Brian Smith is no stranger to the world of events, or fabulous bars! Not only is he the brains behind both the Blind Pig and Ce Soir, his company Alfresco Events & Bars is responsible for supplying the bars at many outdoor and corporate events here in Jersey.  

This year sees him and another familiar face, Brett Wheeler (that’s him in the photo frame, kicking back in South Africa), join together to make them a force to be reckoned with.  If you’re responsible for organising your works social functions, or looking for something a little different to add to your next dinner party then look no further.  Alfresco Events & Bars will be able to help you bring the fun and atmosphere of your favourite bar, to just about anywhere, all without you having to lift a finger!

We spoke to them both about what’s coming up in 2016.

For those who may not know, explain to us about Alfresco Events & Bars:

We specialise in temporary and event cocktail / public bars. Some of the more recent places you may have seen us include; The Big Gig, The NatWest Island Games, Reasons Festival, The Barclays Jersey Boat Show, Havre des Pas Seaside Festival, the Christmas Markets and many others.  We have a variety of different decked out bar units which will work with a   sny theme or marquee based event, charity events and so on. Whether it’s a corporate, licensed public event, private, wedding or product launch we can cover it.

Our outdoor trailer unit is designed and fitted with a DJ box, fully functional stainless steel front and back bar, which means it complies to hygiene regulations and it even has an on board hot and cold water boiler system, keeping us on top of our 5 Star rating, it’s pretty much the Rolls Royce of units.

We also provide team building cocktail events, where we’re happy to come to your office and teach you how to make your favourite drink and we’re about to launch a new molecular themed service, bringing a bit of science to your cocktails, which we can bring to your house or works event, look out for this over the summer period.

Obviously we’re all gearing up for the long awaited summer season to start, but does alfresco mean that you’re only available for outdoor events:

On the contrary, we are geared up for any event, indoor or outdoor. In the winter months we provide large corporations with bespoke in house client champagne / cocktail parties, and also bring the party to your house, providing DJs, food caterers and event themes, if you’ve got an idea we can help you make it happen.

The big news is obviously the two of you joining forces, tell us about that:

Over the years, Brett was always my right hand man heading up some of the biggest events in Jersey, he would just get on with the job and understand the importance of doing it right. Sometimes we would have to work overnight to see an event through, no questions asked. Brett was always keen to become a business partner and I felt the time was right for him to step up and he accepted my proposal, which is amazing news.  Adding his skills to mine means we’re really strengthening our offering for our customers.

So Brett, whilst you’re a familiar face to most customers what in particular will you be focusing on with the Alfresco business:

My main aim is to focus on building more business throughout the year along with trying to bring a few new ideas to the party. Alfresco Events, is the largest provider of outdoor bars, and trying to inform our customers we can supply a fully functional bar, whatever the occasion, and they no longer need to put up with part time caterers, who come along with makeshift tables tops that blow away when the wind gets up. We can basically bring the whole bar experience to wherever you are!

Brett you’re currently back in South Africa, we’re not jealous honestly, but other than a holiday, what are you doing:

Getting sunburnt at the moment! But asides from sunbathing and relaxing I’m also doing a bit of research about molecular mixology with a few people who are already using this method at events and trying to get a few more ideas to bring back to jersey, it’s going to add a whole new dimension to the cocktail experience.

Tell us more about molecular cocktails, is this something we can expect to see here in Jersey:

Molecular mixology has actually been around for a while, but it’s just never made it across the water to Jersey, until now. It’s not actually something that you’ll see in bars, but for one off events, weddings and corporate events it’s ideal.  I can’t wait to get back to the island and start experimenting and getting us ready to launch this sometime in the summer. Without boring people with the science bit, I’ll give you a quick example. Spherification is just one of the techniques applied to molecular mixology. It’s the culinary process of shaping a liquid into spheres. They can be small like caviar or larger like an egg yolk. These methods enable the creation of greater intensities and varieties of flavour, different flavour combinations and different ways of presenting drinks, for example using gels, powders, foams, atomised sprays etc. as well as affecting the appearance of the cocktail it totally changes up your whole experience.  Think Heston Blumenthal if you want to get an idea of just how crazy this can get.

Are there any big events we can expect to see you guys at over the coming year:

We loyally work closely with the Big Gig in the Park, and never miss The Barclays Jersey Boat Show, and you will see us at most locally run public events, such as Pride day, Havre des Pas seaside festival, Dragon boat race and Airshow. There are a few more chunky events we have pitched for, and hopefully will secure, so watch this space.

Do you have a favourite cocktail,

if so what is it and why:

Brett…Old fashioned.  Not only is it one of the oldest cocktails it’s still one of the most popular cocktails around, it’s hard to beat!

Brian….I vary from season to season, but have to agree with Brett, it’s also the Old Fashioned for me! It is a classic cocktail, derived predominantly from the prohibition era, harsh bootleg whiskey needed a helping hand by the bartender to be more palatable. Nowadays the techniques are just as amazing, with Bourbons, whiskeys and rum being used as the base. Think velvet-smooth textures, smoky notes, straight-balanced, sweetened and chilled, once you get into this drink you become a connoisseur on every new venue you visit, you just can’t help it.

If we want to hire you for an event, what do we need to do:

You can contact both Brett & I direct on 610422 or 07797790005 / brian@cesoirjersey.com also go via www.cesoirjersey.com  of find us on facebook; alfrescoevents. And if you want to sample some of our Cocktail delights before your event, obviously just for quality control purposes, then please just ask.