James D’Arcy, Beverage Director and Head Bartender at the Pelican Hill Resort is just your average, sophisticated, charming Brit with a smile to melt an iceberg and blue eyes to hypnotize you; but while it might sound as if we have just written his Match.com profile (sorry ladies, he’s married), frankly considering the winos we are, we were much more enchanted by the cocktails he was crafting for the Bar at Andrea.
D’Arcy is what we like to call our favorite person at Pelican Hill Resort. Not to disavow the hundreds of fabulous staff that thoughtfully put each guest on a pedestal here, but let’s face it folks, D’Arcy is in charge of creating EVERY cocktail and beverage at the Pelican Hill Resort (including those delicious drinks by the pool), that his ranking by WTT gets the gold star, medal of freedom, purple heart, nobel peace prize, Grammy award, the Oscar, and whichever honor we can bestow upon his greatness.
His fine attention to detail is what makes his cocktails taste like they came straight from a Mad Men episode – smooth, classic, and “damn, that’s good.” He definitely knows his liquor as his drink dialogue speaks like poetry and thus his cocktails taste like a romantic poem from that lover that’s too-cool-for-technology-and-still-owns-a-flip-phone-so-he-can’t-text-you, but-you-don’t-care-because-why-can’t-all-guys-write-love-letters-and-you-were-going-to-dump-him-anyways-for-his-Stage-5-clinginess-and-his-inability-to-Face-Time, but-realize-he’s-definitely-a-keeper-because-most-guys-don’t-even-text-you-back-even-though-you-know-they-read-your-text. And so we drink…
We sat down with this Liquid Poet to ask our signature, quirky 28 Questions to get to know the man responsible for our long-lasting and so appreciated happy hour buzz:
- Hometown: Bisley (a village in Gloucestershire, England)
- What was your first bartending job? University Theater
- First cocktail you learned to make? Old Fashioned
- What do you love most about being a bartender? I love the hosting aspect of the job and bringing an experience to guests. I also like that it allows me to continue to be creative.
- How do you feel about the term mixologist? I prefer the term bartender. It’s what we are, and the term’s history is the essence of why we do what we do. I believe the hospitality aspect of bartending is lost when we identify as mixologist.
- Favorite Vacation spot? Maui
- What’s your favorite thing on the menu at Andrea? Their pizza is wonderful and is the closest thing I have found in the states that represents pizza from Italy.
- Best advice you’ve ever received? “Always strive to do your job better. Be the best host, provide the best service, and be fast.”
- TV show you are currently hooked on? Homeland
- Favorite Emoji? Smiley face
- App you can’t live without? Google Chrome
- Drink of choice? High Ball, Whiskey
- Surprising thing we’d find in your fridge? Lemon-flavored fish oil
- Unique cocktail ingredient you are into right now? Byrrh
- Cocktail you would never drink? Long Island Iced Tea
- Favorite Midnight snack? PBJ toast
- Beer, wine or spirit? Wine right now
- Your Best Cure for a Hangover: Time and Water
- Famous Person Dead or Alive you’d love to make a drink for: Benedict Cumberbatch whom I actually did make a Fish House Punch for.
- Favorite Famous person that you’ve actually made a drink for: Liam Neeson, but it was just a bottle of sparkling water
- #1 Mistake people make when crafting a cocktail: Not measuring ingredients properly
- Name three words to describe your ideal bar: engaging, relaxing, good design (that’s four words!)
- Favorite Dive Bar: A pub in my parents’ village, very local, lots of good ale.
- Have you ever been tipped with something other than cash? Yes, a Vesta case to hold matches from the Victorian period
- What’s your favorite fall cocktail ingredient: Pumpkin & Roasted Pineapple (I had it in a tequila cocktail and it was surprisingly good). Here, at this bar we’re into using Hibiscus leaves.
- Next big trend in cocktails: Cognac and Brandy, Negroni, Old Fashioned, Manhattans. going back to classics.
- Biggest Pet Peeve at the Bar: Not cleaning up, jiggers and shakers at the bottom of the sink
- If someone were to make a movie about your life, which actor would you want to play you? Daniel Day Lewis
The Pelican Hill Resort is located at 22701 Pelican Hill South, Newport Coast, CA 92657 (888)507-6427 and you can find Mr. D’arcy making amazing cocktails at Bar at Andrea located adjacent to the restaurant.