The Barangaroo House bar manager shares his advice for taking inspiration and making it delicious.
What makes a great cocktail? It starts with inspiration, but that’s not enough — you’ve got to take that concept and turn it into a delicious reality.
That’s something that Pauric Kennedy, bar manager at Barangaroo House in Sydney knows well.
“I think it’s important to put in the time to ensure it is the best idea it can be, but then of course it needs to be an amazing drink,” he says in the interview below.
“Honestly, it doesn’t work all the time and that just means going back to the drawing board.”
Pauric is one of four bartenders in the final of the Bombay Sapphire Stir Creativity Cocktail Competition taking place on April 4th in Sydney — you can get his recipe after the chat below.
How did you translate what you saw — your inspiration — into what ends up in the glass? What advice can you share about going from concept to reality?
I approached this idea as simply as possible and tried to imagine how I would feel as a child tasting invisible raspberry Kool-Aid for the first time. I needed to figure out how to replicate a feeling, but also hit the flavour profile whilst still creating something tasty. Then I set to work trying to bring the feelings and flavours to life. Sometimes going from concept to reality can be really challenging, but in my experience if you choose something that excites you, don’t try to push the envelope too far, it will come naturally.
Where do you usually get inspiration from? Why there?
I take inspiration from literally anywhere and everywhere, and often make notes in my phone to save away for a later date or menu. I find that being inspired by the world around you means that the sky is the limit. Recently, I have really enjoyed taking inspiration from trends and putting my own spin on them.
How is the designing of a drink for a competition like this different to what you do for your bar?
Generally when creating drinks for my bars I am the one who sets the brief, so I create drinks based on the direction I want to take the menu in. When I am creating drinks for a competition, the brief is set by the brand and I am meticulous in my cocktail design ensuring that I adhere to all the rules set by the brand, while also representing what I love most about the brand, and having a bit of fun too.
How much of your creative process is thought out ahead of time, as opposed to actually tasting and tweaking the drink?
I think this one really differs from drink to drink. Sometimes a drink can be pretty far out there and it may take a lot of trial and error to get the flavour combination correct. It also depends on the menu - I’m currently working on concept menus for the next couple of years and it takes a lot of planning as I don’t know what the drink trends will lean toward. Also, planning ahead for a super seasonal menu can be a bit of a challenge as fruits may not be available, so it really takes a lot of research. I think it’s important to put in the time to ensure it is the best idea it can be, but then of course it needs to be an amazing drink. Honestly, it doesn’t work all the time and that just means going back to the drawing board.
How do you strike the balance between creating something that is original, and something that will appeal to judges and drinkers alike?
In my experience, the best drinks are those which tick both boxes: they’re both appealing and original. I tend to draw on my many years of experience creating drinks that people from all walks of life will love, while also using my drinks to tell a story, evoke a feeling and create an experience that is one of a kind.
- 40ml Bombay Sapphire Premier Cru
- 20ml Martini Bianco Vermouth
- 10ml Supasawa clarified “citrus”
- 2 drops Essential Ingredient oil soluble raspberry drops
- lemon coin (expressed over drink)
- Build all ingredients in mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into chilled Nick & Nora glass.
Recipe by Pauric Kennedy.