The Eau de Vie cocktail book is here

Eau de Vie cocktail bookLast April I wrote about a cocktail book that was an idea looking to be realised. Well now it’s here as the latest addition to the crowd funded cocktail library.

It looks fantastic. You’ll have to visit the bar in Melbourne or Sydney to pick yourself up a copy.

$45 will get you the book. Best take along $100 so you can have a few drinks while you’re in.

Well played lads.



Eau de Vie Batched Cocktails – Coming soon to a sofa near you.

1102699_10151873086473593_562789140_o What’s better than a cocktail that looks as fantastic as this, served perfectly in a great little bar at the back of the Kirketon Hotel on Darlinghurst Rd?

Having one in the comfort of your own home.

What a wonderful happenstance today with two little bottles of joy arriving express, courtesy of my favourite Norwegian. A bottle each of the first batch of bottled cocktails. One Coconut & Banana Old Fashioned and a Cold Drip Negroni. 1461550_10151722735971300_856670940_nBoth bottles went in the freezer, and I’m sipping on the Cold Drip Negroni, as I write this. Tanqueray, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and a lick of cold drip single origin coffee.

Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not really a fan of twists on the Negroni, most just seem tanke away from the deliciousness that is herbal, floral and bitter all at once. It’s not like it’s missing something. Really, what is the point of fucking with something so close to perfection?

However, the cold drip gives a rich earthy flavour that sits down with the other three ingredients like it was born to it. There’s even a hint in the note from Sven that the ambition is to one day sell these down the offie, so everyone will be able to enjoy a taste of the good life at home.

I’m not sure I’m willing to transfer my allegiance from the classic yet, but I will be heading down to try one of these in situ very soon. You should too.

Eau de Vie. 229 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

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!



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, 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.


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.

Awards, Bar, Sydney

I was drinking at the best new cocktail bar in the world on Friday night, where the hell were you?

Great news for the Australian small bar movement overnight, with leading light Eau de Vie snatching the honours at Tales of the Cocktail in Nawlins. This is an absolute testament to the house that Sven Almenning has built, and the quality of the talent producing drinks behind the stick there.

Sipping on a blue genever maitai with wintergreen essence on Friday night, the innovation, cheek and service were all in full display. This is a bar that revels in delivering world leading drinks in a way that stands out.

If you haven’t been, now would be the time. If you have been, at least you can say you knew about it before it was world famous.

Hearty congratulations for an amazing result.

Press release follows…

Eau-de-Vie was last night named as the World’s Best New Cocktail Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
The awards are held annually in New Orleans, and are internationally recognised as the industry’s biggest and most influential awards worldwide.

The Darlinghurst small bar was amongst stiff competition, with only New York City venues as other nominees:

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar

●      1534, New
York City, New York

●      Dram, New
York City, New York

●      Eau de Vie,
Sydney, Australia

●     The bar formerly known as (Painkiller),
New York City, New York

Sven Almenning, owner of Eau de Vie said ‘It’s a huge honour to be recognised on a global level like this, and the team and I are overwhelmed with the response we’ve had to Eau-de-Vie. We set out to create a small cocktail bar where quality of drinks and service are king… I hope that we’re helping to drive trends on a global level rather than just following whatever’s happening in London and the U.S which have typically been seen as the leaders in our industry.’

Apart from World’s Best New Cocktail Bar, Eau-de-Vie was also nominated for two other awards including:

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

●      Artesian at
The Langham, London, England

●      Eau de Vie,
Sydney, Australia

●      Mayahuel, New
York City, New York

●      Sanctuaria,
St. Louis, Missouri


World’s Best Drinks Selection

●      Artesian at
The Langham, London, England

●      Cure, New
Orleans, Louisiana

●      Eau de Vie,
Sydney, Australia

●      Employees
Only, New York City, New York

The awards and nominations are affirmation of what Eau-de-Vie prides itself on. With an extensive and intricately designed cocktail list, and an all-star team (which is fronted by Luke Redington), Eau-de-Vie is thrilled to have been recognised with such gusto in its first year and a half of operation, since January 2010.

On top of this news, the team is excited to announce that Eau-de-Vie Melbourne is opening soon. Come October, Eau-de-Vie will be venturing south with a new venue opening under the supervision of industry heavyweight Greg Sanderson. Having been in behind the bar for over 12 years and coming from Melbourne establishment Black Pearl and prior to that Mur Mur, Sanderson will take over the new venue in Melbourne CBD.


To have a drink at the best new cocktail bar in the world, you can go to New York, or Darlinghurst.

Heartfelt congratulations to Sven Almenning and the team at Eau de Vie, picking up not one but three nominations in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards overnight.

These awards really are the global stage and nominations for Best Cocktail List, Best Drinks Selection and Best New Cocktail Bar are a testament to a bar that sets out for perfection and delivers it to both a capacity room and lonely drinks nerd, perched at the bar.

Time to start practicing your Sazeracs and book a ticket to N’awlins boys…

Southern Hemisphere also represented by Naren Young for Cocktail Writing – Author & Sam Ross for Best International Bartender, but you’ll have to visit New York to see either of them.

You can read the full list of nominations here.

Cocktail, November is Tequila Month


Great upload from the team at Eau de Vie today. Seeing as I’ve been writing about tequila this month it seemed only apt that I look the gift horse full in the mouth and drink it down. This fantastic cocktail is garnished with a Murray River salt rim, which helps the drought stricken farmers a little too.

A cocktail you can drink and feel good about at the same time, brilliant.


Pour a decent measure of Don Julio Blanco over ice and top with freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and the aforementioned Murray River salt rim, which you’ll probably want to sort out first, as rimming is tough with a full vessel.

This is a great example of an Eau de Vie drink. You could order it anywhere, and some people might even know how to make one off the bat, but it will be brilliantly finished and perfectly made down the back corridor of the Kirketon Hotel, and refreshing like you wouldn’t believe.

Cocktail, Sydney

Dr Phil blazes away

Dr Phil took out the first slot at the Diageo World Class Sangrita Rituals in Sydney last night. While I wait for the photos from the night themselves to write a full wrap up, you can enjoy the cocktail stylings of a man who really understands getting the most out of a spirit.

Bar, Sydney, Training

An Introduction to the Malts at Eau de Vie

Eau de Vie has been my favourite slice of Sydney’s drinking scene for more than a few months now and they still manage to surprise, impress and intoxicate me. So it was, with a bright smile and a deep sense of anticipation that I headed down the Darlinghurst Road once more and in to Eau de Vie for a appreciation of Single Malt Whisky, led by the charismatic frontman and booze afficiando, Barry Chalmers.

I’ll write about the six malts we sampled next, but I just wanted to share some of the finer points my diminutive Glaswegian orator shared in his thirty minute epistle on the finer points of supporting his homelands economic well being.

We started with a history of spirit. From our man in the middle east, the moorish expansion, the information superhighway that monastic tradition bestowed. Eventually the Exchequer Rolls, and a record of about 1500 bottles of aqua vitae or water of life, and conversely eau de vie, natch. 1500 is a reasonable run, so it had most likely started some time before that.

Barry has a superb and well spoken grasp of the role of whisky in overcoming the tyrannies of distance and harsh terrain. It’s role in building a transportable economy in Scotland. A short revision of history, covering the Act of Union, the facts running somewhat different to everyone’s favourite anti-Semitic Australian’s blue faced cinematic, shall we say, revision. Taxation, evasion and eventual systematic establishment and the distilleries as we know them today.

Production next, with grain, through three steps of the malting and mashing process on show. A quick beer distillation in a tiny onion top copper still, cooled through a worm tub sets up a quick but quite thorough discussion on the different types of still, the effect of shape, height and ornamentation has on finish and final product.

Finishing next, a freshly toasted stave handed round, scents of vanilla rampant. We all got lost in forests and finishing effects from charred out woods that had hosted American, French or Spanish. It was agreed by all that green wood that hasn’t had it’s share won’t work.

Appreciation then. A light sniff, as nose in glass will knock your blinking socks off. Try over the back, over the glass and just in front. I do remember it smelling different things, but I’m unsure if there’s method to the madness. A sip, coupled with a lovely quote delivered in an accent broad. “You have to figure out if the whisky is a winding path through the forests of your mouth or a great fooking dual carriageway.” Attributed to Dave Broom, but Barry will always own it in my eyes.

Through the six, with stories and myth around each. A great education and a fine way to spend an evening, finished with a slice of cheese and a final Penicillin at the bar.

If you’re keen to be involved in this type of nonsense, the best way to keep up to date and aware is to become a member of the Eau de Vie Facebook page as they’re pretty good at making sure the events are on there.  They’ve got 574 fans now, so make me look good and join in your thousands…

These events are paid for, but for your hard earned wedge, you’ll get a little bit of learning, a little bit of drunk and a little bit of snacking. $60 has been the norm thus far, but they’ll be up front about that.

There is also a winter drinks session, being led by Dr. Phil next wednesday, so come along and join in.

Cocktail, Event, Melbourne, Sydney

World Cocktail Week.

On the 13th of May, 1806, the word cocktail was first defined in print. The paper that printed the word was called The Balance, and Columbia Repository. It was volume V if you’re interested. The truly passionate amongst you might even want to jump on Google books and read the original here. The word appears on both page 142 and 146.

This little word has employed a lot of people, and intoxicated even more. It is in that spirit that people gather for a weeks worth of festivities around this most important day in the mixocoligcal calendar to mix, pour, shake, learn and most importantly imbibe!

It is a happy event for Australia this year, with more than a few bars getting in on the action. Here’s what I’m aware of thus far, I’m happy for people to add stuff in the comments if there are one’s I’ve missed.

I’ll be at Eau de Vie on Thursday for sure.

Monday May 10th

Eau de Vie – Classic Vintage

Eau-de-Vie opens the spirit cabinets, offering great classics made with rare and hard-to-find spirits from the house collection.

7pm-9pm, $80pp (Includes food & 4 Cocktails)

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Tuesday May 11th

Eau de Vie -5 Cocktails Every Man Should Know

6pm-8pm, $ 75pp (includes food & 5 cocktails)

Hosted by The Dr & Sven Almenning

Eau de Vie, Private Whisky Room.

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

The Den – Vintage Cocktail Night

Merivale head mixologist Mikey Enright and Mixxit mixologist Jason Crawley, will host four veteran bartenders, Ben Davidson, Dylan Howarth, Simon McGoram and Marco Farone to mix vintage cocktails in The Den.

$70pp includes cocktails and canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Hemmesphere – Tequila Masterclass

Brown Forman’s brand ambassador Shae Silvesto and Hemmesphere’s very own hombre, Sebastian Derbomez, take guests through the history of Tequila before hosting Tequila tastings and demonstrating three Tequila cocktails, including the classic Margarita. Ole!  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

The Den – Vintage Cocktail Night

Merivale head mixologist Mikey Enright and Mixxit mixologist Jason Crawley, will host four veteran bartenders, Ben Davidson, Dylan Howarth, Simon McGoram and Marco Farone to mix vintage cocktails in The Den.

$70pp includes cocktails and canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Wednesday May 12th

Eau de Vie – Cocktail Degustation Evening

Enjoy 4 sublime cocktail and food pairings

7pm-9pm $ 85pp (includes food & 4 cocktails)

Hosted by Elle Wormald & Maximillian Greco

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Hemmesphere – Gin Masterclass

Learn more about those obscure juniper berries when gin specialist Ben Davidson and Gin Garden mixologist Paul Mott discuss the history of gin, host top-shelf gin tastings and show guests how to shake up three classic gin cocktails.  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Sand Bar & Slip Inn – Bourbon Masterclass

Take a trip through the Kentucky cornfields as  Beam Global’s bourbon specialist, Jarred Plummer, talks about the USA’s most famous spirit and its history. He’ll also demonstrate how to make the most of bourbon, sharing some of his favourite bourbon cocktail recipes.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Tiki Cocktail class

Learn to master tropical cocktails served in pineapples or coconuts as Nick Van ‘Tiki’ Tiel – a seasoned Tiki specialist and Reserve’s brand ambassador – and Mikey Enright talk through the history Polynesian pop culture and demonstrate how to make the perfect Pina Colada, Mai Tai and Zombie.  Each student will have the opportunity to make a Tiki classic cocktail and the winning cocktail will take home a Tiki Drink set.

$70 includes 3 cocktails including and canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Thursday May 13th

Eau de Vie – Martini Masterclass

A look at the development of this enigmatic drink, the styles, history & how it is made today.

7pm-9pm $ 75pp (Includes food & 5 martinis)

Hosted by Barry Chalmers & Nick Fury

Eau de Vie, Private Whisky Room.

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Ivy – The Magnificent 7 – ‘The final shootout’ – World Cocktail Day

One of Australia’s leading bar-training-programs, Mixxit, is gearing up for the final leg of a competition that has attracted some of the country’s finest bartenders. The winner of the Magnificent 7 competition will fly to New York and attend the world famous five-day BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource).   Guests are invited to come down and cheer on their state finalist and see some of the best Australian cocktail makers battling it out on the main stage at ivy. The seven finalists: Anita Strother,Byblos, Brisbane; Edward Murphy, Baden Powell, Melbourne; Erica Richards, Crown & Sceptre, Adelaide; Richie Brenton, Charlie’s Bar, Melbourne; Nick Edwards, The Lark, Brisbane; Christian Blair, Crown & Sceptre, Adelaide; Luke Reddington, Hugos Bar Pizza, Sydney.

6.30pm, Thursday 13 May at ivy, level 1, 320 George Street, Sydney

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Ivy – Vodka Masterclass

Oliver Stuart, Russian Standard Vodka’s brand ambassador and Bartendermagazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2006, will talk through the subtleties of his favourite spirit and share three fantastic vodka cocktail recipes.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Friday May 14th

Ivy Pool Club – Luxury Vodka Masterclass

Moet-Hennessey’s Garth Foster and Jimmy Sakajani from ivy’s Pool Club show guests how to make the most of luxury vodka with three favourite vodka cocktail recipes. They’ll also host a tasting of different luxury vodkas.  

$70pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

Saturday May 15th

Lotus – Rum Masterclass

Pernod Ricard’s cocktail guru and brand ambassador, Ben Davidson, and Lotus’ award-winning mixologist Petr Dvoracek will conduct rum tastings before guiding guests through the art of making the perfect pina colada, daiquiri and a surprise rum cocktail.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000

The Den – Whisky Masterclass

Pernod Ricard’s cocktail guru and brand ambassador, Ben Davidson and The Den’s resident mixologist Nico Darras show you how to make magic with a splash of whisky. They will demonstrate three classic whisky cocktails, including the Rob Roy and Bobby Burns.  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit or call 02 9240 3000


For four weeks in the month of May, 1806 in Melbourne will showcase the evolution of this remarkable cocktail from the earliest mentions, to the most modern molecular interpretation.

Just to give you an idea of how much of a following these events get around the globe, here’s a video from the Museum of the American Cocktail, who have really been the driving force behind the event and its slow global rollout.

World Cocktail Week ™ NYC from Lush Life on Vimeo.