VENUE: Stitch Bar
ADDRESS: 61, York Street, 2000 CBD
You’ll find Mischa Bonova down at Stitch bar most evenings, tending bar with a certain charm and warm smile. She’s been doing some big things for the stature of the girls in the bartending community, so we thought it was more than time we caught up for a chat!
Q+A: What cocktail trends are hot at the moment?
“There is definitely a massive come back of the classics, twists and revisitation, whatever is old school and vintage seems to be extremely cool again.”
How long have you been bartending?
Since July 2010.
Before you were bartending what were you doing with yourself?
Finished my Masters in Business Management and worked in project management (exciting huh?).
What is your proudest moment behind the bar?
Anytime when I make my customers happy and they leave Stitch with a feeling of greatly spent evening – that is what makes me happy and proud of being a bartender.
And the most embarrassing?
Spilling a shaker with all ingredients on my customer standing in front of me when I tried to show off a bit and I hit the shaker with the pourer when cutting the pour off – Yaaay…I was as red as my shirt what I wore.
How do you prepare yourself for a cocktail competition?
Know my drink(s), the ingredients and prepare a nice presentation. Practise it, practise it and practise it until I am happy with it and I know I can’t be caught by surprise from the judges.
You work at Stitch bar – what’s the crew like?
The crew is… small! There’s only seven of us. We are all very close which makes it very easy to work especially under the heavy pressure that Stitch’s weekends provide. We have managed to create a group that looks more like a little family than a working team. Everybody looks after each other! In and outside work… for real!!!!
Where have you worked previously?
My first bar experience was in The Red Door and I started off properly my bar tending career in Zeta Bar in Hilton.
What advice would you give a rookie bartender?
I think I still can call myself a newbie. There is still so much to learn. It is not only about tending the bar and bar knowledge. It is about sharing your passion with your guest and looking after them. When starting – work hard, study hard, show your passion and treat every customer the same way.
Any other female bartenders that are doing good things at the moment?
I am trying to follow the news from other Slovak bartenders overseas and there is a great Slovak female bartender in Nightjar in London – Martina Breznanova
What’s your favourite bar gadget?
My ice pick – I love to chip my ice into perfection!
What’s your favourite city to visit?
I haven’t done too much travelling yet but I love the atmosphere of Melbourne. One feels so peaceful there…
What’s your favourite movie?
What’s your favourite song?
Moderat – Rusty Nails
What’s your favourite sport?
Ocean swimming – so much freedom!
What spirit should people be drinking more of?
Gin – definitely.
If a customer asked for a ‘stiff’ drink with a twist of orange – what would you serve them?
American whiskey is always the solution. Woodford reserve is our brand of choice down at Stitch and offers great cocktail potential; our Old-Fashioned sales are over the roof!
What is your favourite product to work with at the moment and why?
I’ve found myself to reach for the Islay single malts quite often lately and try to bring out the best of whisky. And bitters – a drink needs a length and finish.
What do you drink to…
Unwind after a long shift?
Doss Blockos new nice pale lager from Melbourne
Impress a man?
Gin Martini (with a high proof gin) with lemon twist.
If you could have a drink with one person (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
My grandfather. He died when I was 18 and I didn’t get an opportunity to get to know him well. He was a wonderful person and I feel like I missed a lot when he passed away. I wish I could make him nice stiff drink, he would have his cigarette in the corner of his mouth and we would just chill out.
What was the last book you bought?
I was about to buy Jim Meehan’s The PDT Cocktail Book but I got it as a present from my manager’s travels so I didn’t need to buy it!
If you could have a superhuman power what would it be – why?
I wish I could transport myself anywhere in the world within seconds so I would be able to practise yoga in Bali in the morning, swim with sharks in Bondi before noon, have lunch with my beloved family in Slovakia, enjoy a drink with friends in any of the cities in the world, and I would get a chance to see all those fantastic bartenders overseas and learn from them.
If you were to be something other than a bartender, what would it be and why?
My friends say that I have ADD – it would have to be something energetic and I think it would be something related to sports.
Who’s your hero?
There are a few of them around me (and overseas) and I am trying to learn from them.
What products do you think will be popular over the coming year?
I think that gins are taking it over…
Last drink ever – what would it be?