FROM boarding school in Bendigo to mixing cocktails on Lizard Island in Queensland, Zoe Burnett, 26, loves the challenge of exploring new flavour combinations in the drinks she creates.

MIXING IT UP: The Black Stump Bistro’s cocktail mixologist Zoe Burnett is a woman of many talents, who continues to concoct new drinks while she studies human services and social work at La Trobe University’s Mildura campus.Picture: Clancy Shipsides

In fact, she’s a “mixologist” who is determined to bring new life to the bar scene in Mildura.

Zoe learnt her trade from one of the best in the business at the Lizard Island Resort.

“Daniel Hutchins-Reid travelled the world as a bartender/mixologist and mentored me for my first six months at the resort,” Zoe said.

“The term ‘mixology’ is used to describe the move from bartending to the more creative aspect of cocktail mixing, drawing inspiration from more than just spirits.”

Zoe followed her beau, Ryan Locke, a sous chef from Lizard Island, when he teamed up again with Jim McDougall in Stefano’s Cellar in Mildura two years ago.

“I started work with Jim as a food waitress and soon moved into the beverage side of the business,” she said.

“Now my work within the food and wine business has moved me in the direction of following my passion for creating new and enticing drink sensations at The Black Stump Bistro in the iconic Settlers building in Eighth Street.

“Being able to create something that has an amazing taste and then be able to ‘open the minds’ of the consumers to something that’s out of the norm has been my long-time interest and challenge,” she said.

Zoe recalled mixing her first cocktail at Graystanes Manor, an upmarket restaurant in Bendigo.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 16/08/2014.

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