Industry News

Industry shock as Bayly renounces hats, tequila; plans to open subzero vodka exeperience

Phil BaylyErstwhile Mexican and Dr Seuss revivalist Phil Bayly shocked the city of Sydney last month by closing the doors on the city’s favourite den of fajitas and iniquity, Cafe Pacifico in Riley St.

Bayly delivered a rambling and at times difficult to follow address to the assembled bearded young men, tattooed young women and jaded industry hacks on the venues final night. Weeping openly, Mr Bayly spoke of his supreme disappointment in the hipster bartending movement and their obsession with appropriating the style of previous generations, decaring hats to have “become mainstream” and alluding to a  shift in his own petasusian leanings, with berets, beanies and potentially viking horned helmets getting a look in.

Sources close to Bayly have him linked with a new venue in Circular Quay’s International Passenger terminal. Billed as the largest subzero vodka experience outside of the United States, it seems like Bayly is once again setting out on a bold journey to educate consumers and build an audience for an authentic spirit.

Anyone who has got this far through this article should know, the story outlined is just as believable as the fact there is no longer a Cafe Pacifico in our lives.

Really looking forward to seeing what is actually next.

Photo honestly stolen from Chic Traveller


Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2013

If there are three things that are true about cocktail contests around the world, it’s that not enough are held on beautiful rum producing islands, the drinks that win are far beyond the average home enthusiast’s ability to produce and that nowhere near enough are won by the talented women working behind bars around the globe.

Kudos then, to the Barcardi Legacy Cocktail comp, for rectifying these three in one fell swoop.

Check the video above, and go and buy some Cynar (seriously, why not name non marque products and make it easier for everyone) and Grenadine and get amongst.

by Elizaveta Evdokimova, Russia

1 1/2 parts Bacardi Superior
2/3 part artichoke liqueur
1/3 part pomegranate liqueur
1/6 part simple syrup

Stir with ice, and strain into small tumbler over block ice. Garnish with a twist of ‘pomegranate leather’.922811_125885490938862_1621424125_n

Giveaway, Spirit

Καλό Πάσχα! Ouzo 12 Giveaway

ouzo-12-husband-small-73097It’s Greek Easter on the 5th of May and the fine folks at Campari have given me two bottles of Ouzo 12 to give away to help you celebrate.

A bottle each will go to the two best comments on this post. I love the old Ouzo 12 ads, so give me your favourite line from one or create your own.

Terms and Conditions:

  1. You’ll need to live in Sydney or have a mule to carry the bottle from where I am to where you are should you win.
  2. I’ll decide in the comments string of this post on May 2, so you can pick it up from me on May 3 for the weekend.
  3. If no one comments I’ll drink both bottles myself.
  4. I’ll decide who wins, my decision will be final but exceptionally funny expressions of disappointment might change that.
  5. Rules subject to change for no reason whatsoever


Bar, Sydney

I review the most reviewed bar in Sydney right now

398057_487548354617067_1660761824_nThrough this rather nondescript and rather unadorned  doorway you’ll find a rickety staircase.

Climb two flights and you’ll enter a 50 odd square meter room where some of the best cocktails in Sydney, if not the world are served. The focus is on classic recipes, featuring seasonal local produce. The Wayward Lady that whet my lips laid mandarin, rum, lime & honey with a dash of Cynar across perhaps the most perfect balance. Taste snobs can roll the flavours across their tongues, marveling at the presence of each ingredient and the beautiful lingering finish. The less pompous would just stare, mouths agape, at the gorgeous, chilled stemware as the level of the delicious liquid drops to nothing with each tasty mouthful.

The six drinks change daily, so you’ll be presented with different choices when you step upon a stair and fight the crowds for one of four seats at the bar, or the handful of tables that crowd the room. My advice would be to pick any or all of them.

Some I’ve talked to seem to think the fit out doesn’t do justice to the hundred grand prize Tim Philips picked up at World Class last year, which is rather harsh given the swag was apparently 1,600 Edith Cowan’s short of that sum.  large cash and pouring prizes have only been introduced this year. The lighting’s low, the voices raised, a crate of whisky lurks stage-left for any wanting an education or something to tell their drinking buddies about. The back bar offers two stark shelves, more than making up in oddity what it lacks in variety.

The service proffered here is great. Adi Ruiz, Rob Sloane and Tim Philips have CV’s that read like a barfly’s wish list, and all share the glorious commonality of time served at the Black Pearl in Melbourne. Technicians behind the stick, their stars shine brighter still on the floor. Cocktail drinking as it should be; cracking liquid, cosy surrounds and people that make you feel right at home.

I might have been the last booze writer in Sydney to tick this one of my list, but if you haven’t found it (or heard about it) you should go.

Tonight, tomorrow night, every night.

I’m walking there right now.

On Google maps here and facebook here, in my mind forever. Well played lads, 263 out of 10.

Bar, Melbourne, Sydney

Boom! A cocktail book you can get involved with.

541845_549492218424030_468301822_nSven and his band of merry men at Eau De Vie have made a start on something pretty special.

It’s a cocktail book, and instead of having it appear without fanfare on the market, they’ve decided to crowdfund the photography and production.

There are any number of packages/products and offers, although the 2.5k bar tabs with 10 signed books have understandably sold out already.

Get involved here. They’ve already met the target, so this is happening people!




Get Writing



It’s seems like an eternity since I’ve managed to carve off a few minutes to craft a post  worthy of your attention. Luckily, the fine folks at Island2Island have sent me a welcome gift that has shaken the cobwebs and broken a months old writer’s block.

The front label carries a lyric from the obscure Dierks Bentley, a country musician out of Nashville, Tennesee. The marketing materials reference Joyce and the golden age of writers in Dublin as the inspiration for the liquid.

It’s on opening the bottle however that you get something special. A crafted blend of pot still and single malt whiskey from the hand and nose of Bernard Walsh, who also crafted the Irishman. For those of you who care, pure pot still is the result of both a malted and unmalted barley mash run through a pot still. It’s rumored not to have been chill filtered and does carry the slightest hazy hint in Sydney’s warmish weather today.

What you get is a lovely honeyed balance, a full but easy drinking profile that easily evokes the cold nights and broken dreams of Joyce’s Ireland. It is delicious and I think it won’t last long in my hands.

Dan’s don’t have it. The Oak Barrel don’t have it. I is delicious and you want. I’ll find out how you can get a bottle and post it up shortly.

Those of you in the trade, contact island2island direct.

They also have a 52% cask strength available. I bet that it’s delicious.



uber fast mojitos tomorrow night

fast mojitoBacardi and Uber Bartools are throwing their weight behind a massive attempt at a world record tomorrow night in Sydney.

Jonathan Coates is going to try and smash out more mojitos than any man ever has before in a single hour. There’s 126 litres of Bacardi, 75 litres of soda water, 160 kilos of limes (not cheap at this time of year) and 95 kilos of mint. No mention of sugar in the press release, but there’ll be a mini mountain of it on hand.

If this follows in the footsteps of the last few responsible serve events I’ve been to with 30mls in each drink, there’ll be 4200 beverages knocked out in an hour. At a more generous 90ml serve per glass there’ll still be 23 drinks a minute crossing the bar. Even Luke Reddington would have to admit that’s pretty quick.

Anyway, tomorrow night, No Vacancy at 12 Kellet St, Kings Cross. The record will be set between eleven and midnight. I’d suggest there might be a few mojitos being passed around the bar.


Cocktail, Competitions

Is one of these cocktails worth $100,000?


The World Class summer round  came to its conclusion  with 12 bartenders from around Australia as is fast becoming tradition, on a motherfuckin’ boat.

The overall quality of the drinks, the presentations and the event itself had stepped up from the previous year, and the addition of the American Cocktail with Bulleit Bourbon was simply the tastiest damn thing ever.

I wrote a couple of months back that Diageo have put up a hundred grand for the Australian winner this time around and you could see that the call has been answered by the bartending community with some well thought out drinks that certainly bring the brands to life in the mouths and minds of drinkers.

There were plenty of standout drinks, but this is a post about winners, and the folk who’ve done enough to be in the running for the big prize.

First up, let’s talk favourites, and mine was the Modern Love cocktail from Luke Ashton, of the Roosevelt.

The use of a unique acid (extinct Phosphoric), the ability to customise the drink in the masculine or feminine, the allusions to the perfume industry and the techniques in common with the botanical production of modern Gins like Tanqueray 10, the glassware and technique on a rocking boat were all great. I’m not sure it had the boozy hit or history that the rat pack category was meant to elicit but rolling the hint of Parfait Amour around my mouth I’m not sure it mattered.

Luke Ashton_Modern Love

Luke Ashton_Modern Love_2Next in line, Jessica Arnott from Portneo with her rockabilly twist of a drink, 1956.

A bottled cocktail and very much on trend, with a real connection to the essence of the venue she now manages, the drink comes either as a tasty Old Fashioned or optioned up with a series of upgrades. The ginger beer and dulche de leche float was a cute idea that would have shifted drinks in venue, if being a little long for my own slightly more boozy tastes. Jess has stepped it up from last year and I can’t wait to see her shine in the finals next year.

Jessica Arnott_1956 an American 2 Jessica Arnott_1956 an American

The Ron Zacapa After Dinner Drink was taken out by Christian Blair from Eau de Vie in Sydney. A gorgeous looking serve that managed to still taste of dreamy boozy goodness despite the load up with creamy additions. Christian had a good confidence behind the bar booth boatside, and it’ll be good to see him shine in the extended format at the finals.

Christian Blair_Finca La Perla Zacapacino Christian Blair_Finca La Perla Zacapacino 2

Which brings me to Krystal Hart from Canvas in Brisbane. The story behind the Beholden Martini was tight, connected to the brand but not just a retelling of the Nolet story, I’m also a sucker for a meat garnish and the pickled herring was unexpected but totally refreshing after 10 or so drinks on a less than mirror glass flat Sydney Harbour. She’s gained a lot of confidence since last year, and she’s got a creative flair that will make her a real contender come finals time.

DWC Brisbane Oct 2012DWC Brisbane Oct 2012

While the quality across the board was better than last year, I’m not sure there was a Tim Philips amongst them. That said, none of these guys have had the benefit of being exposed to the Global Finals and the knowledge of just how good the other bartenders who will be travelling (potentially to San Fran?) from their home countries for a shot at the title and the benefits it confers.

There aren’t any bad drinks at that global level, just great, really great and insanely great ones. It might have been the cash prize on offer but it seemed like the nerves were heightened at a few stations round the room. In Rio, all the competitors could stand behind an unfamiliar bar, with a  TV camera in their face and an absolute fucking bartending legend sitting in front of them, and make it feel like it was their bar, performing a comfortable, confident shtick while banging out a tasty beverage.

I’d also love to be surprised a bit more. The training program that Diageo has in place is insanely and award-winningly great, but I wonder how much the tasting notes and trainings are pulling people into a very samey set of flavour profiles in terms of end drinks, all the while using some complex and beautifully crafted spirits.


That said, the only qualifications I’ve got to make the criticism above is that I’m obsessed by great drinks and love to share stories about them. If I learn anything from being a judge at World Class, it’s how far away I am from being able to conceive and present drinks of this standard. It’s not going to stop me from trying, or accepting kind invitations to be involved either.

Also, big props to Diageo and Behind Bars for continuing to raise the bar with this competition, for opening it up to the public to be involved, for backing off the spammy social media that irked a few last year and most of all for believing enough in the creativity, passion and talent of Australian bartenders to put up 100k for one of them.

The Gourmantics have got some great photos of the consumer part of the event here.



Cocktail Implements

Feeling Bitter about Christmas?

Bitterness is only a click away this Christmas.

Only Bitters is an Australian based website specialising in the little bottles that add the finish to so many a fine cocktail.

Many of the brands mentioned in recipes from around the world are only found with web search and a long wait. JD down in Melbourne decided that wasn’t good enough for the budding mixology movement that is happening down here, downunder.

There are currently 125 varieties on the site, and more to come.

While that’s far too many for most, there’s no denying the uplifting effects that a few drops can have on your favourite spirit or cocktail.

If you’ve never progressed much beyond Angostura, do yourself a favour and add a few drops of Brooklyn Hemispherical Sriracha Bitters to your next Bloody Mary, discover the chocolatey goodness lurking in tequila with Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters and pimp your summer Collins with Dr Adam Elmegirab’‰s Dandelion and Burdock Bitters.
Plus it’s the perfect stocking filler for anyone with a bent for booze.

Books, Legends of Bartending

Drink in some history

For many of us, a cocktail is more than it’s constituent parts, carefully tempered by the hands and knowledge of a hoary barkeep.

Indeed there are drinks that reach across the continuum of time and space, providing a rosy tinted connection to an imagined perfect place.

While Ian Fleming’s shaken martini might have had the most significant impact on the wider drinking public, there is no author who so was both so prolific, or as detailed in his description as Ernest Hemingway.

The Daiquiri’s of La Floridita are well known, but only those who’ve spent days and nights with the Great Bear of a Man’s prose will have an appreciation for the range of beverages his characters were wont to consume and the obvious familiarity the author had for their production, flavours and intoxicating effects.

Which brings me to my point, a new addition to the shelves of intoxicologists everywhere, To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene.

Mr Greene has an interesting day job as Trademark and Internet Counsel for the U.S Marine Corp stationed in a well known five-sided building in D.C.

Little wonder then, that he has been driven to drink, firstly as a founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail down in New Orleans and now as a published author.

The book is being met with rave reviews and grand acclaim, a thoroughly researched piece of prose and perhaps more so as a drinking experience as well.

You can grab a copy on the Amazon here. 




Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. Australian Bar Awards Winners

Australian Bar Awards WinnersWhile we wait for someone at Bartender Magazine to peel their face from the pillow and cobble together a press release, here’s what I’ve been able to glean from the social medias.

Bar of the Year: Shandy Pines, Sydney

Best Cocktail Bar:  Eau de Vie, Sydney

Best Bar Food: Hinky Dinks, Sydney

Best New Product Launch: Havana Club Aneo 3 (nice work papi)

Best New Venue Design: Palmer & Co, Sydney

Brand Ambassador of the Year: Sebastian Reaburn, 666 Vodka

Training Program of the Year: Mixxit

Bar Team of the Year: Black Pearl, Melbourne

Best Bartender’s Bar: Black Pearl, Melbourne

Small Bar of the Year:  The Collection, Melbourne

Best Drinks Selection: The Baxter Inn, Sydney

New Bar of the Year: The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Wine Bar of the Year: Cabiria, Brisbane

Best Speciality Beer Venue: The Local Tap House, Sydney

Bar Manager of the Year: Mike Enright, Merivale, Sydney

Rookie of the Year: Sean Chow, Press Club, Brisbane

Hotel Operator of the Year: Keystone Group, Sydney

Hotel Operator of the Year: Anton Forte and Jason Scott, Sydney

Outstanding Contribution: Michael Delaney, Melbourne

Cocktail List of the Year: Canvas, Brisbane

Best Music Offering: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Pub of the Year: The Norfolk Hotel, Sydney

New Pub of the Year: The Bottom End, Melbourne

And the big one, BOTY is……

Bartender of the Year: Greg Sanderson, EDV, Melbourne (here’s a photo, if you don’t know who he is already)

Awards, Event, Sydney

Win! Your chance for a free double pass to DrinksFest this weekend!

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the coming excellence that is Sydney Bar Week.

For the first time the experience is open to the general public on Sunday the 23rd, and Dave Spanton has been kind enough to offer 50 double passes to my readers (valued at $50).

It’s a great chance to experience some of the wonderful brands that are established or entering the market, there’ll also be a discounted store where you can buy a couple of bottles to take home.

The first 50 people to email Dave at with the ingredients that make up a Last Word cocktail will win, he’ll probably want your name and number too. You’ll need to be over 21, and have the photo ID to prove it to gain entry on the day.

Head over to for more info on the day and the other great events that make up the week.

If you need some help answering the question, you can find the ingredients listed here.

Competitions, Event

One Hundred Million Dollars

The glow of the Australian win in Rio is still apparent in the hearts of minds of many in the industry here, despite the best efforts of Nawlins and Tales in intoxicating it out of people’s minds.

Against this heady backdrop, Diageo Reserve has come out with a massive piece of news.

The winner of World Class in 2013 will win one hundred million dollars towards building a volcano lair, complete with a tank full of sharks with lasers on their heads.  one hundred thousand dollars towards opening a venue and expert mentorship to make it a reality.

That’s for the Australian winner.


The Australian winner of World Class next year will win $100,000 towards opening a venue of their own.

The motto of World Class a couple of years back was “Raising the Bar.”

Increasingly more and more brands are offering trips, experiences and contests around the world.  A few have even offered this sort of cash at a global level but $100,000 for an Australian winner? The bar has been truly raised.

I hope I still get to be a judge…

Release follows:

Continue reading

Awards, Event

Bar Week Cometh

Australia’s largest booze trade event has got a new frock, and she’s looking pretty good in it to boot.

Each year, the publishers of Bartender Magazine put on an industry event to showcase the products and people that make hospitality all that it is in Australia. This year it’s bigger, better and for the first time, open to the public.

You’ll be able to attend the show, under this year’s swish moniker, Drinks Fest. Once there you’ll have the chance to taste and learn about all things liquid and intoxicating. I’m more excited than Tim Philips in the children’s section at Zara.

Why you should care:

  1. The main event will be held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in the Rocks, instead of the weird trade halls at Moore Park.
  2. For the first time, one of the days of the show (Sunday the 23rd September) will be open to the general public. This means an opportunity to learn about, and taste some great products and buy at a discount too.
  3. The involvement for the general public doesn’t stop there. If you can bear the company of Alex Adams and Simon McGoram for an evening, Ketel One bar tours are a great way to learn about the small bars festooning Sydney’s inebriated underbelly, and that’s just the beginning.
  4. There’s the usual fantasticness of events, dinners, breakfasts, balls and bar awards dinners.
  5. Tim Philips is bringing his throne to the dinner.

Check out the website and get yourself some tickets. It is a really great way to get across the Australian industry in the work of but a moment.

Release follows:

Continue reading

Bar, Industry News

You could not have it more wrong.

George Souris, Minister in the O’Farrell Government here in Sydney, has come out swinging at the small bars in the wake of the bashing death in the Cross last week.

I don’t think he could have it more wrong. Sydney’s small bars are fostering a new drinking culture in the city, but I think that anyone who has experienced it would attest that it as extremely positive one.

I don’t normally get into politics here, but any attempt to pin negativity on the great bar culture growing up in this town should be something that anyone that like a good drink, and therefore anyone that reads this blog, should really care about.

Obviously he’d rather be working with big hotels, as evidenced by the chap he appointed to an open position on the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority, last year. Brian Ross was heading the Hotels Association (a lobbying group that advocates for large venue owners) before taking up a vacant spot on the CLAGCA that was open for a legal representative.

It’s all quite strange really.

Maybe Mr Souris should stop hanging out in the pokie parlours, head to one of the great small bars that are dotted right across Sydney and try a decent drink for once.


Tim Philips is Australia’s first ever World Class bartender.

It has been an exhausting week here in Rio de Janeiro, but our boy has come good and taken the 2012 World Class title as his own.

The whispers had been building over the week; the strength of his Bill Murray Blue Label bottle serve, a standing ovation from Gaz Regan in cocktail mastery for the frankly wonderful presentation that is the Reincarnation flip and frankly diamond chat all week meant there were many who were casting an eye his way in the challenges.

It wasn’t all perfection. A failed blaze on day one shook some of the confidence from Tim, and a Ramos Gin Fizz produced beautifully but sadly sans Gin meant the decision heading across the causeway to Isla Fiscal was anything but a sure thing.

Tim is a deserving winner. He brings creativity and hospitality together in a way that will always have me visiting his bar, wherever it is. (Just quietly, he’s about to open doors on his own)

I’ll be the first to admit I whooped when his name was read out, he’s allowed the handful of Australians that made it to Rio to be a real part of his journey and we’d been talking him up proudly all week. It felt personal to the team and we’ll be celebrating tonight with him.

The win will change the course of Tim’s life in ways he’ll only now be starting to appreciate. It will mean travel and profile for him and it will mean great drinks and hilarious stories for us. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

It’s also something the whole of Australia should be proud of. Tim is a representative of an increasing strong national style. The other bartenders who took part in the Australian World Class comp and anyone in the lucky country who aspires to making a better drink will benefit from the exposure Tim’s win will bring.

I’ll be writing up the week Tim’s had in more detail, with pictures of the drinks and some of the other competitors in the coming week. Now, I think it is time for a drink. Responsibly.

Competitions, Event

Timmy Philips, for the win

It’s the last day of World Class in Rio.

Tim Philips is the talk of the comp, followed by a number of TV cameras that suggests presidential infidelity or allegations of doping.

He’s smashed out a series of amazing drinks over the course of the week. The Rum Cannonball pictured above in the Tiki Challenge, or the cricket ball leather smoked Affinity, or the frankly astounding Ressurection Flip.

It’s a long week, and the media schedule has taken it’s toll but he’s managed to stay focused and is putting in world class performances again and again. for up to the minute coverage of the final day, and the announcement later tonight.

Big thanks to Addie Chinn for this great photo too.


Johnnie Walker, in the style of Bill Murray

Tim Philips entered the World Class Global finals in Rio yesterday with a bold splash.

There cannot have been many bartenders in this level of competition who would stand in front of Peter Dorelli and admit to having no idea about the drink he was about to make, and no conception of the flavours it would exhibit.

It was all an elaborate ruse however. Tim’s drink was an interactive experience, inspired by the chancy life of Bill Murray.

The judges rolled dice, picked a poker chip from a bag, and spun the key of fortune to discern their exact drink out of an astonishing 216 possible combinations offered up by six bitters, nine syrups and four infused ices.

The drink was stunning, the chat platinum. I believe that is what you call a good start.


Del Maguey Tobala Mezcal

Honestly lifted from High res pictures of Tobala are hard to find.

A belated post this one. A friend and erstwhile professor slipped a bottle of this rare and delicious liquid in as a wedding present when the love of my life and I tied the knot, some six months past.

It takes about eight tobala pina to equal a single azul or espadin pina. The tobala hearts will be buried over hot stones and left for 30 days, instead of the regular 5. Once they’re exhumed, the hearts will rest in a shady spot under a tree absorbing microbes from the air. Think of this then, as sourdough fermentation.

After around a week, the hearts will be crushed and fermented aerobically in an open vat, with around 10% village water added by volume.

Once it leaves the still it is perhaps the most complex thing that hasn’t seen the inside of a barrel available anywhere on earth. Fruity, smoky, peppery and spicy. Some folks even say they get a floral hint, from the roses that grow near the fermentation tank.

Honestly stolen from a tobala that has escaped the high country and made it to San Fransisco

Tobala is a special little plant. The roots secrete a mad little enzyme that is powerful enough to dissolve granite. Often when it is taken out of the ground there are pieces of rock fused to the root structure. Some would even say that the minerality in the flavour profile owes something to this ability to dissolve a rock that we have used for benchtops or even temples.

The plant grows wild in a tropical microclimate over 8,200 ft. So that’s almost 1000 ft higher than any point in the lucky country.

It’s like a truffle. It grows in shade, only under the branches of an oak tree.

It really is a must try if you come across it.


The Private Walker

I have a couple of friends who complain about visiting Perth and finding a fruit accompaniment on the side of every serve, admittedly they’re from Melbourne and tend to think anything that can’t be reached on a tram can’t be up to much. It did however raise a smile when I noticed that the Perth entrant  came with a bright orange fruit accoutrement.

The drink sounds as though in would work well, and I’m a sucker for a PX rinse these days, perhaps the subliminal use on Masterchef masterclasses is making an impact.

The Private Walker

45ml Apricot Infused Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
10ml Bertrand Nougat Liqueur
5ml Maple Syrup
Dash of Walnut bitters
Dash of Peychauds bitters
Pedro Ximinez (Alvear) rinse
Apricot soda and nougat on the side

This drink was created as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label in Australia. Eight bars, across the country, were selected to receive the liquid ahead of general trade and had the chance to come up with a signature serve to make the most of the spirits versatility and showcase their bars style and service.

Competitions, Event

Holy fucking shit.

Apparently, you can go home again.

Cocktail World Cup is coming up once again.Talk to anyone who’s been, to compete or otherwise and they’ll tell you about a rollocking good time, bookended by equal parts of gut wrenching fear and Fergburgers.

The global cocktail contest is oft copied these days, but everyone agrees that the CWC, with bungy jumping, helicopters and jetboats is an all round good time.

Each annual edition has teams from round the world, rounded up to compete as nations in teams. This year however, there will be a Startender team, open only to those who have attended before.

Think of it, a chance to right old wrongs, relive past glories and maybe even find that last shred of dignity you left, hanging upside down in the rafters of Bar Up.


Tequila. Mexican Food. Put them in your mouth. Preferably, at the same time.

Love tequila? Next Tuesday should be a treat. Six courses, Herradura and El Jimador tequila, $70

That is a sweet deal friends, get amongst.

Send you requests for bookings to or call 02 8021 9750


Legacy by Angostura

Is the bottle in middle the world’s most expensive bottle of rum?

It is certainly pretty special by any account.

A select blend of seven of the brand’s most special and rare liquids have been bottled to celebrate 50 years on Trinidad’s independence. They have been aged in once used American Oak ex-Bourbon casks at the Angostura facility in Trinidad. The youngest rum has been aged a minimum of seventeen years. It all sounds rather tasty really.

The product of a six year experiment in blending, the Legacy arrives in a quite incredible decanter, made by Asprey, the Prince of Wales’ jeweller.

There are only 20 bottles available around the world, and only one available in the lucky country, it will be auctioned and the expected price will be in excess of $25,000

If I’ve piqued your interest, the online auction will be held by Langton’s, Australia’s leading liquor auctioneers from Friday 29 June and closing on Friday 13 July at 6pm.

I’m going to get a taste of this apparently, so look out for a second post covering what exactly a $1000+ tot of rum tastes like.


Burns’ Supper


There was a trend last year in the final rounds of Australia’s World Class competiton to serve whisky and meat together. Both the fattiness and the nutty characters that come out in preserved meats lend themselves delightfully to a wee dram.

It would also be fair to say that I am a big fan of getting dinner and a drink when I order a cocktail. It is always a pleasant surprise.

This drink from Kal at the Laneway sounds good enough to get on a plane to Brisbane for. The addition of a wee plash to the whisky pays off big with this member of the Walker stable as well.

Burns’ Supper

45mls Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
10ml Mineral Water
Iberico Shoulder Jamon wrapped around a hand rolled grissini
Buffalo Reggiano
Candied Hickory Smoked Kalamata Olives

This drink was created as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label in Australia. Eight bars, across the country, were selected to receive the liquid ahead of general trade and had the chance to come up with a signature serve to make the most of the spirits versatility and showcase their bars style and service.


The Devil’s Cut

Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit a hallowed hall where whisk(e)y is subjected to that most wondrous process, the application of age, will have undoubtedly heard of the “angel’s share”.

The coined phrase refers to the amount of liquid that evaporates over the course of the years. This lost liquid, the distiller’s lament, has been an accepted cost for character, tannins, vanillins and the other tasty treats that vodka just simply doesn’t have.

Jim Beam have attempted to turn the tables with Devil’s Cut. Using a special process that they’ve been kind enough not to document, they’ve managed to extract some of the lost liquid that has hidden out in the barrel’s wood. They’ve then blended that with a 6 year old aged bourbon from the warehouse, putting it squarely between the white and green label expressions.

The result is a characterful, almost smoky expression. The colour is deep and dark and looks wonderful in a glass.

It carries a high proof for a non-bond bottled American whisky, at 90 proof (45%abv) it’s the highest standard bottling you’ll lay your hands on.

At $45 from Dan Murphy’s, it’s well worth adding to your shelf.

Cocktail, Melbourne

The Kilmarnock Pearl

Sven Almenning’s venues in Sydney and Melbourne are gaining renown for their abilities in putting up cocktails that match and extend food items from their kitchen.

The pepper bitters lift the drink, and the oysters into a really tasty place. Egg white and pineapple gives great mouth feel.

The Kilmarnock Pearl

50ml Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
30ml Pineapple Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
20ml Chargrilled Pineapple Syrup
3 dashes pepper bitters
Egg White
1 Oyster

This drink was created as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label in Australia. Eight bars, across the country, were selected to receive the liquid ahead of general trade and had the chance to come up with a signature serve to make the most of the spirits versatility and showcase their bars style and service.

Awards, Spirit, Sydney

Dram it! Whisky will flow on the streets of Sydney.

You could be a lover of whisky, or just wanting to learn a little more about the Scottish spirit, or maybe you’ve realised that it takes more than a little of Obama’s tailoring style to pull off a convincing Don Draper.

Regardless of which bucket you sit in, the 2012 Whisky Show is the place to scratch the itch that a dram or to in your past delivers. 17 exhibitors, 150 whiskies, $50 gets you in and 10 tasting vouchers. Delicious.

For tickets and more info, I’d suggest a visit here.

Cocktail, Sydney

Zeta’s Signature Serve

If you’ve ever been to Zeta, you’ll know that they’re not shy of a bit of theatre and have a deep and abiding love for drinks that create a sensory impact, for the customer and everyone else in the room.

The Zeta Signature Serve certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Zeta’s Signature Serve

60ml Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
Peat smoked ice
Star Anise
Vanilla Fog

This drink was created as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label in Australia. Eight bars, across the country, were selected to receive the liquid ahead of general trade and had the chance to come up with a signature serve to make the most of the spirits versatility and showcase their bars style and service.


Johnnie Walker Platinum Label

The Johnnie Walker family has a new member and it comes in a pretty attractive bottle.

Platinum Label sandwiches in between the Gold Reserve and Blue Label. You’ll know this because the heights of the bottles tell the story, should you be lucky enough to have a set on your shelf.

It has been developed to connect with the emerging palates of Asia and give them a new option, and probably take a tilt at the Chivas led legacy in many of those Eastern locales. They’ve used the heritage of the Johnnie Walker Private Blends, a practice of small batch blends for special customers and venues as a jumping off point as well, and you can see the presence on the neck and badge, and taste it in the blend as well.

You’ll get plenty of citrus, in a liquid that lends itself to experimentation and cocktails. It’s pretty heavy on Speyside in the blend, so if you’ve felt some love there before this one is probably worth checking out.

The profile can come off a little flat as it nestles in a glass on its own. Add a splash of water and you’ll be rewarded with a more open whiskey and somewhat surprisingly, a lift in the presence of the trademark Walker smoke and a pleasant salted caramel.

It’s well worth picking up if you’re looking for an easy drinking, exceptionally crafted whisky that you can roll into any time of the day or night.

While it might be a few more days that you’ll have to wait to find a bottle in the wild. $85 will get you one in SYD duty free, should you be lucky enough to be departing this fair isle. RRP outside of duty free will be around $129



This guy is World Class. Again.

The results are in and once again Tim Philips has come out on the top of the pile in Diageo’s World Class competition.

He’s holding the beetroot he used to stain his Sesa-Who, Sesa-me Sour at Sokyo for the food pairing.

Big love to Angus Burton and Dr Phil, taking out second and third places respectively.

The quality was amazing this year and the drinks were tasty as anything.

More photos and stories to come.



Around the World

A couple of faces were conspicuously absent the launch of Diageo’s Australian finals of World Class last night.

Chris Hysted was busting out cantinero style drinks on the island of Cuba. The man from Melbourne took out third spot in the global comp. Well deserved recognition at a global level.

 The second omission from proceedings was Jess Arnott of Victoria Room in Sydney, who was at that moment in flight as a wild card entry for the G’vine global comp kicking off in Cognac today. Can’t wait to see her name in lights at the end of the week.

Great to see Australasian talent stepping up on a world stage.