ou might know of Kurtis as the young gun behind the drinks across the Public House Management group in Sydney. Living on the Northern Beaches, you’ll often find him paddling out to catch a wave, to get away from it all and just chill. But when he works, he works hard, and he’s definitely a bartender on the rise, taking out Beam Suntory’s The Perfect Blend in 2018.
CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING IT INTO THE 2018 T25. CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN BARTENDING? I was working in bars while studying architecture at Sydney University, but didn’t take it too seriously until I had finished my degree. Once I’d finished, I redirected my creative thought towards drink creation and liquid form, going full steam ahead in the hospitality industry, and I haven’t looked back! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT AUCHENTOSHAN AND THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR COCKTAIL? Auchentoshan has a sweet, delicate flavour profile, highlighted through its rich vanilla and fruit notes. It’s a true expression of a single malt whisky, distilled west of Scotland. The name translates to the corner of the field and can be described as a breakfast whisky. Matured in first-fill American bourbon casks, the process is what gives the liquid its golden hue and rich flavour. The drink is inspired by cool winter mornings in Sydney, where lemon and honey tea, ginger and whisky, all play a big part in fighting the cold during flu season. The flavour profile somewhat encompasses all of these elements, but in a thoughtful, fun way, and creates a drink that’s complex, intricate and very quaffable. AS A YOUNG GUN MAKING HEADWAY IN THE INDUSTRY, WHAT ARE SOME OF THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED LEAD TO YOUR SUCCESS? As a young bartender, I was told by one of my mentors that “as much as you think you know, you know nothing.” This stuck with me to the point that I became obsessed with the idea that I wanted the feeling of constant and never ending improvement. Our industry is moving so quickly that if you don’t dedicate a big part of your life to it, it’s going to leave you behind.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENTS BEHIND THE BAR? I think this story was published late last year, but for those who didn’t see the article, it involves hazing one of our young bar backs and his revenge, in which I essentially shattered a good portion of our back bar glassware. Having not picked up on his prank until a month or so later, he well and truly won that battle. IF YOU HAD A TIME MACHINE, WHICH COCKTAIL ERA WOULD YOU GO TO AND WHO WOULD YOU HAVE A DRINK WITH? There’s something that excites me about the thought of drinking in a little jazz speakeasy in the 1920s during Prohibition, with one of the greatest artists of all time, Pablo Picasso. Sharing a drink and getting a glimpse into the great man’s creative mind would be priceless. YOU’RE KNOWN FOR YOUR 45K-STRONG INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING. WHAT IMPACT HAS HAVING THE ACCOUNT HAD ON YOUR CAREER AND WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST MESSAGE OR COMMENT YOU’VE RECEIVED? It has definitely afforded me some incredible opportunities, but I have always maintained that I want my work behind the bar and in-venue to be a true reflection of me within the industry and as a bartender. As for some of the things people write to me, let’s just say, I get some pretty entertaining/worrying/ funny and straight-up hilarious messages each day. Keep them coming!