Q & A with Grant Collins, The Powder Keg

Grant Collins, The Powder Keg

Renowned Mixologist Grant Collins is responsible for bringing us Potts Point’s local favourite, The Powder Keg.  The Powder Keg boasts one of the largest boutique gin collections in the Southern Hemisphere alongside fine wines, hand crafted cocktails and casual dining.

We caught up with Grant to find out where he likes to eat and drink in Sydney.

Q: Where do you go to get a great cup of coffee (or tea if you’re not a latte lover)?

In Potts Point near The Powder Keg it would have to be Ulivetto Café (great food) and on the beaches where I live, Ruby Lane or Showbox at Manly (great organic food and awesome coffee).

Q: If you could only drink one last drink on this earth, where and what would it be?

An original Zombie with 5 shots of differing rum. Why mess around if it’s your last!  Originally created in the 1940’s, the guest who the bartender made the drink for complained of missing his flight and feeling like a “Zombie” when he tried a couple!

As well as a fetish for all things gin, I also love rum.

Q: Please share with us your 5 all time favourite restaurants or bars in Sydney

  1. Rockpool Bar – you can’t beat a Martini here and one of their killer burgers!
  2. Bennelong – I  just LOVE the new refurb – great food and pretty killer Negronis is a combination that’s hard to beat.
  3. Stillery – you can’t beat a good Whiskey or Calvados here in winter or a Gin and Tonic or Negroni on the rooftop in summer.
  4. The Powder Keg – I might be a tad biased, but I believe the unique take on a Gin Palace we have created is both fun and a quality offering and it works well as an office for me!
  5. Baxter Inn – seriously one of the best bars in the World – great fit out, cool vibe and an all time Whiskey selection.

Q: If you had visitors in town, where would be the first place you’d take them to dine and/or drink?

I’m from Cornwall originally so when my family come over from the UK I would take them to Icebergs or Bennelong.  You can’t beat that ocean view at Icebergs or the one overlooking Sydney Harbour at Bennelong.

Usually a visit to the Sydney Fish Markets always goes down well also.

On the beaches it would be The Boathouse at Palm Beach, Pilu at Freshwater or Public Dining in Balmoral.

Q: Where do you buy your produce in Sydney?

There’s a few favourite spots.  Sydney Fish Markets, Kings Cross Organic Farmers Market and Manly West Organic Farmers Market, just to name a few.

We try and always source local produce that’s sustainable and now with a higher focus on organic than ever.

Q:  What inspired your passion for food and drinks and what does this mean to you?

I love the creative industry and also have a passion for history. The creative process never really stops for me and I can easily find inspiration from a variety of sources, such as eating out, great hotels and travel.

An idea can form overnight or take 2-3 years to come to fruition. All ideas are always documented or put into a Dictaphone, no matter how crazy they can seem at times!

I also love the theatre and entertaining aspect of drinks and food creation – giving our guests an escape from the pressures of work and life. I really love experiential concept drinks that indulge and engage all of the senses.

At The Powder Keg we play on this a great deal using eye appeal (colour and shape of glass) to engage the brain, then scents and smells to further engage (80% of your taste is through your nose), as well as interactive garnishes that leave a layer of flavour before even consuming the drink.  We also use sounds, such as a bell or chime as an introduction to a drink.

Witnessing the end result when you see a packed room enjoying the experience you have created is priceless and certainly worth all the hard work.

Q:  What do you want your legacy to be?

Someone who helped create a unique and progressive drinks culture in this amazing city and who made a difference.

We certainly have pushed some boundaries here and along with some other amazing operators such as The Swilllhouse Group, Merivale and The Sydney Collective (Watsons Bay Hotel, The Morrison) we have driven the industry to a level equal to NYC, London and Berlin.

Q:  Tell us something not many people know about you!

I come from a small fishing village in Cornwall. My dad owns and runs a fish and chips shop so I grew up around fish.  I am allergic to fish! Perhaps why I left and came to Oz!

Oh and I can bake a wicked Cornish Pasty!!

You heard it here first folks!

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