Travel and Leisure has named him one of the world\’s greatest bartenders, and that\’s only one win in the swag of awards Grant Collins has under his belt. Since transforming the Sydney bar scene by flying into the country, and the Bar Manger position at Woolloomooloo’s Water Bar, the native Brit has been doing what he knows best: mixing things up a bit.
We caught up with Grant while he worked his magic creating prohibition themed cocktails at the launch of The Hilton Zeta Bar\’s new Extreme Cabaret Friday nights. Even amongst the stilt walkers, mimes, cabaret dancers, and pint sized Baby Gaga\’s dancing on the bar his absinthe and liquid nitrogen masterpieces were the centre of attention.
Snake blood Bloody Mary\’s, cruising to work on a jet ski, and teaching Billionaires a thing or two about drinking. It\’s all in a day\’s work for one of Sydney\’s premiere Mixologists. He dishes on it all below:
Paige: Grant, tell us what makes a great cocktail?
Grant: Balance! A great cocktail should never be too strong, too weak, too sour or two sweet. Always use the freshest and highest quality ingredients possible-as per cooking
Paige: Your cocktails have some pretty interesting ingredients â€“ e.g. mouthwash in your breakfast mojito!Â How do you come up with a new cocktail idea?
Grant: The creative process never stops to be honest, but these days I gain more inspiration from chefs than anybody else and I also eat out as much as possible and read as many pastry books as I can.
Paige: You\’ve worked creating cocktails all over the world. What is the weirdest concoction you\’ve ever seen?
Grant: I did a snake blood Bloody Mary in Thailand once…It is meant to be good for the libido!
Paige: What’s been the most amazing place you’ve worked?
Grant: I have been so fortunate to work in so many [places] it\’s really hard to pick. Working on The World (cruise liner) and giving presentations was a real experience: presenting to 14 Billionaires while at sea. I would say Tokyo, NYC or Mumbai for great big cities to work in and for a tropical experience opening Karma Samui (Koh Samui) and jet skiing to the resort from my villa each morning is pretty hard to beat. Although opening the Nammos Beach Club (Denpasar) with the crew from Entourage would come close!
Paige: Do you have one signature ingredient?
Grant: Yes, attention to detail with a double shot of passion.
Paige: If we are going to try and make our own cocktails at home what are the key things we need to have?
Grant: A good quality Vodka or Gin is always good. Belvedere Vodka or Plymouth Gin as well as a two piece shaker, a Martini glass or three, and some basic juices and fruit and you\’re away! There are so many simple recipes online these days it\’s getting so much easier to create quality drinks at home. Also keep it simple and use the freshest ingredients possible.
Paige: What is Grant Collin\’s cocktail of choice?
Grant: A well made Buffalo Trace Manhattan or an exceptionally dry Vodka martini
Paige: Sassi is a fun, flirty modern day woman. If you were creating a cocktail for her what would be in it?
Grant: Maybe a Flirtini a mix of Belvedere Vodka, Cointreau and fresh pineapple juice-topped with Champagne!
Yum! We know the place to be seen this Friday night!
Extreme Cabaret Friday Nights will be held at Zeta Bar, the Sydney Hilton Hotel every Friday night. Expect quirky prohibition themed cocktails, burlesque style entertainment, and a dirty underground themed atmosphere.
Zeta Bar: Level 4 The Hilton Hotel, 488 George St, Sydney
Plus check out our event coverge of the opening night party here.