British expat Lisa Kempen has only been bartending for three years, but she’s found her niche at specialist cocktail bar Caretaker, where every drink can be crafted to the customer’s taste.
Lisa Kempen, bartender at Caretaker
I knew I wanted to be a bartender when: I got my first bar job at Racket Bar. It was just the best of times. We would dance on the bar to our favourite songs in the middle of service and just got into general mischief throwing eggs at each other and stuff like that.
The key to a perfect drink is: Dilution, temperature and fresh ingredients.
What gets you thirsty? The sunshine and beer gardens.
Gin or vodka? Gin.
Weirdest drink request: Something that tastes like a car park.
Best thing about working the bar: Making someone a drink that’s perfect for their taste.
Worst thing about working the bar: Late nights.
A drink I could never touch again: Vodka and Redbull – way too much caffeine.
A song that’d always be on my bar playlist: Lake Shore Drive by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah.
Advice for prospective bartenders: Have fun and always try all your products.
I’d love to make a drink for: Probably my mam, because she’s never seen me bartend. I had a totally different career in England where I’m from. I was working as a pharmacy technician for six years at home before leaving five years ago to go traveling.
What would you make her and why? First Post (one of our house gin and tonic style cocktails), because I know her favourite drink is a G’n’T.
Best hangover cure in Auckland: Any form of noodles. The best would be the duck noodles from Monsoon Poon [Lower Hobson St, central city].
Best hair of the dog drink: An El Guapo – tequila, simple syrup, lime, cucumber and hot sauce. It’s a riff on a Bloody Mary.
Caretaker, 40 Roukai Ln, Britomart. Photograph by Josh Griggs