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It’s seems like an eternity since I’ve managed to carve off a few minutes to craft a post  worthy of your attention. Luckily, the fine folks at Island2Island have sent me a welcome gift that has shaken the cobwebs and broken a months old writer’s block.

The front label carries a lyric from the obscure Dierks Bentley, a country musician out of Nashville, Tennesee. The marketing materials reference Joyce and the golden age of writers in Dublin as the inspiration for the liquid.

It’s on opening the bottle however that you get something special. A crafted blend of pot still and single malt whiskey from the hand and nose of Bernard Walsh, who also crafted the Irishman. For those of you who care, pure pot still is the result of both a malted and unmalted barley mash run through a pot still. It’s rumored not to have been chill filtered and does carry the slightest hazy hint in Sydney’s warmish weather today.

What you get is a lovely honeyed balance, a full but easy drinking profile that easily evokes the cold nights and broken dreams of Joyce’s Ireland. It is delicious and I think it won’t last long in my hands.

Dan’s don’t have it. The Oak Barrel don’t have it. I is delicious and you want. I’ll find out how you can get a bottle and post it up shortly.

Those of you in the trade, contact island2island direct.

They also have a 52% cask strength available. I bet that it’s delicious.

Sláinte.

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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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Cocktail

Friday Fix: ホットサワー

With 42 Below’s Cocktail World Cup just around the corner, I’ve been once again staring open eyed at drinks that show a level of commitment and creativity that frankly astonishes me. I’ve also been watching a lot of the Winter Olympic coverage, in stunning HD on Channel 9 here in Australia, and it was that coverage that led me to the Toronto View website, and this great article on the cocktail scene there.

I’ve got all the ingredients for this either at home or in one of the great Asian supermarkets downstairs from my office, so I’m off home to make one of these tonight. I’ve taken a small liberty in renaming the drink the Hottosawa in katakana, somehow I like it more than the Hot and Sour, which seems a little plain for such an amazing looking drink.

ホットサワー Hottosawa

½ oz Choya 23° plum liqueur (this is a umeshu-salt/sour/sweet liquer from Japan), 1 ½ oz Bulleit bourbon (I’m going to use Basil Hayden’s instead), 4 pieces nori seaweed, 4 or 5 drops of sriracha (this is a hot chili & vinegar paste from thailand. If you can’t find it, mash up chili, garlic, salt, sugar & vinegar. I’d start with equal amounts and go by taste), 1 pinch wasabi, 1 egg white, 1 ½ oz citrus (lemon and lime juice), 3 cilantro leaves (that’s Coriander to you and me), ½ oz maple syrup (this drink is from Canada, after all), ½ oz simple syrup. Combine all those over ice and shake hard to make a great foamy consistency for the drink. Stain it into an ice filled rocks glass

The one in the picture is rimmed with a mixture of powdered Miso, lime salt and nori (seaweed). Then further garnished with a sliver of nori, tobiko (flying fish roe) & ikura (salmon roe). You could probably use Masago (capelin roe) without anyone pulling you up. If someone does, take the drink back and pour them an eight ounce glass of  Blue Curacao.


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At home, Bottle Shop, Sydney

The Brothers Fee, now in Sydney

Fee Brothers Bitters

Mr Heinz built his global business on the strength of 57 varieties. Fee Brothers bring no less than 83 different cocktail products to the market. If you read much on cocktails being written around the world, it won’t be long before a recipe stipulates the use of one or more of them in the production of a brilliant new drink or a faithful reinvention of something from the distant past.

The company’s roots go right back to 1863 in San Fransisco, but mass production and distribution only really started during Prohibition when the Fee’s cordial flavourings were a popular addition to homemade hooch to cover up the heads and tails. Global scale has only really occurred since the mid nineties, where a change in labelling aligned with a global expansion of the cocktail business and a new generation of self styled mixoligists went looking for something a little different.

They grace the back bars around town easily enough, but I had been struggling to find them as a mere home enthusiast. Gouldburn Wines and Spirits now have it in stock. You can find them on Brisbane St, which is just off the lower end of Oxford St. Google Map it here.

The entrance might not look much, but the selection as enough to make you giddy.Anything you can’t find in Sydney, this would be a good option to track it down.

The taste profile of the flavoured bitters can be a lot different for those you might have experienced from the Houses of Angostura and Peychaud. I particularly like the Rhubarb Bitters, and I’ll be looking to build my collection and make some great tasty drinks.

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