You were seated next to the Countess of Dartmore, later known as Lady Di’s stepmother.
She was so stiff, schooled always to be polite. “What do you think of the weather?” she asked. “Man, it’s shit,” I replied. “It’s the middle of summer, and there’s fog outside all the time.” She looked like someone who lived in a hair salon. Her hair was sticky with hairspray. Every time they served a new course, she would check her reflection in a spoon to make sure every strand was in place. I prayed to God that the meal would be over soon.
Tennant showed you the world. What were you able to teach him?
He hated bookkeeping. We opened the bar jointly, and he said at the time, “Basil, this bar will never make any money.” I proved him wrong. From day one, we were making a profit. I kept track of how much we sold every night, how much inventory we had, how much cash was lying around behind the counter. I had a safe installed behind the counter under the floor. I was the only one who knew the combination.
How did you hone your craft?
I bought the books written by the best bartenders and learned how to mix cocktails. And over the years I have created my own drinks. For example, the “Hurricane David”, which is still served today. The drink commemorates a storm that hit Mustique in 1979. It didn’t hit us full force, but it scared us pretty good. One ounce of dark rum, one of light rum, an ounce and a half of vodka, a shot of crème de cacao, lots of ice, some lime juice on top. A whirlwind of a drink named after a tropical storm.