Words by: Cherry Heering
Originally from the UK, Pita travelled across the globe to his father’s native New Zealand, landing in Wellington. He set his sights on learning how to pour pints for a bit of work and soon found a job at Foxglove, where he discovered a love for the social interaction and comradery of hospitality, and a new career path was revealed. His passion for the industry only grew, as he learned more about the history of fine spirits and their processes of production. He was soon managing functions at Foxglove, later moving into the role as bar manager at Hooch, a small dispense bar in Wellington, where he learned more about cocktails and spirits. As he became practiced in deciphering flavours in drinks, he naturally fell into making cocktails, and drinking them, often. At the end of his time in NZ, Pita spent a year managing the pub of an isolated fishing community of 600 people, in the Chatham Islands. There, he was far from the fine spirits and cocktails he loved, but the role taught him a lot about people management. Craving more refined beverages, and to further his career, he moved to Melbourne, Australia, where he found himself managing Charlie’s bar, and working as a cocktail bartender at The Toff in Town.
At the end of 2013, Pita jumped on board a new venture opening in North Melbourne, called Joe Taylor. He has been part of the team from the beginning, helping it grow and evolve into a favourite cocktail destination of locals and visitors alike. Joe Taylor boasts an impressive backbar of over 300 different spirits and liqueurs, and has an ever changing craft beer, and wine list. Working in a small team means that every staff member has a hand in all aspects of service, from drink concepts, to food offerings, to imparting spirit knowledge onto unsuspecting customers. He has taken the reins as manager of Joe Taylor, and continues to expand his knowledge of food and drink, while giving cocktail competitions a good crack!
Pita has been an advocate of Cherry Heering for a long time, to the point where previous managers have had to limit the number of his drinks on the menu that feature the liqueur. “I have a sweet tooth for drinks, especially stirred, and Cherry Heering offers a depth of flavour and velvety richness that I really appreciate. In many of my recipes I use Cherry Heering in favour of sweet vermouth, as it gives a superior flavour.”