#rumfamily : Favourite Bartenders-Bill Scott
Continuing the international theme for part 6 we travel to New Zealand to get an insight from Bill Scott. Although we have not enjoyed cocktails in New Zealand with Bill (yet!), luckily for us he occasionally visits the UK to see friends and family. It is good to have a quality bartender as a friend!
How long have you been bartending?
About 8 years. My first ever taste of bartending came back in 2011, quite by chance. I was living in Sydney at the time on a ‘Working Holiday Visa’ but couldn’t find work. This resulted in me applying for a job in a really remote area of the Northern Territory called Tennant Creek (on the Stuart Highway between Alice Springs and Darwin) in a typical Aussie remote pub called The Tennant Creek Hotel.
What made you decide you wanted to work behind a bar?
I suppose the answer to the last question leads in to this one. From Tennant Creek I moved on to another remote job in Halls Creek, Western Australia. From there I moved to Broome where I met two lifelong friends, Matt Black and Braden Gale. They took me under their wings and showed me the ropes in hospitality. We then all moved to Melbourne, lived and worked together before they vouched for me to get a bar job up in Cairns. It wasn’t until I found myself in Auckland, New Zealand in 2013 that I realised that it was about time to take this gig seriously instead of just being a job whilst I travelled.
Where do you find your inspiration for new cocktails?
I’m sure a really common answer to this question is inspiration is everywhere, but it’s true, it really is. If you are in the mood to be inspired you will find it anywhere. I was in a competition a few years back and the particular round at the time asked you to draw inspiration from literature. I was struggling to come up with ideas, I had no books on my shelf as I had been travelling for the last few years, but there was one, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which someone had bought for me as a gift. From there I designed a 5 strong gin based cocktail menu comprising of ‘Apple Monday’, ‘Pear Tuesday’, ‘Plum Wednesday’, ‘Strawberry Thursday’, ‘Orange Friday’. Of course the menu was titled ‘The Very Thirsty Caterpillar’.
What’s your go to ingredient?
Coriander. That’s said a bit tongue in cheek because I’ve only come up with a few coriander cocktails but for some reason I’ve been labeled as the guy who loves coriander. I think it’s delicious and doesn’t taste like soap at all, haha…
What’s your proudest accomplishment so far?
Last year I was nominated for the Auckland bartender of the year award at the Lewisham Awards. It’s voted for by people in the industry and it came completely out of the blue, I didn’t win, but just to be recognised by my peers was fantastic.
Define the perfect cocktail?
Perfect: Balance – Dilution – Temperature and Tasty AF
What is your go to drink on a night out?
I’m a beer drinker when I’m out but if that is paired with a great rum, whiskey or tequila I’m even happier. Or a banging Gibson. Ohhooo or a Red Hook. I feel like Pandora’s Box has just been opened so I’m gonna stop talking now.
What’s your favourite thing about working behind a bar?
It’s got to be seeing happy guests and knowing you’ve had a part to play in making their night enjoyable. Whether it is suggesting the perfect wine that they are looking for, making a cocktail that they are enjoying or just chatting away with them. A while back an old boss of mine told me “We are in the business of making people feel good” that sentence has always stayed with me.
What’s your least favourite thing about working behind a bar?
A bar fly. Just one of those little buggers in my bar will piss me off!
What is your favourite drink to make?
The one that is perfect for the guest. It’s such a cliché answer I know, but to talk to someone, find out what they like in a drink, make suggestions and then execute it, is great. Having said that… A Daiquiri, always a Daiquiri.
Where can we find you to enjoy your cocktails?
I’m currently at the Longroom in Auckland.