Zak Doy got his start in a little bar near Columbus Square in Barcelona, Spain after becoming stuck there during 9/11 while he was finishing a backpacking trip though Europe and Southeast Asia. During his two weeks he found his passion for tending the bar and the satisfaction of serving people a great drink. When Zak returned to Toronto, he immediately sought out work as a bartender while he finished school. Zak started his bartending journey with flair and speed bartending. In 2012, he entered and won his first cocktail competition. From this, Zak had his cocktail and name featured on every drink menu in the busiest bar in Toronto. In the last three years Zak has apprenticed himself to many well known bartenders in Canada, refining his techniques and slowly building a name for myself in the cocktail community in North America and Globally as well. Zak’s goals for the future are to continue to be a mentor and teach about quality spirits and the methods of mixing and presenting with flawless presentation.
House of Angostura: What is your favorite cocktail featuring Angostura Bitters or Angostura Rum?
Zak Doy: The Trinidad Sour.
HOA: With so many new bitters flooding the market, where do you see Angostura Bitters in the mix?
ZD: The absolute core. Angostura is the benchmark. In 14 years behind the wood of a bar, Angostura has always been the constant presence, the one you rely on when all else fails.
HOA: What is the most unique or interesting application of Angostura Bitters that you have seen?
ZD: Unique? Many. My favourite: Shots of Angostura Aromatic on tap. Doesn’t get much better.
HOA: Where do you typically go for a cocktail in your city?
ZD: Civil Liberties or Rush Lane.
HOA: How about for a beer and shot?
ZD: The Hideout.
HOA: Have you heard any good jokes lately?
ZD: Donald Trump is actually running for President of the USA. I rolled on the floor laughing.
HOA: That was a good one! Outside of the daily grind, what are you passionate about that helps keep you a balanced bartender?
ZD: My dogs. Ive trained and cared for Huskies the past 7 years. A dog or pet can make all the difference in a grinders life, especially with a great support system. Theres absolutely nothing better than to see my dogs faces light up when I come through the door, its unconditional love and what keeps me going everyday.
HOA: Sounds like a lot of fun. Now, how do you feel about the bartender/tattoo relationship?
ZD: Really good. I feel like there are a lot of impulse tattoos though. I feel like a tattoo really has to mean something to be able to commit to it. And there has to be enough money to get it done right.
HOA: Do you have any tattoos of your own?
ZD: Nope. Plenty of quotes but never had enough to commit to what I wanted done. Soon hopefully!!
HOA: Any advice for someone looking to get into bartending as a career?
ZD: The best Bartenders are the best because they want to be Bartenders. There has to be a commitment to knowledge and experience. The time it takes to acquire skills properly and the importance of community involvement is paramount.
HOA: Do you have an original cocktail recipe (featuring Angostura Rum or Bitters) that you would like to share with us?
ZD: Nelsen’s Hall – From Rush Lane & Co.
2 oz Angostura 1919
.5 oz Aperol
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz hickory smoked maple syrup (house smoked at Rush Lane)
5 dashes Angostura® Aromatic Bitters
1 tbsp apricot jam
Orange peel garnish
HOA: What’s the strangest request that you’ve gotten during your time behind the bar?
ZD: To make a cocktail using Chicken McNuggets. We did. It was terrible.
HOA: If you had a theme song that played during your shift, what would it be?
ZD: Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
HOA: If you weren’t bartending, what do you think you would be doing?
ZD: Some crappy job leaving me to wonder why I didn’t pursue an awesome career in bartending.
HOA: If you could have a cocktail with anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be?
ZD: Hemingway. No question.