Dimitri Lezinska has worked in some of UK’s most iconic bars, created cocktails for glitzy red carpet events such as Cannes Film Festival, the BAFTA awards, and the Oscars, and served a host of celebrities, including Brad Pitt, Madonna, Robert De Niro and David Beckham.
The Frenchman, who has been living in London for 11 years now, is acknowledged as one of England’s most celebrated mixologists, but Lezinska, who was in town recently, is quick to brush aside any monikers.
“When you call yourself a mixologist, you’ve to have a point to prove. You become an actor. I just make cocktails,” he says. “Making cocktails becomes a language. My way of expressing myself is through my cocktails, just like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver do it through their food.”
Like the two chefs, he has co-hosted the popular television show Cocktail Kings with Colin Asare-Appiah. “We’d go to new places in the US and Europe, meet new people, see new things, and then try to create cocktails that best reflected that city,” he says. As brand ambassador for Grey Goose vodka, Lezinska helped Delhi bartenders hone their craft while he was here. “Making a cocktail is a balanced and thoughtful process, so you need to understand how different flavours come together,” he says.
He suggests using local, fresh ingredients and to “get inspired by the wonderful Indian dishes”. “If people come from the UK [to India], the last thing they want is a gin drink. And at the end of the day, the quality of your cocktail will be as good as the quality of your cheapest ingredient,” he says.