Home' Hospitality Business : HB APL 2016 Contents Hospitality BUSINESS | April 2016 | 55
In November last year, Auckland bartender Cameron Attfield took
out the title of NZ Champion at the Angostura Global Cocktail
Challenge. He battled it out against eight finalists at 1885 Bar in
Britomart, Auckland taking home the prize purse of $2,500 and
a trip to Trinidad & Tobago to compete in the world final for the
first prize of US $10,000 and a 2 year-long contract as the global
Angostura brand ambassador.
The British-born Gin Room bartender had to create two
cocktails in seven minutes, a freestyle cocktail and a rum cocktail
both including Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Cameron was the
overall winner and took out the best freestyle cocktail. At the
time he said, “I’m really excited to head to Trinidad & Tobago
next year to compete against some of the best bartenders in the
world! I love what I do and I am so stoked to compete on the world
stage”. He unfortunately didn’t place but bought home lots of key
learnings from his trip away.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO?
Pretty simple, I make great drinks for great people. I hate the
term mixologist etc. “I’m in hospitality” is what I usually say
when people ask.
WHAT BOUGHT YOU TO NEW ZEALAND?
I had a really exciting career prospect. I had the opportunity to
take over a small, quiet bar and become a co-owner and really get
my name and the bar on the map. Since coming over here it’s just
been getting better and better and the bar, The Gin Room is really
becoming a popular destination spot.
YOU CAME TO US VIA AUSTRALIA, WHEREAS MOST PEOPLE
USUALLY GO THE OTHER WAY – DO YOU MISS THE BAR
I do and I don’t. I do because there is so much choice and great
things happening, but I love the excitement of an industry which
is a little behind so new trends can be set as opposed with going
along with the mass market.
YOU’VE JUST COME BACK FROM TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FOR
THE ANGOSTURA GLOBAL COCKTAIL CHALLENGE, WAS THAT
A BIT OF A CULTURE SHOCK?
Truly! However it was fully embraced, we went for carnival time
which was just amazing, never have I met so many friendly
welcoming people all in one place.
WAS THE COMPETITION FIERCE?
The competition was the toughest yet, the talent was the
strongest it’s been so far but we were all friends so it wasn’t
intimidating at all.
WHAT DID YOU CREATE FOR THE ANGOSTURA GLOBAL
I created two cocktails - one rum based and one gin based. My
gin cocktail was named the Mid-Summer Negroni’ - a twist on a
classic negroni made more approachable by using apricot liqueur
and a stone fruit based fortified wine. The rum cocktail was called
Roots of Trinidad - complex and herbaceous with lots of bitters,
maple syrup and ginger notes. Really coats the mouth and leaves
you wanting more.
ARE YOU TEMPTED TO GIVE IT ANOTHER GO?
Yeah for sure, if not to compete then I would like to go there as an
ambassador to really experience the culture. It was literally the best
week of my life and I cannot wait to go back... if they will have me!
WHAT ARE YOUR IMMEDIATE PLANS NOW YOU’RE BACK?
Right now I am opening a new venue, which is on Vulcan Lane in
the old Queen’s Ferry hotel. It’s a food and wine matching bar, we
are looking at serving 10 courses, each with a wine to match. A
mid to high end bistro with a great wine list which really aims to
complement and accentuate the flavours of the dish.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO TO DRINK WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON
Right now there are a couple of places I tend to go. One is Bedford
& Soda in Ponsonby, to see my friend Phil Spector. Another place
is Rich Heart, which is owned and run by Sai (an ex-Your Shout
subject and global spirit ambassador). These places are the only
places I would trust to make me a decent cocktail... Otherwise I
tend to head to Vultures Lane for their extensive 96 craft beers!
ANY NEW DRINKING DISCOVERIES?
Not as in places but I’m doing a lot of work now with kombucha
and shrubs for a new venue and potentially a special menu.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANYONE WANTING TO GO
INTO THE JOB YOU’RE IN?
Never stop learning. Never ever think you know everything, that
makes you complacent and unnecessarily arrogant. Enjoy what
you do and maintain that passion, there will always be off days but
if your heart’s not into it - don’t do it. Too many service industry
people don’t actually care about the job, which really puts the
hospitality industry down. n
Your Shout •
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