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Mixologist / Queenstown, New Zealand
My road is happiness, along the road you will find learning and development. In saying this, I find it's very easy to lose yourself, forgetting to have time out and reflect. I like to find time to enjoy the ride and share your experiences. My road is happiness, what’s yours?
Tell us about the road that led you to New Zealand. Is it a destination you expected to experience?
Holistically speaking, it's fair to say my journey to New Zealand, and specifically Queenstown, started well before I'd heard of the place.
I grew up in County Wexford, in the south-east of Ireland.
Academic pursuits via traditional methods were a challenge due to dyslexia, but I discovered an infinity for interactive learning during a Media Studies and Print Journalism course.
I gained an Overall Distinction, which allowed my entry into university, where I studied hospitality for two years, albeit with no serious intention of entering the industry.
Although still without a clear direction to pursue, I'd gained confidence in my work ethic as a tool to move forward.
By 23, a successful couple of years in sales set me up for a trip to Australia; a move destined to plant the seed of change.
Initially travelling with friends, I settled in Perth and took on my first bar tending role. The poise of young people travelling alone caught my attention. This self-confidence seemed a platform for future success.
It’s a regret that I didn’t commit to such adventures earlier. Nevertheless, when the time did come, I booked a flight to New Zealand with no prior research or contacts in place. The sole driver for the decision was an over-the-phone assurance of Queenstown’s quality skiing.
And it worked out brilliantly!
Who inspires you? Do you share the same values as them?
In my current world, it's hard to look past the high calibre people at the Lodge Bar.
When I started, the bar tender was a chef. The regimented processes and attention to detail his training bought to the table proved transformative - I became a professional.
Stephanie, the Lodge Bar Manager, is a level-three sommelier. She is supported by quality chefs with executive chef, Matt Lambert injecting his genius every four or five months.
I've always been a sponge for knowledge. In the Lodge Bar environment, my desire to learn went into overdrive.
What advice would you give your younger self at the start of your journey?
It would be to set goals early with milestones along the road. It’s important to reward yourself as each step is ticked off, even small treats like a quality bottle of wine are valuable acknowledgements of effort.
I’ve also learned how vital it is to associate with similarly driven people. When you expose yourself to world-class talent and put the work in that is required to perform to their expectations, it lifts you far beyond what is achievable in isolation.
As a mixologist, do you have a favourite cocktail?
Currently, I'm a big fan of a 'Bobby Burns'.
Created in the 1930s by Harry Craddock in the Waldorf Astoria bar, and named in honour of the poet Robert Burns, the cocktail comprises one-part blended Scotch, one-part sweet Vermouth, and a half-measure of Benedictine Liqueur.
A well-aged Scotch is recommended. Serve in a classic Martini or Old-Fashioned glass.
Meet David Harpur at The Lodge Bar.
The Lodge Bar, 2 Rees Street, Queenstown