Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Cheers to a Cocktail Class

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Cheers to a Cocktail Class

Article excerpt

Byline: Seanna Cronin


LEARN MORE: To make great cocktails at home, Ami recommends tracking down a copy of The Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail.

STAY: Check out the Stingray at the QT Gold Coast. More at qthotels

WHEN I picture a chef's kitchen garden, I think of neatly planted rows of leafy greens; a productive patch to be envious of, especially considering I have no green thumb whatsoever.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find something altogether different during my tour of the QT Gold Coast's rooftop garden with Group Executive Chef Justin Zammit.

Lining the edges of a sprawling outdoor space next to the QT's conference rooms, this garden looks a bit wild.

But it's that way by design.

Companion planting helps dozens of plants ranging from herbs such as Thai basil, rosemary and lemongrass to nasturtium and edible flowers to thrive with minimal upkeep in the salty sea air.

Justin fills a large metal bowl with clippings, some of which will form fresh salads for that night's dinner at the QT's famous Bazaar Marketplace Restaurant.

I do my best to sample as many of Bazaar's dishes as possible, with a good helping of the freshly picked salad of course, and I am treated to a custom-made sour berry cocktail from the resident bartender. I really thought I'd stump him by saying I liked berries and cinnamon, but somehow he pulls off the flavour combination.

It's a preview of what I learn the next afternoon at my mixology class at the QT's Stingray Lounge, where making cocktails is an art for Ami St Claire.

The general manager of the Stingray Lounge, who has returned home to Queensland after working behind the bar and competing in cocktail completions in the UK, Ami also loves using the QT's rooftop garden's fresh herbs and fruits to create beautifully complex concoctions. …

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