They say that if you want to learn tricks of a certain trade, interrogate and get it directly from the horse’s mouth. In this case, discovering more about the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and the things you can do with it (read: cocktails, so many cocktails). Let us introduce you to Zachary Conner de Git, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum’s ambassador and a bartender extraordinaire like no other.
First, a little backstory to Zachary:
Zachary Connor de Git joined the family-owned company as Regional Portfolio Ambassador in April 2014; helming its portfolio of mixable spirits – Monkey Shoulder Triple Malt Whisky, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Hendrick’s Gin and Reyka Vodka in particular. An Australian native and self-professed Singaporean, Zach discovered his penchant for bartending at the age of 17 behind the bars of O’dowd’s Irish Pub at Rockhampton, Australia – a bar situated near his hometown of Biloela which he characterizes as quaint and fun.
Not one who shies away from the boisterous activities of the industry, Zach takes pride in creating unique experiences for each guest he attends to, with a strong affirmation that customer service always comes first. His thirst for new challenges soon led him to move on to some of Australia’s most esteemed bars such as Black Pearl and Gingerboy in Melbourne. It was at Gingerboy that Australian Bartender Magazine gave him a nod of recognition with a nomination for “Bartender of the Year” in 2010 for his knack of concocting some truly great tasting cocktails.
Accorded with a distinction in Level 2 Award in Spirits from the acclaimed Wine & Spirit Education Trust in Singapore, Zach most recently led a team at Singapore’s famed Tippling Club as Bar Manager and Head Bartender, creating uniquely delicious cocktails while expanding his repertoire in the local bartending scene. In 2013, he represented Singapore at the Diageo World Class competition and subsequently went on to be the first bartender in Singapore to win the Mediterranean Mastery 2013 title – a subset of Diageo World Class competition that calls for competitors to consider the Mediterranean region and its influence on cocktail culture.
With so many distinctions tucked neatly under his belt, he brandished his talent in creating yummy Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum cocktails during an exclusive cocktail tasting session a little while ago.
In between drinks, we asked him a few questions about his career:
How long have you been a mixologist and what’s the greatest misconception about being one?
“For about 8 years..and I think that the greatest misconception about serving drinks is being called a mixologist. I’ve heard many things over the years – mixologist, bar chef, “Sorcerer of the Shaken & Stirred” – I prefer to be called a bartender. Although, the term mixologist has actually been around since the 1800s.”
Is being a bartender as cracked up as they make it out to be e.g. are you drinking all the time, are you always out partying?
“Well, yes and no. Some Sundays I can start drinking from as early as 9am. I still have to do a lot of work to do aside from just bartending alone so I visit bars, you know..make sure people are buying, create awareness, buy people shots every now and then..But on my off days, I usually spend time at home. “
Where do you get your ideas/inspirations for all these unique cocktails?
“Hmm, everybody gets inspiration from a lot of different things or places. Mine, well..it changes from time to time – it could be something my friend says to me or a cultural reference or some form of reference to something. There was a point of time when I came up with the names before the ingredients – they were just witty little sayings.”
Do you taste all of the concoctions that you whip up? How many rounds of “taste test”s does one concoction go through before it gets your approval?
“I like to get a good gauge from everyone else but usually, i’d be the first to try it. The thing is, not every single flavour will appeal to every single person. For example, I could serve you a drink and you might hate it but I could serve it to someone else and he might like it. So I’m always trying to find a balance. The good thing is that I’m always open to trying new things.”
So tell us, if you weren’t doing this – bartending – what would you most likely be doing?
“I used to play the drums and guitar so..being in a band was an option. Also, I studied IT and although I was good at it, I didn’t see myself doing it for a living. I just love bartending!”
Don’t forget to check out our 5 favourite Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum cocktails here!
For more information about Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, hit up their website.