When science meets the senses – How bartender Leighton Rathbone adds magic to every drink

Photo Leighton Rathbone. (Photo: Supplied)
Photo Leighton Rathbone. (Photo: Supplied)

PROFILE: Leighton Rathbone

Leighton Rathbone was bartending in Durban before moving to Cape Town and establishing himself as the go-to cocktail guy at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium.

"I didn't know it at the time, but it was an institution in the South African cocktail scene, and through this opportunity, some legends gave me a tertiary education in bartending and mixology," Rathbone said in a statement to the media.

He recently teamed up with Sweet-Orr's #LoveWhatYouDo campaign to celebrate his passion for the fine art of mixology.

The job of a mixologist is to elevate traditional cocktails while conceptualising new and innovative creations. They push the boundaries of taste and presentation and stay one step ahead of trends.

Rathbone's creations play with complex flavours, exciting combinations, and impeccable presentations. He aims to blow the minds of his guests with visually spectacular and delicious cocktails.

Leighton Rathbone
A magical creation by Leighton Rathbone. (Photo: Supplied)
Leighton Rathbone
One of Leighton Rathbone's flaming hot creations.

"Science and creativity aside, I love being the perfect host and giving my guests the best experience. That's really what gives me job satisfaction," Rathbone said.

He added: "I think being ADD, my idea grows from wherever the seed is planted. Sometimes, there's a service that I want to make a reality, and then I have to develop a drink that fits the theme. Other times, I need to use a particular spirit, build a drink, and serve around that."

According to Rathbone, he is inspired by everything from music to pop culture and keeps an eye on global gastronomy trends.


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