Cocktails with Public House Management Group mixologist Kurtis Bosley
Kurtis Bosley is not your run-of-the-mill bartender. At just 26, Bosley has sketched his way from architecture school to the official bar and cocktail manager for Public House Management Group.
With a mix of awards to his name, and a garnish of 44.6k online followers eagerly awaiting his service, Bosley's vision and flair for creative excellence has led him to his new passion, education and development.
Foodservice sat down with Bosley the morning after his win at The Perfect Blend by Beam Suntory.
What does an average day for you look like?
I don't really have an average day. During the early parts of the week it is more office-house. I spend a lot of time going through the week that was, looking at different reports and seeing where we can improve the business itself. The second half of the week I am always in venues – around the bar, with the bartenders and around the guests who are in the space.
What's your process for creating distinct cocktail menus for each of Public House Management's venues?
This is, without a doubt, the fun part of the job. Each venue has quite a clear identity. Across our venues at the moment we have about seven lists running that are all very distinct to the brand face. I collaborate a lot, I talk to a lot of people, I ask a lot of questions, I get a lot of brands in and I do a lot of tasting. It's a big collaborative effort with everyone involved, it's definitely not just myself.
What are customers drinking most?
One drink that has gone bloody bonkers at the moment is the espresso martini. It is everywhere! It's not necessarily my favourite drink but you can't deny how large it is at the moment.
One on our menu that's actually been going gang-busters is what we call the 'Rombanse'. It's from Bistro Moncur in Woollahra so it's got a French-inspired taste to it. We use Bas-Armagnac, Cointreau, rhubarb, hibiscus, lemon and some edible flowers on top too.
Are there any cocktail trends your predicting for 2018?
Big time - the continued growth of low ABV drinks. This is on the back end of more educated drinking. Cocktails as a drinking option when you go out are huge at the moment, but one thing that draws a lot of people away from it is the thought that they're going to be quite boozy.
What bartenders have been looking at is this concept of low ABV spritz-style drinks. They are still tasty and look like any cocktail but they don't have the booze content that other cocktails have. It's also a more health conscious way of drinking.
You mentioned earlier that education and training is a large part of your role with PHMG, what kind of work are you doing in this area?
This is something I really enjoy and is something I've found the most rewarding. We run weekly training sessions with our bartenders, monthly training sessions with our head bartenders (the elite bartenders program) and ongoing day to day with everyone else in between.
You also manage Cocktails with Kurtis, your instagram account with nearly 45 thousand followers, what encouraged you to get into social media?
Again, it's not something I ever necessarily had a goal towards being a part of. Studying architecture, a thing we learnt was always creating a portfolio - of what you've been doing but also as a way to look back and find inspiration to move forwards.
When I first started the account I wanted it to be separate from work. It was back again to this idea of creating a journal, a portfolio of work. Then it became somewhat more than what I thought it was going to be. That's when I started linking it back to work and creating what it is now.
Do you think social media is important for hospitality professionals?
In this day and age I think it'd be silly not to really drive home social media. I've been offered a lot of opportunities and I've done some really cool stuff on the back end of this kind of thing.
But this is the clear distinction I think a lot of people have to really understand, especially in the industry. In no way is this going to be a way of proving yourself. Because the moment you get behind the bar if you can't serve a drink and interact with the guest, immediately that takes away from anything you've done on the social stuff. Always work on the things you are doing in the bar space and then on the back end of that hopefully you can create some social content that is interesting.
You were named best cocktail bartender at the AHA NSW awards in 2016, you've just won another competition The Perfect Blend by Beam Suntory, what's next for you professionally?
I've kind of stepped away from the competition side of things. The last few years I entered a lot of competitions and that took a lot of time, so at the moment I've very much been working towards the business side of hospitality. I want to look at better ways that we as an industry can be more sustainable and also better ways that we can look after ourselves as hospitality professionals.
We've put a lot of thought into the way we are treating things behind the bar in regards to sustainable practices. We've even taken out plastic straws at a few of our bars.
The other thing for hospitality professionals is that we don't necessarily look after ourselves enough. You're spending late nights in bars and often drinking at these events – there's got to be ways that we can look after ourselves better and that's something I really want to look towards over the next six to 12 months.
Finally, what would you say to someone considering a career in bartending andmixology?
Stay humble, ask a lot of questions and keep learning.
Kurtis Bosley is Public House Management Group’s in-house mixologist. For further information, please visit phmg.com.au.