Zachary Connor de Git, or Zach, has come a long way since he first discovered the joy of blending flavors into a delightful glass of cocktail at the age of 18. In 2010 he was nominated as Bartender of the Year by the Australian Bartender magazine for his stint at Melbourne’s Gingerboy bar, and by 2013, he was representing Singapore at the Diageo World Class competition, becoming the first bartender in the city-state to win the Mediterranean Mastery title. Today, 26-year-old Zach is regional brand ambassador for William Grant and Sons’s blended malt drink, the Monkey Shoulder, where he continues to share and spread his passion for the art of cocktail-making. Here, Zach prepares for us a classic Old Fashioned recipe and talks about the work of a bartender and the brand he proudly represents.
You prefer being called a bartender than a mixologist. How are the two different?
In my belief they are one and the same thing. The term mixologist to me is just putting your job up on a pedestal. At the roots of it all you are still a bartender whether your pour beer, make cocktails or mix juices.
What makes a good bartender and what is one common misconception people have about the job?
A bartender knows how to read and treat his patrons. They make a connection (be it brief) that allows them to bring the ultimate experience to the guests. It is not all just making cocktails! A good bartender knows how to do the stocktake and clean up at the end of the night—sometimes it’s not that pretty.
When did you first start being interested in the art of cocktails?
When I moved to Brisbane at the age of 18. I was hungry to learn more about how flavors blended together.
What’s the most important element of a drink?
The smile it’s served with.
Tell us about Monkey Shoulder.
Monkey Shoulder is neither a blended whisky nor a single malt. It is what is recognized as a blended malt, meaning it is 100 percent malt whisky (same as single malt), but it comes from more than one distillery. Single just means it hails from one distillery, not that it comes from one cask. Grain whisky (a lighter column distilled whisky) is not added to Monkey Shoulder as it is with blended whiskies. So we get the best of the flavor of the single malt with a little bit more room to be cheeky and make cocktails.
What type of holiday destination would best suit Monkey Shoulder?
A snowboarding trip to the French Alps!
Tell us a little about the cocktail recipe you’ve prepared.
The drink is really simple and I believe to be staple to any bartenders something you can prepare at home for your guests! While it is not one of my originals it has a rich history dating back over a hundred years.
Find the recipe in the next page.