Wesley Short, the South African who moved to Sweden for his economics studies at Umeå University and stayed for love. He has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant, bar and service industry with drink and food as his great passion.
"Wesley's passion for discovering new flavours and trying out new combinations is impressive and his knowledge of beverages is hard to surpass" according to Håkan Kjellström, GM of Tekompaniet.
Wesley started working in London when the great cocktail revolution struck. He loved the exciting environment and the availability of fresh ingredients.
"There weren't that many cocktail bartenders back then. We were a small group that created lots of different, good drinks. I've always liked the history of spirits as an ingredient and old cocktail recipes."
When Wesley creates a new cocktail or mocktail, the most important thing for him is to find a balance and decide which of the flavours will stand out.
"When working with tea as an ingredient, it is important to understand how the taste of the tea changes when combined with alcohol"
He starts with an idea that he makes several different versions of. After that, he enlists the help of colleagues for tasting. Wesley never writes down the recipe at first, but experiments until he finds something special.
The next big drinking trend, he thinks, is non-alcoholic alternatives to all drinks. Now there is also non-alcoholic spirits. He believes in more advanced mocktails that deliver as good a taste experience as with alcohol.
In our collaboration, we at Tekompaniet have enlisted the help of Wesley to develop recipes that fit with our news from Dilmah, Dilmah Infusion and Dilmah Elixir.
Wesley believes that Dilmah Infusion's strength is that they contain innovative ingredients that are of high quality. Moringa Chilli Kakao is a favorite, fits perfectly in a classic syrup along with rum.
Wesley finds inspiration through restaurant visits and food magazines. Many ideas for cocktails and mocktails come first from food, then he thinks about which drink might fit. The favorite ingredient is lemongrass. "Only the scent can take me to a tropical paradise."
"I remember the first time I tried Elixir Litchi at home with yogurt, mango and juice. It was magical!!"
He reads a lot about taking advantage of what you find in nature. Every year he picks elderflower made into his own vanilla- and elderflower juice. "Elderflower is Swedish summer." As for teas, Wesley loves Jasmine tea and Rooibos for their fresh and earthy flavours.
"My family drinks an enormous amount of tea at home in South Africa. The difference with Sweden is that they drink tea instead of coffee in the morning and in the evening they drink coffee."
Finally, we asked Wesley for his best tips for the home-bartneder.
Furthermore, he advises to always keep track of the acidity in the drinks and that you should not be afraid to try new flavours. To think sustainably when making drinks. Avoid plastic straws and decorations made of plastic. When pressing lemon, you can tear the shell down into syrup or make your own limoncello.
Wesley believes that in the future we will have more eco-friendly bars that reuse all spillage for new products.