Q&A WITH CUCINA ON HAY MIXOLOGIST, ARTHUR TAVARES
MIXOLOGIST ARTHUR TAVARES TALKS THROUGH THE CUCINA ON HAY COCKTAIL EXPERIENCE AND THE BEAUTY OF ITALIAN AND AUSTRALIAN COCKTAILS COMING TOGETHER.
What's your favourite part about being a bartender?
I love being able to interact with guests and offer them a great experience. Whether it is helping them to choose which drink they would enjoy the most, or creating something special just for them.
I loving sharing my knowledge, and if a guest really enjoyed a cocktail, I usually write down the recipe so they can recreate it themselves at home.
How did you develop the cocktail list at Cucina on Hay?
Sadie (Restaurant & Bars Manager) and I first short-listed our favourite famous Italian cocktails as well as some Australian favourites. I then worked through the recipes to add my own twists on those classics, sometimes mixing Italian recipes with Australian touches. As an example, our Cucina signature Negroni has a dash of Australian fortified wine which gives it a distinct depth of flavour.
Which Cucina cocktail are you most excited about and why?
I’m really excited about the “Vitamin C Kick”, which is another one of our signature cocktails. I use freshly squeezed orange juice, as well as rum, Limoncello and Aperol… it’s a vibrant flavour combination, but it’s the use of fresh citrus that really makes this cocktail shine.
How did you get to where you are today? What is your bartending background?
Eight years ago I started a bartending course as a hobby, however I was only 17 years old I couldn’t work in a bar.
I went on to complete a Flair course to focus on the art of juggling and flipping bottles (yes, Tom Cruise in the film ‘Cocktail’ may have been an inspiration!), and a few months later when I turned 18, I did another a proper bartending course.
I loved the experience of working in hospitality so much that I decided to do a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, and as a result I started studying not only cocktail creation, but also beers, wines and other drinks and delved deeper into how these drinks work together with food.
Every day I learn something new from my guests, such as how to make a traditional drink from their home country, or curiosity about a new brand. There is always something new to learn.
What is your favourite drink to make at home?
I love to make “Caipirinhas”. As a Brazilian I’m very proud of our national cocktail and love drinking it. I`m sure that`s how Italians feel when they are drinking Negronis, Americanos and Amaros.
I am also fourth-generation Italian and love to make Negronis!
What tools are most important to you in your daily work?
A shaker and a bar blade… I really enjoy opening beer bottles with different techniques.