty, he remains immersed and on call.

“I’m interested in every aspect of alcohol,” he says. “If I were a musician, I’d still listen to music and play in my spare time. It’s like that. I love this world, not just alcohol, but the whole thing—bars, restaurants, hospitality. It’s a passion.”

And then, of course, there’s all that travel. Although he regards it as a highlight of his job, the nomadic lifestyle has certain rigors, as his father proved before him.

“I haven’t spent more than seven days in any city for the last 16 months,” Winchester says gleefully. “I’ve divested myself of modern possessions, except my laptop. I live on the road.”

And on that note, he’s off to visit bartenders in City No. 6 of a 10-city tour for Tanqueray. Just another day at the office for a citizen of the world.

His tireless enthusiasm for the bartending industry and forward-looking vision is why Wine Enthusiast names him our 2012 Brand Ambassador/Mixologist of the Year.

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