Meet Maurice Lawrence, Middle Eight’s newly appointed Head Mixologist. Formerly of Sketch and No Fifty Cheyne, Maurice has been working in London bars for over a decade, honing his craft and putting his stamp on old classics. Following the launch of his new menu, ‘A Sip of Theatre’, we chatted to Maurice about his career, his ‘less is more approach’ when it comes to creating cocktails, and his favourite London bars. 
Tell us about yourself? How did you get into mixology?
When I came here in 2003 from Jamaica, I decided I wanted to work straight away. My first job was at Sketch as a waiter, but I quickly noticed that all the people having fun working behind the bar, it looked cool, and I wanted to do the same thing. A month later, Andreas Tanos gave me a chance behind the bar as a glass washer. During my shifts, he’d explain the classics and which glasses to use for each cocktail. At the next event, I was shown how to make two cocktails; however, a guest asked me for something original and I didn’t want to disappoint him. I used all my training and made something I thought he’d like, he loved it and said I was the best bartender at Sketch! I’ve never looked back since.
What’s your favourite thing about the bar at Middle Eight? 
As well as the design being aesthetically pleasing, I love the fact that the bar is directly in front of large windows, it feels big and connected to the street and the people passing by.
The new Sip of Theatre cocktail menu looks delicious – what’s the inspiration behind the menu? 
It’s all about playing with flavours and taking something old and classic but delivering it in a new way. I want people to taste something familiar but original, provoking their taste buds with every sip and creating memories.
Describe the new menu in three words: 
Thought-provoking flavours.
What’s your favourite classic cocktail? 
A margarita.
If you’re hosting a dinner party and you have a few guests round and want to impress – what cocktail would you make? 
I would make my new cocktail Tropic Tommy – my take on the classic margarita inspired by his mother’s chicken with lemon, thyme and habanero pepper
Apart from the bar at Middle Eight, what are some of your favourite bars in London? 
My favourite bars in London are Nightjar, Cahoots and China Tang London.
Middle Eight, 66 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5BX