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.