Bar

The Backstairs Inn.

The BackStairs EntranceNot by any means the newest bar on the Sydney drinking scene but one that pour hospitality in good measure across their bar.

They will serve you fancy drinks, but for me at least this bar is about whisky. If you get bored, have a beer, then move back onto whisky. They have many whiskies here, different people have different stories. The only place you’ll find more of the aged liquid in one place is at a distillery.

My favourite seat is at the end of the bar near the door, the bar kinks and allows these two special seats a view down a bar. Keep watch as the drams are poured and you’ll see what a professional at work really looks like. They lean into a conversation, share an education or a friendly remark and pour.

Peruse the lists for a favourite, or feel free to drop your brand or your favourite style and let them be the firm hand on your tiller as you navigate their whisky sea. I’ve found that often the whisky I’m after isn’t available, but they do have a age above it, or some rare expression to gulp down. It’s enjoyable upselling, and the bar is a truly great place to go and drink with a good friend.

Head down the alley towards what looks like certain doom for the first time visitor. To your right at the end you will see the door in the picture above, if you’ve come drinking at the times that everyone else does, you’ll probably spend a time in the queue.

Head down the Backstairs and find a non-descript door that opens in onto drinking heaven.

An early mark from work will be rewarded with a swift entry. Stay until they carry you out.

The Baxter Inn. Basement/152-156 Clarence St. 4pm-1am.

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Spirit

Ron does not mean Rum (this time, it means Scotchy Scotch)

run-burgundy-scotchy-scotch-xlThis just in, the biggest news in drinking this year.

Riveria Imports in the States has released Ron Burgundy Scotchy Scotch Scotch: Great Odin’s Raven Special Reserve, just ahead of the film’s theatrical release this month.

It is bound to be bold, brash and occasionally inappropriate. Luxuriant to the touch, with the scent of rich mahogany.

While the movie might be comedy it appears that the product isn’t (at least entirely.) From the Press Release:

Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky is not a novelty —it is a fine Scotch product more than comparable in quality to other blended Scotches at its price point. It is crafted and bottled in Scotland from a 60% malt and 40% grain blend by Old St. Andrews Distillery, featuring whiskies from Speyside, Highlands and Islay. Not just for Anchorman fans, Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky is produced for budding Scotch connoisseurs and traditional Scotch enthusiasts alike. 

Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky sells for approximately $25.00 a bottle and is available in 750 ml size only.

Stay classy.

 

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Spirit

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Machir-Bay-2013I’ve been meaning to write about this since it crossed my desk a couple weeks back.

I’ve been quite taken with the liquid, and as I’ve dug a little deeper, the story behind it is great too.

Kilchoman is a young distillery, built in 2005 by an established single cask bottler, Anthony Wills.

His idea was to take whisky back to its roots in Scottish farmhouses and by opening the first new distillery on Islay for 124 years, he’s done just that. Rockside Farm grows around 30% of the distillery’s grain, which is malted, peat dried and mashed on the property. The remaining grain comes from the maltings in Port Ellen, making this a truly 100% Islay expression.

Machir Bay is their standard bottling, and exists as a 2012 and 2013 vintage. The idea being to pick up fans and allow them to see the change in the spirit as it, along with the distillery itself gets older.

Aged for 4 or 5 years in ex-Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whisky, with the 4 year old barrels being finished for a month in Oloroso butts from Miguel Martin in Jerez. The whole process, from field to bottle, takes place at the farm which gives the liquid a delightful sense of place.

They’ve a touch over 3,000 cask maturing as we speak, and a annual production of 100,000 litres leaves them languishing near the bottom of the table in terms of output in today’s whisky world.

What you get is a delightfully smooth golden liquid that flows from the bottle like there is a hole in the bottom. There’s smoke on the nose, but it is more restrained than many of it’s island bretheren.

The peat is balanced with floral notes too. In your mouth there’s sweetness, spice and smoke, finishing out over a fair distance.

If it tastes this good as a 4-5 year old, I am looking forward to tasting it at 10, 12 and beyond.

The 2012 won a pile of awards, and the 2013 is getting better reviews, so expect to see it pick up medals to match it’s gorgeous colour as the year rolls on.

$144 from the World of Whisky in Sydney.

There is also a 10,000 bottle special edition called Loch Gorm that delivers a more smoky and medicinal side to this fledgling brand. Definitely one to look out for.

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Cocktail

Honeyed Heather

The launch of the new Johnnie Walker Blue was a great opportunity to hear a few good stories about the brand.

It was also a great opportunity to enjoy some delicious Pear Old Fashioneds. It sort of drove home to me that the worst fate a bottle of scotch can have is to sit at home not getting drunk.

You don’t need to do much to to it, slight tweaks to bring out some different parts of the spirits flavour profile.

Honeyed Heather

50mls Johnnie Walker Blue Label, 10mls honey syrup, 7.5mls freshly squeezed lemon juice, a single dash of Boker’s Bitters.

Stir down over ice and strain up into a chilled glass. Lemon peel garnish and a good time.

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