After an extended stint as head bartender of Sydney’s Eau De Vie, Max Greco recently decided to venture out and open his own venue in Vasco Bar. Named after the 80s Italian rock star, Vasco Rossi, the venue flaunts elegant, considered cocktails in a space that is pared back and grungy, capturing the true essence of rock ‘n’ roll. We caught up with Greco to find out a little more about the man behind the bar.
How did you get into bartending?
I got into bartending as a necessity more then anything else. I was in London looking for a job and as I stood in front of a beautiful bar full of people sipping drinks and having fun, I decided to walk in and asked to speak with the manager. The next day I was behind the bar and something happened that simply made me fall in love with the job.
What are some of the best tricks you've learnt along the way?
There have been lots of tricks learnt behind the bar. A bit of sugar, for example, can balance any cocktail and a dash of bitters can often save a drink. Also, the ability to let your guests trust your ability and appreciate the drink you will mix for them is probably the best trick…
Which ingredients do you enjoy working with most?
Well, lots of them, but bitters, tequila and gin are always in my hands and ready to be used – I love their profile and tastes.
What’s your favourite cocktail?
The ‘Hanky Panky’ is one of my favourite drinks and was in fact created by a woman around the 1920s. It combines gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet Branca – sexy and delicious!
Lastly, what's your fondest memory involving cocktails?
Well, after recently opening my own bar, I had to start working on a bright new drinks list. Although very exciting, it was also very stressful as I want to give my customers something great to enjoy. Pretty much the creation of each drink on the final list was a special moment that I’ll never forget. When the 13 drinks were complete, I cried and I drank all of them in a row. It was a good day.