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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol 2: QT Gold Coast

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, 4217
March 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM | by | ()

Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what bartender, Nicholas James, from Stingray Lounge at QT Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.

HotelChatter: How many years have you been in the industry and time at Stingray?

Nicholas James: 5 years in the industry, and coming up to nearly one year at Stingray.

HC: What type of formal training do you have?

NJ: I have studied and worked alongside some of Australia’s most recognized and award winning industry professionals in and around Sydney’s small bars, pubs and restaurants.

HC: With such an extensive list of creative cocktails, what is your least favorite to make; the one you go 'really? I have to make that?' but still do it with a smile?

NJ: I really make an effort to entice and educate guests when ordering drinks, offering a little adventure to the otherwise standard classic cocktails they may be inclined to choose. This keeps the experience constantly fresh and exciting for myself and my guests. But yeah, mojitos really get the better of me sometimes... [HC thinks, whoops!]

HC: With a new cocktail menu, what is your favorite drink? Any cocktails at QT that you had a hand in creating?
NJ: I’m currently in the process of crafting a new seasonal list for Stingray with some creative input from the team. Rum based and Caribbean style cocktails have always been a favorite of mine, keeping it 'Tiki' and working with the resort lifestyle of QT Gold Coast. Expect flamboyant garnish!

HC: Stingray is quite the hot destination for the Gold Coast scene, what's the most interesting thing about bellying up to the bar?
NJ: Stingray is a hub for locals and a destination for domestic and international travelers, every day brings new characters and a great influx of culture and diversity. In the short time I have been here I've hosted and catered for U.S celebrities, British Royalty and Australian sport greats. Nothing is a surprise and all in a day’s work at the hottest bar in town!

HC: Any celebrity gossip you can reveal?
NJ: Jude Law drinks gin and tonics. Right proper English.

HC: What are your sneaky ways of dealing with patrons that are 'overserved'?
NJ: People come to make the most of their experience and do sometimes fall a little over the line. We always do our best to take care of our guests by offering food, water and safe transport. We may or may not tell them there is an awesome party just down the road.

HC:Speaking of, what's your hangover cure?
NJ: Double espresso, poached eggs and some sort of fancy bread. Followed by a lengthy tequila serve.

HC: Any favorite cocktail trends you're looking forward to exploring and any that you can't wait to go down the bar sink drain?
NJ: I'm pleased to see a revival of true old school classics brought back into the light with some help from specialty bars and glamorous period shows like ‘Mad Men’. Cocktails that focus on a spirit or eau de vie and add elements that accentuate its flavors and character rather than disguise it. A good example would be a ‘Manhattan’. Sex and the City stopped airing like 10 years ago. Let go of the Cosmopolitan!


HC: Shaken or stirred?

NJ: Stirred, with a twist

HC: Red or white?

NJ: A nice Cuvée de prestige from the Reims region with the perfect balance of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a splash of Pinot Meunier

HC: Preferred spirit?

NJ: Rum to sip, tequila to sip faster

HC: Guilty pleasure outside the bar?

NJ: Eating out far too often.

HC: Favorite vintage drink?

NJ: Rum from the bottle, LIKE A PIRATE!

[Photo: Memoir Imagery and HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Great interview.

I knew it!  I knew I annoyed bartenders by ordering Mojito's. haha jk.  Muddling a mint leaf without bruising it is a talent.  It's interesting to see this side of a Bartender - He's not just a pretty face.  Such a fun and interesting interview.  PS - I'm all about "flamboyant garnish".


The mojito, the caipirinha, and anything that requires muddling, mixing, and blending is a frigging bartenders nightmare. They are sexy drinks when you're sucking them down, but you better tip well for the effort involved. True fact!

I visit a bar

Those are some interesting insights on bartending and drinks. Sometimes whenever I visit a bar, not necessarily at Gold Coast, I have a tendency to order what I am already familiar with. It is not that I am not daring enough to try new drinks, but I guess it is the comfort that comes along with it. Well, fortunately I have come across this write-up and I will definitely try something new and adventurous the next time I order a drink. Time to build that drinks list!