Cocktail, Sydney

Zeta’s Signature Serve

If you’ve ever been to Zeta, you’ll know that they’re not shy of a bit of theatre and have a deep and abiding love for drinks that create a sensory impact, for the customer and everyone else in the room.

The Zeta Signature Serve certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Zeta’s Signature Serve

60ml Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
Peat smoked ice
Star Anise
Vanilla Fog

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.

Bar, Sydney


When is a bar not a bar?

When it’s the lobby of a restaurant.

I took my lovely lady to Etch last night for an after work cocktail and a little bite on what I had heard was the best bar snacks in the city. Entering the hushed enclave I declared my interest in the bar and was told that the assorted, plush but somewhat lobbyish chairs were the bar. When you are sitting there it feels like they’ve cannibalized some of the restaurant floorspace to try and increase revenue as the number of premium covers in Sydney falls off.

On the Drinks front, I started with a Brandy Crusta, and Chelsey ordered a Floral Fizz, the working bar that services the restauran makes the drink, and this is unfortunately situated out of sight. When the drinks arrived they looked exquisite, but my crusta was missing the collar of lemon peel that Jerry decreed and whose oils improve the drink no end. The Floral fizz fared better, the hibiscus sweetness matching the Aussie sparkles it came with. Round two entailed a Dry Martini, for me and the Passion Fizz for her. The Passionfruit syrup clashed alarmingly and the pips looked good but would have been better strained out of the drink. The tide was out on my drink, but it was cold, floral from the Bombay. The peel lacked the finesse which is obviously a hallmark of the food as well.

If that was where it ended, I probably wouldn’t have managed to write about the place at all. The bar snacks are exquisite. The warmed ball of goats cheese flavoured with Lavender and Honey was unreal. Perfect balance, explosive flavour. Quite simply, WOW. The duck rillette were formed in little quinelles and accompanied by crunchy little toasts. As Matt the Cravat would say, a symphony of texture, taste and mouthfeel.

While I was at the Cocktail World Cup in New Zealand, all the Americans there were talking about beverage programs at restaurants. While I thought it was largely wank then, it kind of makes sense to me now. The beverage program is about making sure the attention to detail, balance of flavours and aesthetic of the food service continues at the bar.

Etch, with its unbelievably good snacks could be Sydney’s best premium bar. They just need to put the bar in the back room, have a bartender you can see turning out drinks that look as good as the mains out the front.

As it is, a great place for a quick, quiet but stylish drink before you head off to the Opera.

62 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia. (02) 9247 4777

On Google maps, here.

Sydney, Training

Rum Club Redux

BacardiLast night at the Eden Bar and Restaurant in Martin Place, the Sydney Rum Club gathered for a tasting of the Bacardi portfolio. After a refreshing Mojito made by Bacardi Ambassadors’ Jeremy Shipley and Loy Catada.

After a short and somewhat informative presentation on the history of the brand and the innovations Bacardi bought to the rum industry (parallel process, where two base rums are produced at the same time and blended; charcoal filtration, to smooth the rough edges of the Devils Kin; La Levadura, the use of a specific yeast to ferment the blackstrap and water mash & deliberate aging, to add character, body and a smooth finish to the product.) it was time to drink the sweet, sweet liquor.

Starting with Carta Blanca (the famous white rum; banana, almonds and icing sugar on the nose; brunt wheat and vanilla on the palate with a smooth finish,) followed by Bacardi Oro (a gold/yellow rum; green banana’s on the nose; orange peely to taste and a warmer finish,) next came Bacardi Black (a brown/black rum; raisins and paint on the nose; rich caramel to taste running into a smooth finish,) next up was Bacardi 8 (a rich brown/amber rum with a nose to match, the 8 is smooth in taste and finish, perfect in old school cocktails like the old fashioned and smooth enough to drink on its own,) the penultimate selection was Bacardi Limon (clear, flavoured spirit not legally allowed to be called rum in Australia, macerated lemons give the spirit a heady zest, sweetening the final product to an almost liqueur like consistency.) The last rum in the tasting was Bacardi Reserva Limitada. This one was so good, it’s getting it’s own post.

The evening wrapped up with the announcement of the winner of the naming competition for the Rum Club’s barrel. Astonishingly, I carried off the win, a share of the barrel and a Rum cocktail experience at Eden. In 12 months time, the Governor’s Downfall will be ready, bottle with the owners name and serial number. There is enough rum for 33 bottles, and there are still a few left. $50 and a visit to Eden would probably secure you one, or you could email and make your case.

A quick hand shaken Bacardi Daiquiri and I was out the door before 9pm. A really enjoyable night, highly recommended.