In The Mix: Master Of Flavours

by Mahak Mannan | Published 1 year ago

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We spoke to Zarco Cucuz, brand ambassador and bar guru, Tribeca, about his love for mixology.

Zarko Cucuz

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I come from a little town in Serbia called Pirot, close to the Bulgarian border. I left Serbia to travel the world and get to know new cultures. Upon arriving in South Africa, I picked up some work in a bar and fell in love with it. Most of what I know today I learned in Cape Town during my time there.

How do you bring creativity to your drinks?

As Tribeca’s brand ambassador, creativity is at the core of everything I do. We’re a New York-themed resto-bar that strives to be on the cutting-edge of Dubai’s nightlife scene. To ensure our cocktail menu is always evolving, I love to experiment with seasonal flavours. I’m fascinated by how marrying certain ingredients produces an amazing drink, quite often using flavours you wouldn’t expect to work together. You’ll find everything from eggs to coffee in our cocktails. One of my most recent introductions was Tribeca’s wellness cocktail menu in collaboration with Go Organic. These cocktails are packed with powerful ingredients like kale, aloe vera, and spinach but can be customised with a cheeky splash of spirit.

What is your signature drink?

It would have to be Tribeca’s Halle Berries cocktail. A summer elixir or a winter treat, this cocktail tastes just as sweet all year round. I combine the freshest raspberries I can get my hands on with a powerful punch of spirit. I then add an electric tang with a dash of passion fruit-flavoured spirit and some passion fruit. I then round the cocktail off with Chambord, passoa, and a refreshing squeeze of lime juice.

What is the most important factor in mixing the perfect beverage?

Like life, the secret to the perfect drink is balance. Too much of anything won’t make anyone happy. While a glamorous profession, bartending has taught me a lot about life, people, and personal discipline.

Which is your favourite syrup or flavour to work with?

Vanilla, the king of flavours. Vanilla has been used as a flavouring agent since the bronze age. It was commonly infused into olive oils and is one of my favourite flavours because of its flexibility. It’s got a strong character and is incredibly versatile, a pinch of vanilla can turn an average beverage into the perfect birthday cocktail.

How often do you experiment on your beverage offerings?

I spend more time being a mad scientist than a bartender at Tribeca. I’m always experimenting, trying to create the city’s next best cocktail. I create something new every week, however I’m only ever happy with one out of ten.

Which beverage is a guest favourite?

Dubai is a city that never sleeps and that’s because it’s buzzing on espresso martinis. After a long hibernation, the cocktail has woken up and is back to being a regular order at the bar.

What do the coming months hold for your beverage menu?

Our cocktail menu is a chameleon, it’s always changing its colours. Our cocktails are adapted to the season and the menu sees a regular dose of our team’s creative juices. Global food trends also influence what our customers are sipping on. Funky drinks are always in the pipeline so stay tuned.

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