He has added the shine to Soleil Pool Bar since this inner city open-air bar opened 12 months ago, and now Tony Huang is in the running for the most prestigious Bartending Award in Australia; he shares some secrets from behind the bar ….
Tony Huang is a bartender, lover of flavours and libation wizard with a personal passion for customer service. He’s also a contender for theAnnual Australian Bartender of the Year Awards in Sydney on the 21st of September and will fly the flag for Brisbane proudly.
Originally from Taiwan, Tony calls Brisbane and Annerley home. His pathway to bartending success was forged via an office job, which he soon realised was not his forte – creating incredible drinks for thirsty and often adventurous patrons was. He began at Bacchus Restaurant, and in a move that ultimately changed Tony’s life, he was moved to Soleil Pool Bar when his skills as a creator of drinks came to the fore.
“Bartending is both physical and intellectual – you have to exert physical energy and work with your hands as well as remember formulas and provide exceptional customer service, all while your customer is watching your every move,” he said. “Creating new flavour combinations, using local produce and exploring new tastes is really exciting, no day is the same as the previous one.”
When asked who he would most like to create a cocktail for, his answer was immediate: Jerry Thomas. “Cocktails were first invented well over 200 years ago during the 1800’s when American pioneer Jerry Thomas started developing elaborate and flashy techniques for making drinks, popularizing the original cocktail across the United States. He’s now considered “the father of American mixology”. If I could make a cocktail for anyone, it would be for Jerry Thomas, and what an honour that would be!”
When ask about his most favourite secret ingredient, his answer was again immediate: spices, and specifically, pepper! “Now that people’s palettes are expanding, bartenders are now experimenting with different and quirky ingredients. My favourite of the moment is pepper, and I use it primarily in cocktails featuring white spirits such as gin and vodka.”
His Top Three Spice-Infused Cocktails are:
- The Scarborough Fair – a gorgeous peppery infusion of authentic Mediterranean Gin Mare Gin, rosemary infused syrup, tangy pepper and lime, mixed with olive brine and served with dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, olives and a rosemary garnish. It’s sophisticated spice in a glass!
- The Tenochtitlan – inspired by the Aztec Capital City, this cocktail is as interactive as it is delicious. Firstly the glass is rinsed with Pastis, also known as the ever-wicked Absinthe. It includes Patron Silver Tequila, sweet agave syrup, dashes of Peychaud and angostura bitters, finished with a lining of cracked pepper around the rim. Yes, that’s right!
- The Salida Del Sol – a cocktail that means “sunrise” in Spanish is always going to be fantastic! It mixes the flirty flavors of white rum Havana Club 3 Anos, pineapple and fresh lime juice, delicious pepper infused syrup and finished with a smooth spiced Tabasco sauce float and refreshing mint garnish.