One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR! We have all been there. And we all have to agree there may be a love, hate relationship with the spirit, but nevertheless, we won’t be drinking anything else on the 24th of July as it is World Tequila Day. So to get into the spirit (pun intended) we interviewed Gold Coast local, Beverage Manager for Handpicked and Venue Manager of NAAMI, Breeana Erica. Ever had a signature cocktail from Roosevelt Lounge or Loose Moose? Chances are, it will be one of Breeana’s creations. She is the mastermind behind some of the best cocktails on the Coast, and it’s about time you got to know her. So grab yourself a cocktail and read on.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Gold Coast has been home for 14 years now and I’ve felt like I’ve been on holiday ever since.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you love doing what you do.
I started working in a small country town pub where learning how to not only take ownership of the bar (as if someone was coming into your own home), but also how to pour the perfect beer and how to banter were first and foremost. I’ve worked in everything from fast-paced pubs, nightclubs and did my fair time in an Irish bar. In each and every different type of venue and bar, I was always looking to reinvent the same old classic cocktails that were on every menu created from the same set of dusty back bar basic bottles. I would always be looking for someone adventurous enough to try my new twists on shots and cocktails wherever I went. From the first time I ever stepped behind a bar, I felt at home and I knew I could let my creative side go wild.
Once I moved into cocktail bars I worked for Moo Moos, Loose Moose, opened the Roosevelt Lounge and a few others in Broadbeach, where you will still find so many of my signature cocktails on their menus years later that I’ve created, including my first ever cocktails still going strong and popular. Cocktail creation for me, is creating art and is my craft. I love to draw people in with all their senses and give them an experience, not just a drink.
At NAAMI, I have full creative freedom and I’ve created a 16 signature immersive and interactive cocktail menu with a few secret cocktails and a secret menu launching in a few weeks. So if you know, you know. I love the feeling of inviting new people every day into what feels like my own home and offering my hospitality and knowledge of the industry and having them try my twist and flair of cocktails.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I’ve entered a fair few cocktail comps in my time and have won some pretty sweet bragging rights, along with trips away and booze… but, it would honestly have to be the feedback/response from all my customers over the years. Still to this day, I get to meet new people every day and welcome them into my venue and have them fully trust me to try new things and have an experience you don’t get in too many other places. From doing this over the years, I have strangers who have come out for a nice drink who have turned into friends and family; and from meeting new people I have had an absolutely insane amount of people follow my work and career. I also have to mention the people I have had the pleasure of working with – that has also been an achievement in itself.
Tell us your favourite tequila cocktail.
At the moment, my favourite tequila cocktail I created is The NAAMI #5.
What do you love the most about working with tequila?
In the past few years from my perspective behind the bar, the GC went from being the Espresso Martini capital of Australia to The Chilli Margarita obsessed!! Tequila is my go-to spirit at the moment; so I wanted to put my little spin on the classic fav and steer people away from the tequila, salt and lime combo we have all done to death. So I’ve infused Blanco tequila with dill and replaced the triple sec with watermelon, then adding lime, ruby red grapefruit, ghost chilli reduction served with a vanilla sugar rim instead of the classic salt. Batched in a little perfume bottle, as you pour it out for yourself have your camera ready for the glittery surprise in every bottle.
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I am a foodie at heart and being in the hospitality industry my whole life, I have so many favourite places and recommendations. But for me, I love the Pesto Tofu Scramble and service at The Milkman’s Daughter, it’s such a beautiful place to sit and start the day.
Coffee spot: I dont stop in enough but the coffee at Backyard in Nobby’s is always on point!
Restaurant: My favourite restaurant for the location, the service, the food, and my favourite cocktails is definitely Edgewater on Isle of Capri.
Bar or pub for a drink: I am a big fan of supporting all the local surf clubs along the coastline for a cheeky beer by the beach. We are so lucky to have so many little watering holes along the beach!
How do you choose to spend your weekends? My weekends are what most people refer to as Mondays and Tuesdays; and I’m usually out disconnecting in nature, at the beach or taking my longboard out skating up and down the coastline enjoying the year-long summer.
When you find yourself forced to take a closer look at things in life, you can be treated to sensory experiences and surprises that you weren’t even aware existed. A near-perfect example of this — and pride of place slap bang in the middle of Burleigh Heads James Street, no less — is Naami.
From first observation, you’d be in the right frame of mind to assume Burleigh has scored itself another splendid little recess churning out some incredible eats. And it has.
The rustic garage-styled shop front is sure to satisfy your Vietnamese desires with Banh Mi, Spring Rolls and Pho — all to go. The bare minimalistic décor is brought to life by polished concrete floors, neutral hues, and a parked up scrambler style motorcycle, which couldn’t look more at home than on the bustling side streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
But this isn’t where your attention should be. Although the food served up here is nothing short of astonishing and packed full of authentic flavour, if you let your eyes do some wandering, you might notice a rather large door loitering in the corner. Give it a push, and into Naami bar you go…
Curiosity once did kill the cat, but in this instance, you’re rewarded with Burleigh’s newest speakeasy-style evening haunt. Inspired by a motorcycle trip of Vietnam, owners Ollie Frost and his dad Geoffrey decided the exotic and distinct culture of Vietnam’s back alley bar culture was called for on the Gold Coast. And we couldn’t agree more. The pair are no strangers to hospitality either owning neighbouring Mediterranean hotspot Maman and Surfers Paradise’s burger nirvana, Milky Lane.
Cocktail maestro Breeana Erica, who has cut her teeth composing cocktail lists at multiple venues around the Coast, (including Maggie Choo & The Roosevelt Lounge) is heading up the venue. When it comes to aligning flavours and uniting liquids, this young lady has got it squared right away. With 11 inventive and Asian inspired Signature Cocktails, there will be no room for boredom here. Breeana muses, “The cocktail list reflects a diverse range of flavours and spirits which will ultimately create talking points; we’re hoping for people to sit and enjoy their drinks and create exciting conversations over them”.
No doubt they will. The ‘Pav Is Mine‘ is a tip of the cap to a classic pavlova, but with lashings of vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps and a one-of-a-kind passionfruit smoke bubble you just have to see. Or perhaps a ‘Pho-Groni’ is more your thing, especially if your usual tipple is a classic negroni? The bar takes a savoury collaborative gin from Fortune Distillery and Noosa restaurant Sum Yung Guys, Campari, adds a house vermouth blend before finishing with a Port cask finished cardamon tincture. If multifaceted savours are your thing, and you want drinks that challenge your thinking as much as your tastebuds, then you’re in for a treat here.
The overall décor of the venue invites you to grab a drink, sit down, slow up, and chill out. There’s no sense of urgency here. Should you grab some food in the front shop, also feel free to bring it into the bar to have alongside one of their delectable drinks offerings — after all, this is how things are done in South East Asia!
With plans to bring DJs in on specific nights and hold themed evenings and events, Naami plans to be that sultry backstreet bar (and eats) you never knew you needed in your life.
Where: 4/57 James St, Burleigh Heads
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 5pm — 12am
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
On June 13th each year we raise a glass to World Gin Day and the spirit that has certainly had its come up over the last little while. The Gold Coast boasts our very own gin distillery plus a host of bars making magic with local gins. All of which you won’t be surprised to learn we’re big fans of.
In honour of that, here are the best spots to get your gin fix on the Gold Coast this World Gin Day (or anyday for that matter). Happy sipping.
Tamborine Mountain Distillery
Tucked away on Mount Tamborine is one of Australia’s smallest and most unique distilleries with over 280 International Awards. Their gold medal award winning gin is the Lilly Pilly Gin, a pot still gin using botanicals such as Australian Lilly Pilly (Riberry), Juniper, Angelica root, Orris root, Citrus peel, Caraway, Coriander, Aniseed Myrtle, Elderflower, Mistletoe, Passionflower, Shepherd’s Purse and more. The best part about it, it’s got a delightful pink hue.
Where: 87-91 Beacon Road, North Tamborine
The Island Rooftop
It’s always a good time on the rooftop in Surfers Paradise, overlooking the city and with guaranteed good vibes. While all the sips are sweet, our recommendation is the Clover Leaf made with Beefeater gin, raspberry, lemon and egg white, so good.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Aloha Bar & Dining
How does a Saturn Juniper Uranus sound? Cool right. That’s exactly what you should order at Broady’s most colourful alleyway bar, Aloha Bar & Dining. It’s got Four Pillars gin, sloe gin, orgeat, passionfruit, lime and rosemary and it’s out of this world. The bar itself is decked out in full colour, with hidden rooms and moody, good time vibes aplenty. Follow the music down the alley and you’ll find yourself in a magical world of tiki goodness.
Where: 18 Main Place, Broadbeach
Fig & Frankies
Another delightful Broadbeach bar dedicated to exceptional sips and very good times is Fig & Frankies, also newish on the scene and also very well-loved amongst Gold Coast locals. Their cocktail list is tight and filled with delights made up of local spirits and you’ll want to try them all. Drinks are numbered rather than named and each is absolute perfection to be honest. We particularly loved Number One (aptly named) because it is made up of MAC by Brookies, clarified green apple and house lemonade and we cannot overstate tasty enough. Gather the crew and sip up a storm.
Where: 4/2707 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
A must-visit cocktail bar in Broadbeach, Roosevelt Lounge is one of the city’s sexiest spots for a cocktail, capturing the seductive style and glamour of decadent New York. For World Gin Day try the Down the Rabbit Hole Signature Cocktail made up of Ink gin, in-house chimmer liqueur (pink moscato, pisco, peach & orange blossom), blueberry vinegar, citric acid and life of cha crystal tea. Delightfully served in a tea pot, this cocktail is an Instagram dream.
Where: 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
The Gold Coast’s first gin distillery Granddad Jacks are, quite obviously king when it comes to gin cocktails (and gin in general). Our number one on their list is the Seymour Street with their very own Greenhouse Gin plus Eucalyptus and fresh lime juice because it’s the ultimate in Aussie-inspired freshness and it tastes top notch too. Love your work mates.
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
Oh Rosella’s, little love of our lives. A refined Australiana bar in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Rosella’s is bringing all Aussie eats and tipples to the very appreciative people. On a list of cocktails that will 100% improve your life (especially the Pet Nat Slushie – love you) but for the purposes of this article let’s chat about the Kylie Minogue Martini with Vickers Gin from Beenleigh Distillery no less, vodka, elderflower, verjus and pink peppercorn. It’ll have you spinning around in no time.
Where: 6/1743 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away down Justin Lane behind a red velvet curtain is Lockwood Bar. They a serving up a sexy sip titled Brookie’s Aviation which fuses Brookie’s Dry Gin, lemon juice, Tempus Fugit liqueur de violette and Luxado Maraschino liqueur. Topped off with a maraschino cherry, you know it’s a goodie.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
An intimate little space down Palmy way is Suga, a cocktail and rum bar open until late and serving up cocktails that are quite unlike anything you’ve sipped before. On World Gin Day we recommend a Gin Lippy with Larrikin Gin, citrus syrup, housemade lemonade and a whole lots of tastiness. A very tasty tipple indeed. Pop on in for a few of those this weekend.
Where: 1142 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Collective Palm Beach
The Rooftop Bar at The Collective Palm Beach is a gin-lovers paradise with beloved gin-based cocktails including the Rose Hip Martini with Poor Toms Gin, hibiscus syrup, lime and grapefruit and the Unnamed Sympathy served Tiki-style with macadamia-infused Nobel Cut Gin, Bushfire Botanic Australis Gin and pine-lime allspice. Both of which are tried and tested by us and both of which are really very delicious.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Saint Helen’s Kitchen + Bar
If sipping cocktails seaside is your thing (and we know it is), you’ll love Saint Helens Kitchen + Bar signature slurp The Gin Thruster. It’s got gin, blueberry and tonic. It’s bright, refreshing and super Insta-worthy – if it lasts that long.
Where: Shop 2/78 Musgrave Street, Kirra
Words by Kirra Smith
Hello, we love margaritas. They are, collectively, our favourite beverage and thus, we are experts on their sweet, salty goodness.
This is why, it gives us the greatest of pleasures to inform you that while Tuesday 22 February is Margarita DAY, we wish to celebrate Margarita MONTH and if you choose not to participate, we will particulate on your behalf, and ours.
In honour of the most important day (+month) of the year, we’ve collated a list of 11 spots to sip margaritas and yes, tried and tested (from north to south).
Hard Rock Cafe
It’s always a fun time up the rock n’ roll memorabilia laden stairs in Surfers Paradise and an even better time once you’re seated with a frosty margarita in hand. The Hard Rock Cafe margies are extremely delicious and you may choose from the Triple Platinum or the Exotic and they are very generous with their servings. A bit of live music and it’s happy days.
Where: Cnr Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Montezumas / The Aztec
They of the family-friendly Mexican good times sure can shake up a tasty margarita and they’ll give you a big one too. It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet and (trust us) one definitely won’t be enough. YUM.
Where: Montezuma’s: Aloha Building, 8 Trickett Street, Surfers Paradise and The Aztec: Aria Building, 17 Albert Avenue, Broadbeach
Aloha Bar & Dining
Ready to get fruity? Same. Aloha Bar & Dining is the spot to do exactly that while sipping on a tasty, tasty margarita or three. Theirs is a special one, aptly named Aloe-Ha Margarita; it’s got Tromba tequila, aloe vera, honeydew, elderflower, lime maraschino, kaffir lime leaf and cucumber and it’s an absolute party in your mouth.
Where: 18 Main Place, Broadbeach
As you’d expect, from one of the most loved Mexi-venues around, Bonita Bonita’s margarita list is a goodie. You may choose from Tommy’s, Coconut, Bonita (with candied jalapeno’s – best), Raspberry and a Mexcal Margarita and why not have them all. The food is really quite great there too, order the banquet so you don’t miss out on any of the best things.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
It’s margarita mania at Nobby’s fave Mexicali with seven varieties of margarita on offer PLUS three types of jugs. Best. Choose from Classic, Passionfruit, Chilli, Watermelon, Coconut, Skinny and the Scorched margarita if you’re on your own or there are Classic, Strawberry and Blueberry and Lychee jugs. There is nothing more we need from life, goodbye.
Where: Level 1/2223 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Located on the Lower Gold Coast Hwy in Burleigh, this little joint is the perfect delight for Mexi-loving locals. The list of margaritas, as you’d expect, has quite the variety on offer, from the Classic (made with orange liqueur), to Coconut, Watermelon (five please), Cucumber and Chilli, Smoky Pineapple, Grapefruit and El Patron and we obviously suggest sampling one of each.
Where: 2/1840 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
The little Burleigh beauty down a side alleyway is filled to the brim with delightful margarita flavours that’ll keep you busy all day long. There’s Coconut, Mango, Peach & Passionfruit, Mexcal, Chilli Mexcal, Szechuan Pepper & Pineapple and Tommy’s Margarita’s and every single one is the goods. It’s a sweet little space too so grab the gang and get down there.
Where: 6/26 James Street, Burleigh Heads
While it’s true that all cocktails consumed on a seat overlooking the ocean are the best you can hope for, the tipples at Rick Shores are that little bit more special because: a) Burleigh Heads beach and b) well, margaritas. Rick Shores is absolutely stunning and we highly recommend gathering the girls and making an afternoon session of it.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Frida Sol brings a slew of margaritas to tantalise your tastebuds this sweet Margarita Month. We are quite (QUITE) partial to the Chilli and the Coconut Margaritas and throw in a pretty Palmy ocean view and you’ve got yourself a good ol’ time.
Where: Level 1, 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
It’s always a sweet time at The Collective, on the highway in Palm Beach what with five food venues to choose from and a rooftop bar with bulk epic cocktails on offer. We vote for the speciality cocktail “TOMMY BATANGA”. 10/10 taste sensation.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The stunning, naturally-inspired surrounds of baskk at Kirra Point are enough for us but, since it’s Margarita Month, we won’t go past a tasty tipple or two either. The margarita’s at baskk are next-level, as is everything on the menu. Line a few of those beauties up and order a couple of pizza’s and that’s pretty much the best time you can have.
Where: Shop 2, Beach House Plaza, 52-58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Words by Kirra Smith