Cocktail, Competitions

Shot Bro.

Great example of how to style a shot of a great looking drink from the Team at Club Suntory at Cruise bar on the 8th of May.

There are some other great shots of the day on their facebook page here, but for my money, the photo above is the best I’ve seen out of Australia this year.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to really drink the photo in.

The Royal Disaronno Diamond

by Adam Smith

Glass -Collins
Garnish – Apple fan
Method – Dry shake, then shake with ice double strain into a collins (no ice) and top with apple cider
Ingredients –
40ml Disaronno
15ml Remy Martin VSOP
20ml Magners Original Irish Cider
20ml cloudy apple Juice
1 bar spoon of brown sugar
1 whole egg

Here’s the whole lowdown on what was going on:

Stylish Italian drinks icon Disaronno is proud to announce Joel Hodge, bartender at The Goldfish Hunter Valley, is Australia’s Disaronno Mixing Star!  Each year, from Milan to Moscow and New York to LA, Disaronno scours the globe in the search for the world’s finest cocktail bartenders as part of their Disaronno Mixing Star competition.

Australia accepted the challenge in 2012 for the second time, as Disaronno) put the word out to all aspiring bar stars around the country. 

Scores of brilliant concoctions were tasted and judged, culling the impressive field of over 170 entries down to just 15 finalists – including some of the nation’s finest bartending talent. In true star style, the chosen competitors were flown to Sydney, chauffeured in limousines and indulged with VIP treatment. Last Tuesday May 8th, saw the challengers assemble on Sydney’s spectacular Circular Quay at the renowned Cruise Bar, the top floor of which was kitted out as a full production set. 

After complete make-up styling for the cameras, each finalist was tasked with producing both a single serving of the classic Disaronno Sour, as well as four identical servings of their original Disaronno cocktail. On hand with the pleasant but taxing task of deciding on a winner was the judging panel: from Milan, Disaronno Commercial Director Nicola Bini, Sun Herald Journalist Amy Cooper and Club Suntory’s Nigel Weisbaum. Each of the 15 finalists and their drinks were assessed on presentation, technique – and of course taste – before the judges got to deliberating on their final verdict. 

This competition has always discovered new talent, so for some of the finalist this was their first national cocktail competition, whilst the standard of the more experienced bartenders was extremely high. All the entries were a testament to the creativity of Australian bartenders. Continuing with their VIP treatment, the finalists were treated to a luxury Italian dinner in the private dining room of two hat Woollahra restaurant; LaScala. 
Nicola Bini commented “never before have we had such a difficult time in deciding was the winner of a national comp, the quality this year was exceptional”

The winner of the competition has an infectious story of his own. Joel Hodge from The Goldfish Hunter Valley had never even been to Sydney, let alone competed in a national cocktail comp. Now Joel will be off to Berlin to compete in the Global final in Berlin in July, and the possibility of appearing in a Bollywood production in India if he takes out the Global final! I’m sure you’d agree both destinations are a far cry from The Hunter Valley!!

As expected Joel was very emotional with his win, dedicating the drink to his Great Grandmother who was an avid Disaronno fan for many years. Joel also presented his drink in crystal glassware that belonged to his late Great Grandmother. 

2nd place was awarded to Joe Singara from Luxe Bar, Perth and 3rd place was Anita Strother from Malt Bar in Brisbane.


The Afternoontini

It’s been a quiet couple of months on this blog.

I have been getting my house in order as my love and I prepared for a fifty percent increase in the size of our family. Our little boy Otis turned up a week ago and I’ve been able to think of little else since.

My soon to be sister in law visited today, and asked for something cold, without any alcohol. I’ve made more than a few drinks that deliver on flavour without relying on liqour of late, so this is what I whipped up.

The Afternoontini

60mls Earl Grey Tea, 30mls cloudy apple juice, 30mls fig syrup, 22.5mls freshly squeezed lemon juice, 6 drops Boker’s Bitters. Shake over ice and double strain into a iced tea service. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve with tea and tiny cakes.

If you’re in Sydney, the figs are cheap and plentiful. Macerate 6 or 7 through a large strainer and combine with 500mls of simple syrup. Bottle and store in your fridge.

I have an enormous backlog of things to write about, and am judging the Gentleman’s Drink round of World Class in Sydney this month.

Stay tuned.

At home, Cocktail

Garden Party Punch

“One part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong and four parts weak and a pinch of spice” muttered the Hatter, waiting ever impatiently for something, not quite remembering who.

While this snippet didn’t make it into Carroll’s epistle, it is a valuable lesson in the construction of punch. It was passed on to me by Jacob Briars, vodka professor, chairman of the drinking classes and curator of the world’s largest collection of Hawthorn strainer springs.

I had a challenge of making punch for a hundred people. This recipe tantalized and intrigued, while being strong (and odd) enough to not be readily consumed by all in attendance.

Garden Party Punch (fills a 10 litre punch bowl)

3 750ml bottles of 42 Below feijoa vodka, 750mls fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1.5 liters elderflower cordial, 1.5 liters of cloudy apple juice, 1.5 liters of ginger beer.

The sober among you will know that only makes 7.5 liters. I’d suggest filling up 2 liters of that available space with a giant ice cube, done in layers with fruit or a fresh (non poisonous) flower. The remaining space should accommodate at least a cucumbers worth of thin slices, the adventurous among you could cut stars or other event relevant shapes. A good handful of ripped mint leaves will finish things off wonderfully.

Stir frequently and sip wisely.

The elderflower turns the taste of the feijoa up to the max, as my American cousins are fond of saying. If you don’t know what a feijoa is, I suggest a trip to New Zealand, where they are prevalent, or Chile, where they are native.

At home

Summer Loving

While the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the warming light of the sun, hot punch recipes are being dusted off. Some provide warmth, others exist solely to bring a tint of colour to the milky white skin of Englishmen.

Rejoice then, that you live in Sydney, where access to sun, surf, parks and beaches are plentiful and open to all.

As you head to any of these places, to meet in large groups or small, the default choice for refreshment is a six pack of coldies or a bottle of wine. I’d ask you to consider for a moment stepping outside of that norm and heading, replete, with a fine jar of tippling punch on your next park sojourn.

Punch was invented back when alcohol was so rough, punters only wanted to mask the flavour enough to get it down and start the glorious journey to intoxication, these days, punches in the summer or the winter showcase flavours of booze,  fruit and herbacious additives. Experimentation is the key here, perfect punch is a very fluid concept, go with what’s fresh and match the flavours as best you can.

Punches are best described in ratios, as everyone will have a different sized jar, bowl or bathtub, depending on the size of one’s frivolity, and frankly your ambition.

My Summer Punch

Fill a preserving jar with ice and slide slices of lemons, limes and oranges down the side with a barspoon. Add 2 parts Tanqueray Gin, 1 part Lillet Blanc, 1 part pomegranate juice, 1 part cloudy apple juice, 1/2 part fresh squeezed lemon juice. Garnish with mint, think bush not sprig.

The walk or drive to the destination should provide sufficient mixing.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your own punch combos in the comments.