Sydney, The Cure

I have but one word for you Sir, “Batanga!”

Elizabeth Bay House has a fantastic basement that makes for a great launch venue, the African character that served as Ship’s Captain aiding Indiana Jones’ escape from Alexandria was called Katanga and Schweppes is producing a rather tasty darkened drop that tastes like a grown up drink.

Of these three things I did not possess as any reliable type of irrefutable knowledge as I walked along Onslow Ave to take up a shadowy invitation that had arrived in the post the week prior. Upon being met by a proper lady at the door of the former Governor’s residence, I was transported back in time and down a flight of stairs for the launch of a new product on the cocktailian fringe.

A number of Batanga! will loosen lips and possibly sinketh ships.

The party was great. Possibly the most fun launch I’ve attended this year. Read all about it over at the Gourmantic, who caught Simon McGoram and I in full flight.

The Elixir is kind of a big deal for the team at Schweppes. Their tonic is synonymous with Britain’s greatest cultural export, the Gin and Tonic. As such, they have a established relationship with the bartenders around this lucky country and the dark mixer is an unashamed attempt to invade the adjoining mixed drink territories that surround the white spirit and tonic stronghold they have fortified over the last two hundred and something years.

Despite the similarity in colour, this is not an attempt to produce a Schweppervescent take on the Coca-Cola beverage. Taste wise, it delivers four big flavours, in almost equal parts. Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and Vanilla compete for space on the palate and do a fine job of nestling down beside the earthy tones of tequila, and liven up a treat on exposure to Tanqueray and a hit of rose.

You’ll only be able to experience this on-premise. That is, in a bar, and probably a rather refined one at that. Pair it with pretty much anything on the back bar. With the small personal supply I have been afforded, I can confirm Rums, Scotches, Bourbons and Ryes all yield pleasing, if varied results.

It seems like a product that will add a new indulgence to those amongst you who enjoy a spirit and mixer to dull the pains and lower your inhibitions. It also has a root beery-ness that soothes a savage stomach rather pleasantly.

The signature serve, for now at least, is a tequlia drink, it is fantastic. I should know, after drinking ten brace or a score at the Launch Event, I arrived home lauding its name.

The Batanga

45mls Jose Cuervo Reposado Tradicional, 15mls freshly squeezed lime juice, Schweppes Elixir

Build over ice in a glass that has been given a chili salt rim, top with Elixir. Cry “Batanga!” as the drink is served, in your best faux Victorian accent.

Bar, Melbourne, The Cure

On Tour: Batch

Chur cuz. Sick of the fucking bouncing kangaroos? Worried about that thing with the beady eyes you always thought was a bear but apparently is called mar-soo-pee-ill? Simply looking for a place where you can consistently find a decent cup of coffee, free from the hands of the pervasive criminal element?

Rejoice reader, this paradise exists and you can find it hiding at 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava in Melbourne’s wonderful southern suburbs.

This place might be a cafe, but the fact you also get a measure of El Dorado 25yr old rum means that this little cafe has a back bar that many cocktail establishments around the world would envy. Breakfast and booze in one tidy package, Cure and Cause in four tight walls.

Started some time ago by another ex-Kiwi like me, Batch brings the cosy feel of Dunedin or Kingsland to Sydney’s southern sister. Jason Chan, owner, master barista and rare spirits aficionado can be found strapped into the coffee machine delivering perfect espresso, time, after time, after time.

Simply a must visit in Melbourne.

Shop 1, 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava (03) 9530 3550

On Google maps, here.

Oh, this will probably help too:

New Zealand, The Cure

The Burg of Ferg

Sometime ago I started chronicling the avenues along which one could escape the pain of the hangover. I write now to tell you of a cure so powerful, so perfect, indeed so effective that I am not entirely sure in my own mind that it exists at all.

I speak of course of the Burgers of Ferg; Bun Laden, Cockadoodle Oink, Bambi’s Mother, Big Al for the truly ambitious, fries with wasabi aioli. The products served from this little window to heaven have the strange power to erase the misdemeanors of the immediate past and deliver you, sated, into a less blurry and overall survivable tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure you just have to stumble out of any bar in Queenstown, turn at any intersection at random and you’ll either be at Ferg’s or fall into Lake Wakatipu. Either one will work I suppose.

42 Shotover street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand‎ – (03) 441 1232‎

On Google maps here. And this is what it looks like:

The Cure

Perry Lane Cafe

picture-2Perry Lane, PaddingtonNSW 2021Australia

(02) 8354 1222

Google Map

It occurred to me the other day while sitting at the Perry Lane Cafe that my blog was missing one big part of the drinking experience, the cure.

The Perry Lane Cafe sits just a touch back off Oxford St, the lane itself is just opposite Country Road, and I think Kookai is on the corner, by memory.

The Cafe itself makes truly great coffee, using Campos Beans. Unfortunately beans in Sydney  do not mean results, but whoever is twisting the knobs on this machine certainly knows what they are doing.

The food was wonderful, I had the Eggs Benedict with bacon. The Hollandaise was a dream. My better half ordered the Morrocan eggs, a lentil, spinach and chutney phantasmagoria. 

Feeling properly refreshed, we ventured out into the big wide world.

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