12 Questions with Emporium's Cocktail Bar Manager Zac Hay

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The talent behind this creative line up of indulgent drinks is Zac Hay, Emporium Hotels' Cocktail Bar Manager.

We sat down with him to talk about the inspiration behind the new menu and why he doesn't consider himself a mixologist.

How did your journey begin in bartending?

ZH: I started as a Bartender back in 2000 at The Grand in Wellington, the rest is history, oh and a lot of masterclasses and writing tasting notes.

Mad Tea

Would you consider yourself a mixologist?

ZH: No, I create drinks to match to people, or times and places to transport minds

Where did you find your inspiration for the new Winter Wonderland Cocktail Menu?

ZH: The Winter Wonderland Menu is inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland. This book is so imaginative and at the time of writing challenged the audience to follow a creative story which to most people would seem absurd, yet upon reading seems very cohesive. The story itself invokes thought and conversation and the drinks create an equal sense of adventure, interpreting the literary work in terms of theme, garnish and Cocktail names. Each section of the Cocktail Menu is inspired by a chapter in the book - some that reference back directly to the title and others the subject within. Losing yourself in this libatious Winter Wonderland is half the fun!

The Cheshire Cat

What drew you to the theme?

ZH: With such an eclectic mix of cocktails I needed something equally abstract as a point of difference to tie it all together.

How long did it take you to create the menu?

ZH: 3 months plus it's really a labour of love. I enjoy more seeing people open the menu and the look of delight on their faces makes all of the hard work worthwhile.

How many themed drinks are there to choose from?

ZH: 27 new original cocktails, plus 9 Emporium classics.

Smoked Rosemary & Olive Martini

Do you have a favourite?

ZH: It is so hard to pick one, I am really pleased with the main character cocktails such as The Cheshire Cat, The Queen of Hearts, The Alice in Wonderland and The Mad Hatters Tea!

Five Fast Facts:

Favourite ingredient?

ZH: Housemade syrups, juices and lemonades

Most over-used ingredient in the industry?

ZH: Pineapple juice, it’s a love/hate relationship


Bartending prediction?

ZH: For the future: Robots making drinks.

Why is the Emporium Hotel as must visit in Brisbane in three words?

ZH: Elegance, indulgence and it's exquisite.

What's next?

ZH: The Summer 2015 Cocktail Menu is already in planning progress and it’s going to be amazing!

12 Questions with Emporium's Cocktail Bar Manager Zac Hay

Make sure you stop by for a visit and indulge in the new Winter Wonderland Menu. It's amazing!

The Details

Emporium Hotels
1000 Ann Street
Fortitidue Valley QLD 4006