The Third Drink of Christmas:The Cummins Cocktail (or the Great Australian Hope Cocktail)

An evening with Chris Hysted has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences in Australian drinking. The cheeky Melburnian brings flavour and chat in spades to any drink you’re lucky enough to tease out of his head and hands and into your gullet, as it were. These days, you can find him tucked away upstairs in the Attic, or resplendent downstairs at the Black Pearl.
When I asked him to contribute a fine beverage for this little experiment in networked drinking, I had high expectations. High like my adopted home of Australia has in it’s cricket team, high like a donkey grazing in a field of marijuana, high like Charlie Sheen on a Monday morning, High, well, you get the idea.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve not been disappointed. The cocktail he’s delivered is not only the first in the wild mention I’ve seen of Bundaberg 5, but also has a healthy dose of Hysted’s cheek to boot. Served in a stubby, reminiscent of his signature creation, the grounds for divorce, this is a cocktail that could be unassumingly sipped at a poolside bbq, relaxed on the embankment or even nestled gently behind the stumps of a beach day cricket match of your own.
The true genius, and cheek, relies on the alternative carbonations of the cocktail, depending on who is winning the cricket between Australia and New Zealand. You’ll also need some quick hands to shake the drink at 154kmph, but don’t let that stop you from trying.
It’s my belief that the Cider forward variation is certainly superior, although it seems unlikely that many of you will get to try it out if you’re following the instructions that came with the drink to the letter. Maybe the Kiwi’s will bat first on boxing day, or you could sneak one in the next couple of hours while New Zealand has the lead in Hobart.
Either way, it has to be the best use of Fosters Lager this side of the Chapel in London.
The Cummins Cocktail (or the Great Australian Hope Cocktail)
30ml Bundaberg 5
75ml Mildura Brand Apple and Guava Juice
Dash of Bitters.
Shake at 154kph and Fine Strain in to a Beer cup/Stubby of your choice.
Then add 60ml Carbonation.
40ml Fosters Lager / 20ml Monteiths Crushed Apple Cider when the Aussies are up.
40ml Monteiths Cider / 20ml Fosters Lager on the rare chance the Kiwis are ahead.
Consume on Boxing Day with either a cold snag in bread or a cold chicken wing along side your chilled beverage.
Boom shanka!
Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: The Black Pearl

Last week I jumped a plane to Melbourne for a weekend of shopping, eating and drinking. You know, the things Sydney’s southern sister does so well. Top of my list was a trip to the charmingly disheveled suburb of Fitzroy and Australia’s award winningly best bar, The Black Pearl, to catch up with Australia’s award winningly best bartender, Chris Hysted and the other members of Australia’s award winningly best bar team.

Sometimes when a place wins a slew of awards, things start to fall apart. The foot comes of the accelerator and the drive that propelled them to such giddy heights falls away leaving a sad, lame duck. Painfully mixed metaphors aside, this is most certainly not the case with the Pearl. Perhaps because there has seemingly never been a foot on the accelerator, but more likely that the bar is stocked with fine spirits, both in the bottles on the back bar and inside all the staff, the Pearl delivers a level of comfort that’s hard to come by and pretty much impossible to fake.

This then, is place to feel at home.

The bar itself is a tardis of soft seats and couches, but if you’ve come as a one or a two, take a seat at the bar, hang your coat and bag on the hooks under the counter. The bar team are all tremendous fun, the patrons a close second and if there is a tiny moment you’re not fully engaged, the cycling CCTV screen can prove to be entertaining.

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