The Antipodes make a powerful impact in the Tales Spirited Awards

It’s that time of year again, and the fine folks who organise Tales of the Cocktail each year have announce the top 10 finalists for each of the categories for their much vaunted Spirited Awards.

If you click the link above, you might find it kind of odd that there are American and International bartender awards, and that international bartenders, like our own Sam Ross, who is working in America, and likely will be for some time, is not eligible to be not being considered for an American bartending award. It becomes less confusing, I suppose, when you remember that the Americans play a World Series of Baseball, which the Japanese and Mexican teams are not invited to compete in, while Japanese and Mexican nationals playing for US teams can. I hope that cleared things up…

Despite the oxymoronical nature of the previous paragraph, it is a great testament to the effort that has been put in building a bar culture down here on the other side of the world that the number of finalists has risen again this year.

Anyways, a hearty well done to the guys who’ve made the grade. Hopefully we can top last years efforts by Eau de Vie and bring home even more awards.

 American Bartender of the Year

  • Naren Young

Best American Brand Ambassador

  • Nick Van Tiel

Best Bar Mentor

  • Sven Almenning

 Best Cocktail Writing – Author

  • Naren Young

 Best International Brand Ambassador

  • Jacob Briars
  • Jamie Terrell
  • Manuel Terron

 International Bartender of the Year

  • Massimo Greco
  • Sam Ross
  • Michael Madrusan

World’s Best Cocktail Bar

  • Black Pearl –Melbourne, Australia
  • Eau de Vie – Sydney, Australia

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

  • Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
  • The Roosevelt – Sydney, Australia

World’s Best Drinks Selection

  • Eau de Vie – Sydney, Australia

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar

  • The Everleigh – Melbourne, Australia

Tales Redux 2011

Tales went by a while back, but I thought I’d aggregate some content as they say in the biz and share some of the highlights with those of you, like me, unlucky enough to have have been sweating pure Sazerac on the streets of Nawlins. A great narrative on the experience given by Jacob Briars and Sebastian Raeburn talking about Bitters in their double act in New Orleans. Check it out on Looka here.

The fine folks at Bacardi were kind enough to produce a series of videos at Tales too, for their True Originals content store. The one above this post is the Bitter pairing of Briars and Raeburn.

Briars interviews perhaps the man I’d most like to meet in all the drinking world, Ron Cooper. The man behind the mezcal.

The aggregation of posts on TOTC by TOTC 2011 award winning cocktail writer, Camper English, on his blog, Alcademics. You can see how many drinks he had at Tales, but I’d check out some of his notes from the seminars, particularly the Vinegar one…

Did anyone else find anything amazing written up?


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.


Time for Tales

By the look of my facebook feed, Tales is about to get underway…

Tales of the Cocktail is a yearly event to celebrate American and International Cocktailery. I have made a pact with myself to attend, but this year it will not be. Festivities kick off today in N’awlins, and if you’re interested in following the action, here are your best bets:

Camper English of Alcademics is attempting to keep track of every drink he imbibes during the four day festival. 4 drinks in the first two hours, I hope he’s not getting behind the wheel later…

Simon McGoram of 4bars fame is heading over. I hope he writes something while he’s there. Twitter might be as good as it gets though…

The Intoxicologist is in the house as well.

You can also read the Tales Blog as well.

Anyway, before jealous rants consume me, I’ll sign off and await some news…

Competitions, Event

Are you Spirited?

It’s just on a month until Tales of the Cocktail kicks off in New Orleans and I’m already three days late in pointing to the nominees for this years Spirited Awards.

Just in case you’ve not heard of Tales before, the conference is the shining light of the global cocktail calendar. It combines makers of fine drinks with the makers of fine spirit, those who hone their pens and twist their prose, the few and mind passionate enough to chase their passions around the world. Held in New Orleans, it is Mecca to the faithful, with Sazeracs.

There’ll be a few Australians and Kiwi’s making the journey and I’ll be channeling their coverage, thoughts and hopefully a little from behind the scenes.

Back to the awards.

Hat tips to Naren Young, once at the leading the bar at the Matterhorn Bayswater Brasserie and now up for recognition of his writing, most of which you’ll find on imbibe; Sam Ross, once of Ginger in Melbourne and more lately of Milk & Honey, NYC.

Also a tip to Jacob Briars, up for Global Brand Ambassador against some mighty company. Well deserved, best of luck and hopefully being a judge will help, pity Angus and John are judges too but.

*changes due to the Professor’s sharp eyes.

Cocktail, New Zealand

The Jumbo Mumbo

I wrote a few days ago about Ben Simpson’s amazing Gunpowder Rum, at last, the third and final of a limited series of cocktails that feature the unique spirit.

Ben entered this as a contender in this year’s competition to find the official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail is this Tiki inspired drink.

This drink is partly based on the Zombie and the Planter’s Punch recipe given in the Mr. Boston cocktail book.

The Jumbo Mumbo

30ml Man O’War Gunpowder Rum
30ml Lustau Don Nuno, Dry Oloroso sherry
15ml hibiscus syrup
2 lime wedges
1 ruby grapefruit wedge
2 dashes green tea syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Bitters
Rose Wine

Muddle the fruit with the syrups then add all but the wine. Shake with demonic possession then strain into ice-filled glass of appropriate Tiki-ness. Top with the rose wine and garnish with hibiscus flower, a cherry, grapefruit wedge, a wet mint sprig rolled in caster sugar, etc.

Cocktail, Competitions

Vote Goggin!

It appears that at least one of the contestants from 42 Below’s Cocktail World Cup last week is on his way to true global bartending rockstar status. James Sugarfoot Goggin, of the storied family Goggin, has become the first New Zealander to make the finals at Tales of the Cocktail, the pinnacle of this green earth’s drinking events.

I was lucky enough to be behind the bar in Queenstown for a little while. Goggin was struck by a bolt of genius and turned out a banana Sazerac, inside a banana skin. Somehow, methinks, this is not going to be the last Goggin recipe I post here.

Once Upon A Time

Continue reading


Tales of the Cocktail: Judging Panel released

Only 126 days until the world’s best cocktailing event and object of my ambition, Tales of the Cocktail commences in Nawlins.

The nominations for the Spirited Awards are now open and I think they’ll get a number of fantastic follies to fill the form. You can check out the categories here, and there is also a list of the judges, so you’ll know who to pay off, as well as short biographies, so you’ll have an idea of how much will be needed to tip them from interest to commitment.


Friday Fix from Tales – The Winter Sour

Winter SourSomething nice and new to try from N’Awlins. This recipe is by Chris Odeja of Varnish. It belongs to an article from Tales that you can read here, with some home truths about starting a bar. Like all of the drinks recipes, it doesn’t have a method, just a description. So again, this is how I would make it.

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40 mls Campari, 20 mls lemon juice, 10 mls orange juice (both freshly squeezed) 15 mls rosemary syrup. Combine over ice in a shaker and go to work on it. Strain it up or over ice. garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Making rosemary syrup: combine 500g sugar with 500 mls of water. hot, cold, boiled, your choice. I like to boil the water, take it off the heat and then stir in the sugar. Add plenty of fresh rosemary to the mixture and let it steep for at least an hour.

The end result should be a bitter sweet spicy symphony that warms the cockles of your heart.

Good weekend everyone.


The Creole Julep


Each year before Tales of the Cocktail, there is a contest to find the cocktail of the conference. This year the theme was Juleps and this is the little silver cup of perfection that took the prize. Why a Julep? David Wondrich summed it up pretty nicely on the tales site.

“The Mint Julep was the drink that put American mixology on the map, the thing that foreigners pointed to when they wanted to say something nice about the rough-and-tumble new nation on the western shore of the Atlantic. And originally, like most American inventions, it allowed for plenty of individuality and improvisation. With this contest, the Julep is back,”

But, I digress, Here is the recipe, created by Maksym Pazuniak, Rambla/Cure

2 1/4 oz. (70 mls) Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum
1/2 oz. (15 mls) Clement Creole Shrubb
1/4 oz. (7.5 mls) Captain Morgan 100 Rum
2 dashes Fee Bros. Peach bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
8-10 mint leaves
1 Demerara Sugar Cube

They haven’t put a method up on the site, probably because everyone at Tales could make this drink in their sleep. For the benefit of those that couldn’t I’ll go out on a limb, probably get things wrong and put down on the page how I would make this little tasty beverage.

In a silver julep cup, like the one pictured above, add the sugar cube, both the bitters, the mint and the Captain Morgan 100 Rum. Stir until the sugar starts to dissolve, but gently enough that you don’t bruise the mint and render the drink bitter. Next, I’d add the Creole Shrubb and some crushed ice. stir some more, a minute or so should do. Now I would add the Cruzan, and enough crushed ice to fill the drink to about half an inch below the rim of the julep cup. Stir until the flavours are well mixed. Top the cup with ice, not so much as to look like a sideshow ice shaving but enough that the drink is solid. Slap a piece of mint over the top, releasing the oils over the drink for an extra burst of flavour, add two straws and a garnish of mint from the top of the bush (so it looks nice.) Sip it down. Repeat.

This sounds like a labour intensive drink, and it is. But oh, so worth it.

For those of you that are wondering what Creole Shrubb is, and if you can’t find any where you are:

Take a bottle of Rhum Agricole (Rum made from sugar cane juice, as opposed to Blackstrap.) Add a handful of Creole spices (paprika, chilli, file, dried thyme & basil, cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder) Also add the peel of ten oranges, preferably dried in the Caribbean sun. It should taste, orangey, sweet and maybe even a little coppery or metallic.

I’m going home to make one now.


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Cocktail, Training

Tales of the Cocktail begins!!!

Some of you might have wondered what the Green Eyed Monster I posted earlier today was up to. Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s foremost conference, mass tasting and cocktail festival begins again today, in N’Awlins or New Orleans, to those who don’t speak Creole.

Part education, with icons like Imbibe! author, David Wondrich; 1806 owner and barkeep, Sebastian Reaburn; International Playboy bartender, Alconomist and Tanqueray 10 Ambassador, Angus Winchester; King of Cocktail, Essentials author and maker of the world’s best Irish Coffee, Dale DeGroff & not least of all moderator, bar chef and Professor of Vodka, Jacob Briars.

Part industry show, with pretty much every alcohol on my Oh My God list presenting, speaking or offering tastings at the show.

And part four day party, with events planned all the time.

I’ve got my ear to the ground, and I’ll try and post as much as I can about the wonderful events, while I start saving my pennies for next year.