At home, Bar

The Best Home Bar on Earth. Period.

Oh what a night! Such sights, such tastes, such happy day!

I remember reading a great piece Camper English from Alcademics wrote on putting together the perfect 5 bottle bar for apartment dwellers. I’ve never been able to keep my collection that tight, and thankfully, either has Jason Chan, owner of Melbourne’s fantastic Batch, Star Wars figurine and rare spirits collector.

I was lucky enough to be invited to his apartment for dinner. I have never been gladder of anything in my life than taking that invitation, well, with the exception of my birth and making the acquaintance of a certain C. Barnes.

Jason is a collector. He has shelves, draws, cubbys and corners. All chock full of the finest spirits the world has managed to produce. I’ll write about some of the highlights over the coming weeks, and the drinks nerds among you will probably be able to identify some of the bottles on the table, Tricentennial, Zacapa 30th Anniversary, Macallan Quarter Century, Richard Hennessy, El Tesoro De Don Felipe Anniversario Extra Anejo. Truly, spectaularly awesome.

Jason is an encyclopedia of booze. Who’s made them, how they eeked out that little bit more special a spirit than anyone else. I picked up a Rittenhouse 25yr old Rye, “Life changing” I hear behind me, “Single Cask – Green Apples, Massive.” Memories of taste and mouth-feel catalouged away for what must be bottles in their thousands. He says he wants to be a distiller. I’m sure as hell signing up to whatever he decides to turn his hand to producing.

Jason also has a passion for food. His venues aside, he produces cheeses and bread, acknowledging local provenance. The hand pulled Mozzarella is creamy, the Persian fetta divine, the triple cream, OMG‡. His rabbit, turned with rustic green olives and cream over quality pasta, the perfect foil for just a few more nectarous nips.

Just enough time to get this gem of a photo, holding a tiki vessel that Jason thought most closely matched me (not sure if it was the size, the shape or the 1 litre volume that prompted that) before going to visit some of Jason’s favourite bars.

Epic, memorable and amazing night. Many thanks.

‡ not something I use lightly.

Cocktail, Competitions, Sydney

The Whale

Pierre Fajloun is old beyond his years. The 24 year old isn’t showing premature signs of aging, his boyish smile and complexion are very much a product of his youth.

Where his age becomes apparent is in the way he mixes drinks. I went and visited him to try the cocktail that won him the Australian leg of  the Ketel One section of Diageo’s World Class series.

While I was in New Zealand at Cocktail World Cup, Vernon Chalker of the Gin Palace gave a talk about the martini. His rules were Two ingredients, three at the most, with a garnish that adds to the drink. This, then, is very much a martini.

The Whale is named for the large windmill that sits atop the Ketel One Distillery in Holland, and Pierre’s choice of glassware echoes its size perfectly. I didn’t ask Pierre for the measures, but hopefully my memory serves me well enough and you can have a crack at this at home.

The Whale.

50mls Ketel One, 10mls Lillet Blanc, 1 dash Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters. Stir over ice and pour into a licorice rimmed glass.

The licorice rim is made by combining fresh ground Fennel and Star Anise with Demerara Sugar. Pierre used lime juice to increase the adhesion on the rim.

Pierre has matched the aniseed note in the drink to make an intoxicating vodka martini. The two ingredients with the aromatising bitters are teased further by the garnish and the crunch of sweet demerara sugar as you lick your numbed lips clean is truly delightful. If all vodka martinis tasted like this one, I’d see the point in drinking them.

Definitely a drink worth tracking down…

The full press release is after the jump.

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