Ketel One presents Eau-de-Vie at Taste Sydney

Taste Sydney has always been a place to expose your palate to new tastes and sensations. Increasingly (and happily) it is also being used as a brand showcase for the finest in tippling too. Interesting move here from Ketel One, partnering with Eau-de-Vie to serve up some of the most amazingly tasty cocktails in town to festival goers. I’ll be making a beeline there to be sure.

This all seems to be part of a very deliberate move to involve the brand as an interface between the drinker and a great experience, in bar, at home or anywhere that might occur.

Anyways, they have a nicely written release that explains all about it, which I’ve cut and pasted for your reading pleasure.

The *World’s Best New Cocktail Bar, Eau-de-Vie will be brought to life at this year’s Taste of Sydney Festival by the crafted ultra-premium Ketel One® vodka. Ketel One Presents Eau-de-Vie will bring a piece of Sydney’s burgeoning small bar culture to the festival guests.

Ketel One will be showcased through a selection of five signature cocktails including Eau-de-Vie’s number one selling cocktail from 2011, The Mesha (pictured above) and the Windmill Punch (pictured below).

Upon stepping into Ketel One Presents Eau-de-Vie, guests will be transported to a boutique-sized version of the cocktail bar featuring replica décor including a version of Eau-de-Vie’s centerpiece, the communal table.

At the helm of the bar will be Eau-de-Vie’s awards winning team lead by Luke Redington, accompanied by the Ketel One National Brand Ambassador, David Beatty. Australia’s best and most amicable bartenders will be onsite to treat guests of the stand to the regular decorum, theatre and craftsmanship practiced at Eau-de-Vie.

Ketel One vodka will also unveil Ketel One Bar Tours – an exciting new program that celebrates Sydney’s developing bar scene – at the  Taste of Sydney Festival. Hosted by food and drink experts, Alex Adams (Ms Darlinghurst) and Simon McGoram (Booze Braggart), Ketel One Bar Tours are a unique and sophisticated way for Sydney-siders to explore the city’s best bars with two people who have intimate knowledge of this growing scene.

So be prepared to learn more about how you can discover the city’s best small drinking establishments for yourself when you visit Ketel One presents Eau-de-Vie at this year’s Taste of Sydney Festival.

Session 1:   Thursday 8 March: 5.30pm – 10.00pm

Session 2:   Friday 9 March: noon – 4.00pm

Session 3:   Friday 9 March: 5.30pm – 10.00pm

Session 4:   Saturday 10 March: noon – 4.00pm

Session 5:   Saturday 10 March: 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Session 6:   Sunday 11 March: noon – 5.00pm

Tickets and more details on the festival here.


One day you will. Glenfiddich Rich Oak.

Glenfiddich likes to think of itself as a pioneering brand.

The single malt was first bought to the international market in 1963 and ever since it has owned a position as best known, highest selling and most awarded. It was with no small degree of excitement that I accepted an invitation to join Ian Millar, the brand’s principal storyteller and distiller for the Australian launch of the 14 year old Rich Oak.

The tasting was spread over a delicious dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill. On the whisky front, we were invited to sample a dram of the 15yr old Solera and given a short but rousing presentation on the Glenfiddich distillery.  The next part of the tasting involved the two whiskies that are married together to produce the Rich Oak. Presented at cask strength, the Spanish Oak (58.2%abv) and American Oak (60.2%abv) finishes were discernably different, despite a relatively short period of six to twelve weeks against the virgin wood.

For those of you wondering what the hell that means, you might have noticed a trend in the market to “finish” whiskies in a barrel (cask, hogshead or butt are also common terms) that has contained another product, say port or sherry or bourbon. With Rich Oak, Glenfiddich has set out to showcase what the wood itself, untouched by other liquid can add to the flavour and finish of the whisky. These virgin casks deliver a lot of flavour in not a lot of time and the resulting liquid is quite delicious.

Following on from the cask strength tipple, which was conducted blind (as in blindfolded) we got to wrap our lips around the finished product. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it had wood present in nose and taste, but not in an overly tannic way; plenty of fruity floral notes, an established hallmark of the Glenfiddich family of scotches.

The tasting notes probably offer slightly more in the way of colour to this story.

  • Patiently matured for 14 years, Rich Oak is then delicately finished for 12 weeks in untouched American and European oak casks – an innovative first for the single malt Scotch whisky industry.
  • Initially spicy oak notes and rich vibrant vanilla. Hints of freshly sawn wood and dried fruits, raisins and apricots. With time, some softer toffee notes appear caramelised pear and gentle fragrant floral aromas.
  • Mouth tingling and spicy on first tasting. The rich vanilla sweetness is followed up with zesty fruit flavours and some wood spice. The taste is very lively and the finish lingers for a long time with warming, oak notes.
The Rich Oak will retail in Australia for a touch under a hundred bucks.
The evening continued with the range of Glenfiddich whiskies being offered up. 12yr old, Rich Oak 14yr old, 15yr old Solera, 18 yr old, 21yr old, 25yr old, 30yr old and as an astonishing and final treat the 40yr old.
Best Whisky tasting. Ever.
As a final piece of interest for the event, the brand recognised five Australians. It will be interesting to see how this platform is used going forward, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed talking with Tim at my table about his Everest experiences.
I’ll let their press release tell the rest of the story:

The five ‘Pioneering Australians’, selected by Glenfiddich, were announced as:

· Tim Macartney-Snape, legendary mountaineer from the Southern Highlands, NSW. Tim was the first Australian to summit the world’s tallest peak, and later became the first person to climb it from sea level.

Australian Value: Achievements in life are a product of their talents and efforts

· Nick Galli, designer from Canberra, ACT. Nick designed a new product to prevent spinal injuries for snowboarders called ‘A New Angle’ – a product that he is hoping to adapt to other sports.

Australian Value: Supports Australians love of sport

· Rebekah Campbell, social commerce entrepreneur, lives in Sydney, NSW. Rebekah is the CEO of Posse.com, an e-commerce business which links musicians, venues and events with consumers.

Australian Value: Supports Australians enjoyment of visual and performing arts

· Michael Zarimis, musical inventor from NSW. With no music background, this forward thinking genius came up with the idea of using a digital guitar to bring to life the sounds of electronic music

Australian Value: Australians have a strong record of innovations

· Professor Peter Newman, sustainability expert from Perth, WA. Peter is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and best known for his work in saving, reviving and extending Perth’s rail system

Australian Value: Caring for the environment in the pursuit of public good

The “One Day You Will” campaign aims to inspire people across Australia to pursue their own dreams and fulfil their own pioneering ambitions.

Glenfiddich Marketing Manager Roman Vargha said: “Our mission is to truly be pioneering, by challenging convention in everything we do. Following the success Glenfiddich has enjoyed globally with this campaign, we were keen to find Australian Pioneers that also represented a true Australian value(1).

Each Pioneer was presented with a personalised bottle of Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak by Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassadors Ian Millar and Barry Chalmers, making a rare visit to the country from Scotland to launch the product in the Australian market.

Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassador Ian Millar, said: “When we began our hunt for our ‘Pioneering Australians’, we searched for five people that were truly innovative in their respective fields. Glenfiddich has sought to recognise these amazing Australians by personally acknowledging this”.

“Congratulations to Tim, Michael, Rebekah, Peter and Nick on becoming Glenfiddich’s inaugural ‘Pioneering Australians’. They are Pioneers in the truest sense of the word.”

(1) As outlined on the Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship website (http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/values/)

Industry News, Training, Wine

Know your bubbles.

In 2010, Champagne imports to Australia totalled 3,687,140 making Australia the 9th largest export market for Champagne.  Recent figures also show that per capita of Champagne consumption is one bottle for every seven people, placing Australia in the top five countries for Champagne consumption in the world.

I know I drank more than average so that must mean that many of you just aren’t drinking your fair share. One way to rectify that, and maybe learn something along the way, would be indulge yourself in a Champagne Masterclass.

The Champagne Bureau will mark the beginning of Spring with a series of Champagne master classes across Australia. The classes will provide a forum to taste and discuss a selection of non-vintage, vintage and other unique styles of Champagne wines. All for only $60.

Classes will be taken by winners of the Vin de Champagne Award. Organised every second year by the Champagne Bureau, the Vin de Champagne Award seeks to find Champagne ambassadors who will share their knowledge and encourage the enjoyment and appreciation of Champagne in Australia.

In Australia, The Champagne Bureau represents the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC). The Bureau’s main role is to educate trade and consumers on Champagne wines, along with promoting and protecting the world-famous Champagne appellation.


Monday 22nd August 2011
The Hilton Hotel 488 George St Sydney, Level Two The State Room
TIME: 6.00 – 7.30PM
PRESENTERS: Huon Hooke and Greg Plowes


Monday 29th August
Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins St Melbourne, La Trobe Ballroom
TIME: 6.00 – 7.30PM
PRESENTERS: Kate McIntyre MW and Martin Williams MW


Tuesday 30th August
Sofitel Brisbane Central, 249 Turbot Street Brisbane
TIME: 6.00 – 7.30PM
PRESENTERS: Prof. Tim Sullivan and Martin McAdam


Wednesday 31st August
The Apothecary, 118 Hindley St Adelaide
TIME: 5.30 – 7.00PM
Presenters: James Smith, Jane Bromley and Dr. Patrick Iland


Friday 2nd September
Frasers, Frasers Ave Kings Park West Perth
TIME: 6.00 – 7.30PM
Presenters: Lexie Thompson and Steven Leslie


T: (02) 9555 8891  F: (02) 9555 8959

Event, New Zealand

The Luck of the Irish

The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup is all about making extraordinary cocktails in  extraordinary environments. Many of the challenges are judged on the originality and creativity of the drinks, but when it comes to measuring the skills of a true bartender, one drink sets the benchmark- the classic Martini. “Modern Martini’ was the fourth challenge in the 2010 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, the eight teams all preparing their version of the timeless drink.

The panel of four international judges recommended contestants keep things simple for this round, and that was exactly what the winners did. The competition’s loveable, if slightly loud, rogues- Team Ireland, taking it by the slightest of margins. Their appropriately titled ‘Kia Kaha’ (meaning ‘stand strong’ in Maori) was made of 42BELOW Pure, Lillet Blanc and sprayed with a Feijoa mist. In typical Irish style, the team came up with their winning entry on the bus on the way to the event! “I’m truly blown away to have won tonight, we’ve been gutted every time we have lost a challenge, we really wanted to do this for each other” says Team Ireland big man Andy Wall. US Bartender of the Year and our esteemed judge Jim Meehan said the Irish entry stood out for its simplicity and elegance, “it’s a drink I would be proud to serve in my bar,” said Meehan.

The Modern Martini challenge was the first event to be held in Wellington in the lead up to the grand final on Saturday March 27th, where the teams will prepare their signature drink for a live audience.

The convoy of bartenders, international judges and media had the ultimate ending to the Queenstown leg of the cup, being taken by helicopter from the Skyliner Gondola to the airport for their own rock ‘n’ roll charter flight. It was an inflight experience like never before, passengers provided with rock star wigs and glasses while sipping on a 42BELOW ‘Aviation’ cocktail and listening to AC/DC on takeoff. The plane was met by a scrum of local ‘papparazzi’ as they transferred to their stretch limos for a brief tour of the capital. “It’s the closest we’ll ever get to being real rock stars. I’ve never been treated so well before,  it was stupidly good,” says Australian team member and the country’s bartender of the year Chris Hysted.

Kia Kaha

50ml 42BELOW Pure
20ml Lillet Blanc
42Below Feijoa Vodka mist