Words by Karen Fick
Originally from: Martock, Somerset
Profession: Bartender and Brand Ambassador
Dee Davies is the creator and Brand Ambassador of Jinzu, a British Gin with a Japanese twist, which made her winner of the 2013 Diageo Show Your Spirit competition. Dee’s idea for the gin developed out of a passion for Japan which she discovered when she visited the country with her parents at the age of 16, and was finally able to explore when she beat hundreds of other competitors to be invited to spend a week at Diageo’s innovation centre to develop Jinzu.
Dee first got behind the stick when she was 18, and knew straightaway that she had a passion for bartending. After university she worked in a series of Winchester bars, learning her trade and working her way up the ladder, which eventually took her to her current role at The Red Light in Bristol. She loves the set up here, working with a bar team that are really excited about their craft and customers that are good fun. Working with people means that every day is different - Dee believes in being nice to everybody for the simple reason that there is no reason not to be.
As well as being at the Red Light, Dee continues to work on Jinzu, which was launched by Diageo in 2014. The gin takes its name from the Japanese river which flows through the city of Toyama where a thousand cherry trees line the river’s banks. It is a blend of classic and Japanese botanicals with the addition of sake. Dee says that even if the process with Jinzu stops now, working on it has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and the experience of working alongside the Diageo experts invaluable.
Looking ahead, Dee would like to open her own bar but acknowledges that the best bars are run by people who have had lots of different experiences so she first intends to notch up the hours in a few more places.
Her advice to aspiring bartenders is to work hard, learn everything you can about the craft and keep trying until you get where you want to be. "And don’t forget to play hard too because that’s when you meet the most exciting people and find the best contacts".