Coffee with Max Venning

In June's edition of Coffee with we had the pleasure of catching up with Max Venning of Three Sheets, Little Mercies and Top Cuvee. ⁠


Max’s is an iconic figure in the drinks industry. He is the co-owner of Bar Three and Three Sheets. His accomplishments include Bartender of the year finalist, CLASS awards 2019, No.29 in The World’s 50 Best Bars, 2019. He has also published a stunning book ‘Batched & Bottled’ grab yourself a copy from amazon you won’t be disappointed.⁠

 

JB: Hi mate. Good to hear from you again!


MV: Hi mate. It’s been a while. Hope you’re good, I've been loving the videos from around the farm!


JB: You too! So you’re here to talk about the Café Français - Why don’t you give our readers a quick rundown of what that entails?


MV: The Café Français is a Gallic twist on the Irish Coffee. We fat-wash Seven Tails brandy with Glastonbury salted butter, then we add a salted coffee liqueur, a lick of sugar, Kuka Coffee cold brew, and three shots of boiling water. To finish, it’s topped up with madeleine-infused whipped cream.

 

JB: Sounds incredible. So how did you get into the bar industry in the first place?

MV: I’ve worked in pubs since I was 16 or 17 - I carried on all the way through university. When I finished in 2010, there weren’t many jobs going after the financial crash. The industry was at the start of the boom and it seemed like a good idea to get back into it. 


JB: You ended up writing a book. What inspired you to write it and build a bar and menu around the batched cocktail approach?


MV: It was born out of practicality. It makes sense on many levels - space-saving, faster service, and more consistent results. It also gives you the chance to vary your serves - for instance, you could have a carbonated bottled cocktail on the same menu as a shaken sour. It keeps things exciting, and the guests engaged.



JB: A book, a track and film recommendation for the lockdown?


MV: The book I would recommend is Timbuktu by Paul Auster. It’s a great view on the world from a dog’s perspective. 

 

Music-wise, it has to be Four Tet - Sixteen Oceans. I like the whole album, it’s good for any situation.

 

A film I really enjoyed recently was Uncut Gems. If you’re missing the stresses of life, this film really puts you under the cosh.


JB: Your menu is pretty highly regarded. Where do you look for creative inspiration?


MV: People are the greatest source of information. You learn more from a 10 minute conversation than you will from anything else.


JB: The Venning brothers are big industry names, what's your tip for working with family and making a success of it?


MV: I don’t think I can offer any advice on it to be honest. I didn’t plan it and it just sort of happened. But whoever you are in business with, if you keep your side of the work and remain calm and understanding you’ll be all reet. Always remember it’s just a job, and family and friends are more important. 


JB: I hear you. So what's next for Max?


MV: Right now it’s building planters for the missus. When the restaurant returns I'm going to open a brick and mortar shop - Cuvee. It’s a Disco Cornershop.

 

JB: Sounds ace. Thanks a lot for stopping by to chat with us, see you there!


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