Tim Philips is Australia’s first ever World Class bartender.

It has been an exhausting week here in Rio de Janeiro, but our boy has come good and taken the 2012 World Class title as his own.

The whispers had been building over the week; the strength of his Bill Murray Blue Label bottle serve, a standing ovation from Gaz Regan in cocktail mastery for the frankly wonderful presentation that is the Reincarnation flip and frankly diamond chat all week meant there were many who were casting an eye his way in the challenges.

It wasn’t all perfection. A failed blaze on day one shook some of the confidence from Tim, and a Ramos Gin Fizz produced beautifully but sadly sans Gin meant the decision heading across the causeway to Isla Fiscal was anything but a sure thing.

Tim is a deserving winner. He brings creativity and hospitality together in a way that will always have me visiting his bar, wherever it is. (Just quietly, he’s about to open doors on his own)

I’ll be the first to admit I whooped when his name was read out, he’s allowed the handful of Australians that made it to Rio to be a real part of his journey and we’d been talking him up proudly all week. It felt personal to the team and we’ll be celebrating tonight with him.

The win will change the course of Tim’s life in ways he’ll only now be starting to appreciate. It will mean travel and profile for him and it will mean great drinks and hilarious stories for us. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

It’s also something the whole of Australia should be proud of. Tim is a representative of an increasing strong national style. The other bartenders who took part in the Australian World Class comp and anyone in the lucky country who aspires to making a better drink will benefit from the exposure Tim’s win will bring.

I’ll be writing up the week Tim’s had in more detail, with pictures of the drinks and some of the other competitors in the coming week. Now, I think it is time for a drink. Responsibly.


The best not rum you’ll ever drink

The trans-Tasman border is porous my friends.

Porous like the staves of a barrel which must hold a spirit for two years before it can legally be sold or called rum inside the Commonwealth of Australia. This statutory peculiarity perpetuates an advantage held by a certain ursine rum producer nestled in this country’s North.

Cue then, a small and cheeky upstart.

Stolen Rum have a new product in their range, SX9. Named for, and inspired by the traditions of the Nine Nights in the Caribbean (the traditional period of mourning when a body lies in state and the family and friends gather to celebrate a life that was and suffering that is no more. The ninth night precedes the church service and burial, it also is call for a terrific knees up during which the attendants swig un-aged overproof rum and the deceased spirit is believed to pass through party and say its last goodbye before moving on.

Heady stuff indeed.

SX9 is pot distilled in Jamaica from a molasses base. The distillates are then hand blended to deliver a complex lime and raisin nose and a young banana and pineapple finish in the mouth. The finished product is bottled at 65% abv, seemingly enough to ensure you can connect with poor dead uncle Isaac as he floats across the living room, if not join him yourself.

Which brings me back to the slightly incomplete fragment at the top of this article. Rum that hasn’t seen the inside of a barrel for two years cannot be legally imported nor called rum inside Australia’s environs. Rather than try to challenge this tremendous oversight using the CER framework agreed and signed on to in 1982 (NZ Apples have just managed to gain access after 30 years of trying) the team at Stolen have gone for the next logical solution and started print ads for folks willing to mule this illustrious liquid across the ditch.

Head to the Stolen facebook page for more info, and to sign up for some muling duties should the desire take you. (The pic below is linked)

You’ll not only get the undying admiration of your friends and family for signing up on the internet to become a mule, you’ll also recieve a fetching t-shirt so other Mules will be able to recognise you. No word yet on whether or not wearing a shirt with Mule stencilled on the front gets you a “value added” cavity search to really make your international travel memorable.

SX9 will only be available in bars for the next foreseeable future, failing a repeal of the rum laws, or a inter-country muling agreement with the staff of Dan Murphys.