Not long after she turned 18, Calley Copley became a glassie. “I was intrigued by cocktail making, different varieties of wine and beer as well as the chat you got to have with customers.”
Since then she has worked her way around the Auckland bar scene, finding employment at places such as The Merchant Bar and Kitchen, Food Truck Garage, Orleans and Hurstmere Road Brew Bar, gleaning experience wherever and whenever she could. “I learnt my basic skills early on and over the years I’ve picked up various techniques and tricks from friends in the industry.”
The industry staff are the highlight of the job for Copley. While she has never entered any bartending competitions (“It’s not really my thing”), she enjoys going and has a good time supporting her friends that do compete. “They’re my biggest inspiration,” she said. “It’s so fun to pick their brains.”
The most challenging part of the job for Copley is making something purely unique. “Chances are someone somewhere has made the same drink before you, so it’s about putting your personality into the drink and that can be difficult sometimes.” She does this with her variation on the Rum Old Fashioned, which she describes as full-bodied, bold and courageous.
Copley acknowledges that it’s hard to plan your future in the hospitality industry, “but at some point I’d like to open my own place.”