The Chocolate Flip

It’s drinks like this that win contests.

The last drink that Tim Philips made in his journey to taking out the Australian leg of Diageo’s World Class was a Chocolate Flip.

My god, it was World Class.


A picture of concentration. Just kidding, that's a picture of Tim

A flip, for those who don’t know, is any wine or liquor shaken up with sugar and a whole egg. There are some out there who will believe that this type of drink is somehow unhygenic, and that there is some type of risk involved in the consumption. While I’ll not be having a ten flip evening any time soon, done right the drink delivers an amazingly silky smooth and rich finish, the consummate parts bound together in an altogether greater whole.

What’s also amazing is that not every flip I’ve had was as good as this one. Miss the double strain and you’ll have stringy eggy tendrils in your drink and between your teeth.

Perhaps the most amazing thing was that Tim managed to produce the beverage without wearing the contents of the shaker.

Robb Sloan buries his nose in the flip.

The Chocolate Flip

An ounce each of Sloe Gin and Talisker (Embury’s recipe calls for Cognac,) a spoonful of sugar and a whole egg. Shake with long sharp shakes and double strain it up or down. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.




The MacNicol

It was a week of fine drinks served up at the Diageo World Class Australia Finals last week. There are many great ones I’m going to try and write about, but one in particular has stuck in my mind. A dry apéritif  affair, stirred up by Angus Burton of the Waiting Room, in Melbourne.

The young Mr Burton qualified in one of the Brisbane rounds, and has spent some time behind the stick at Canvas. It’s a bar that keeps cropping up when I hear about great drinks and bartenders with compelling individual styles North of the Border, perhaps time to make a visit to warmer climes.

I digress.

Utter class in technique, Angus gave a twist on the Bobby Burns, a liqueured and bittered take on a Manhattan, American Whiskey changed out for Scotch. Using delicious Talisker as a base, dried out, but not too much by a smattering of Noilly Prat. Dry spiced sweetness from a waft of Mozart Dry and the amazing nutty Maraska Apricot Liqueur.

Talisker wonderfully showcased, that hint of smoke dancing at the finish. The salted caramel finish the experience, delightful.

The drink on the right was good too, a drying out of Zacapa, finished with rather delightful lavender and pineapple bitters. The delicious jamon, with flowers of salt, all wrapped around a matchstick of coconut, was part of a seemingly growing trend for meat garnishes. It is a trend I wholeheartedly endorse.

The scotch drink for me though, endures, named his own kilted roots. Gus was kind enough to share the spec with me, and here it is, below:

The MacNicol

45ml Talisker
15ml Noilly Prat
7.5ml Zadarski Apricot
7.5ml Mozart Dry
Dash of Rosso Antico (5ml)

Stir it down and strain into a cocktail glass,

Give it some orange zest love and discard the zest.

Drink it up.

Cocktail, Competitions

Don’t tell anyone, but it looks like Tim Philips is World Class.

Last week saw a three day contest of cocktails play out.

Mastery was tested and classics given a twist in a vacant, wintry Zeta.

Drinks were paired with some of the finest food to be had in Sydney at Rockpool, and almost uniformly garnished with dill.

Speed & taste played out at Victoria Room, and a minutes walk away at Eau de Vie, knowledge and execution of the classics rounded out the tests. World Class Australia has wrapped.

I was lucky enough to be involved across the few days, and there were a few things that stood out.

Firstly, the state of Australian bartending is excellent. Exposure to the movement that has been gaining momentum around the globe these last few years has come in the form of the Australian birthright of an OE, an ever increasing body of work online and in print, the investment by the liquor giants in expansive training programs and the small bar movement that has real momentum around the country, far beyond its spiritual home tucked down the lanes of Melbourne.

Exposure was manifest in the talent on show last week. Whether from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or WA, every single person behind the stick showed passion and ability that augers good things for the Australian bar industry and any punter wanting a properly good drink.

Secondly, there are few things as dangerous and as beautiful as shots of Jose Cuervo Platino flowing down a custom luge of ice.

Thirdly, it’s no longer the domain of just one person at the top of each comp. Second and third went to Dr Phil from Eau de Vie and Marco Nuñez from Canvas in Brisbane respectively. Phil is a brilliantly nerdy Wondrich-in-waiting, reading and researching voraciously while stirring up possibly the best half and half martini I have had in my my life. Marco brings undeniable charm and an energetic Latin flair that negates any need for tossed bottles, his drinks are epic too.

I’m sure the rest weren’t very many marks behind, there were standout drinks from all quarters. I’ll post some more of them as the photos trickle in.

Fourthly, I should not be left in charge of a bottle of Zacapa XO, ever. It will be as though it never existed, I will make no apologies.

Lastly, as they say in the Highlander, there can be only one. This time, that one is Tim Philips. ex Milk & Honey, ex Black Pearl, ex UK Bartender of the year, current flatmate of Robb Sloan and bartender at level 6 at the Ivy. Tim is a class act, attentive and outgoing behind and in front of the bar. Knowledgeable to a fault and in possession of a wickedly sharp sense of humour, visible in part over at his blog, drinktheshitoutofit. I wait in vain for him to start releasing instructional videos.

This one time Melburnian will now fly to the wonderfully vibrant country that is India to take place in the global contest to crown a new World Class bartender. The winner gets accolades, a book deal and plenty more. Best of luck Tim, I really hope you win.

At least maybe now people will stop spelling your name with two L’s.

Cocktail, Competitions, Sydney

Drinking with Gentlemen

Diageo’s World Class program seems to be going from strength to strength this year, and I’m not just saying that because I keep getting asked to judge the NSW rounds‡. The contest asks bartenders from across the country, or at least the Eastern seaboard, to create a excellent cocktail featuring a spirit from Diageo’s Reserve range. Points are attributed for recipe and efforts in marketing the drink, both in venue and on the slightly more new fangled social medias. 10 are then chosen to take part in state finals, where bartenders are judged by the other nine to decide a top three who will face the esteemed panel of judges.

It should also be noted that points in World Class are not only awarded for the quality of the drink, the innovation of the recipe and skill of its production. The Reserve range are all tasty products alone in a glass, as such the contest rewards those who feature and improve the natural state of the spirits. A great way to think about making any drink, in my opinion, at least.

The final round of this years comp was the gentleman’s round, where contestants were asked to feature either the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, the Ron Zacapa Solera 23 or the slightly shorter named Talisker 10. The event itself was held at Tokonoma, to coincide with the launch of their own Diageo Reserve cocktail list, of which I stole a copy and will expound on in greater detail in another post.

The three who made it through to the final round were all gentlemen; Tim Philips from the bar no one can go to, Luke Reddington for the bar that always wins and Luke Ashton from a bar upstairs from another bar. It should not however be construed that only a Gentleman could win, as evidenced by the success of Krystal Hart from Canvas in the QLD round (more on that from Simon McGoram, over here)

The drinks they made were epic. Luke Ashton channeled a snake oil salesman with gentrified, clarified, with not all ingredients specified elixir, served up in custom printed vials too boot. Luke Reddington used the most exquisite collection of equipment to make his drink, and gave me my first ever quail’s egg flip. Tim Philips also bought quail’s egg to the party and promptly covered his shirt and much of the Tokonoma Bar with his emulsion in perhaps the most incredibly epic fail I have ever witnessed behind a bar, contest situation or no. To his enduring credit, he rallied. Cracking three more quail eggs, and whipping out his Autumnal flip again with a suitably epic poem, producing the winning drink and earning a place in the national final next month. 

Pictures and recipes below. 
Royal Autumnal Flip from Tim Phil(l)ips from Level 6 at the Ivy

Ingredients & Quantities: .5 Fresh Fig (or Tbsp Homemade Fig conserve if unavailable,) 10ml Lemon Juice, 40ml Talisker 10, 30ml Zacapa Honey Liq. (Homemade,) 1 Whole fresh quails egg

Method, Glassware & Garnish: Add all ingredients, dry shake, then shake. Serve up and garnish with atomizer sprays of ‘Zacapa Cinna-man Eau de parfum’

The Foppish flip from Luke Reddington at Eau de Vie

Ingredients & Quantities: 40ml Johnnie walker gold, 20ml Lairds bonded apple jack, Half a barspoon of branca menta, 15ml of maple & champagne reduction1 whole quail’s egg

Method, Glassware & Garnish: Add all ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into a refined gentlemans glass and garnish with a dusting of nutmeg & a spot of fanfare
Ashtons Elixir No. 23 from Luke Ashton at The Duke

Ingredients & Quantities : 45ml Ron Zacapa 23, 10ml Amaro Ramazotti, 4 dashes homemade ‘Muddy Moonshine Stomach Bitters’

Method, Glassware & Garnish: Combine all ingredients in chilled mixing glass and chill and dilute with large ice cube. Orange twist into the glass (dropping orange twist into glass) Strain drink into frozen miniature labeled bottles, No garnish

‡Just kidding, i love the fact I get to judge cocktail contests. Can’t wait for nationals….

Cocktail, Competitions

Summer 2011 looks World Class in Australia

It’s easy to get stuck in a funk about the Australian summer this year. When there aren’t flood waters tearing through houses and livelihoods in four of the seven states, there is a super cyclone spinning its merry way down to rest atop the lucky country. It’s enough to make you feel like a drink.

Luckily, the Seasonal Summer Cocktail round of Diageo’s World Class has just come to an end. I thought I’d share the winning recipes and question just how much gay abandon is being shared between Sydney and Melbourne, when two drinks turn up and win with the Bloomsbury Moniker?

Anyway, let’s start with the recipes:

Luke Reddington, from Eau de Vie in Sydney placed first with his bogus beery bluffer.

‘Bloomsbury Bitter

40ml Tanqueray No. TEN
10ml Amaro
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
30ml White Grapefruit Juice
30ml ‘Beer’ syrup
Egg white


Shake, strain into a mini beer mug, top with soda.
Grapefruit zest oils and dandelion bitters on top

Chris Hysted, from the Black Pearl in Melbourne took out the Southern honours with his Joycian cooler.

‘Bloomsbury Cooler’


60ml Tanqueray No. TEN
15ml Greenbottle Elderflower Cordial
10ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
top w/ 90ml Carbonated Pineapple & Coconut Infused Green Tea


Build in Vintage Stemmed Fizz Glass
Stir Briefly over hand cut ice
Top w/ Carbonated Pineapple & Coconut Infused Green Tea
Garnish with a Curled Banana Leaf

Chris Denman, from Kerbside in Brisbane floated to the top with his tasty punch.

‘Aristocrats Punch’


180ml Tanqueray No. TEN
60ml Amaro Montenegro
60ml Agave nectar
60ml lemon juice
180ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
240ml Sparkling Mineral Water
8 dashes cherry and Chamomile bitters
4 cherries
4 barspoons caster sugar
The peel of one orange


Muddle Cherries, Orange peel, caster sugar, lemon juice, bitters and agave nectar together in the bottom of a Punch Bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix until there is no residue on bottom of the bowl. Fill punch bowl with Ice until approximately 1 inch from the top of the bowl. Mix with bar spoon again. Serve with ladle, on a tray, alongside 4 tea cups with an orange twist and cherry in each cup. Find 3 friends and enjoy.

Delicious drinks gentlemen. Can’t wait to make my comeback as a judge for the next Sydney round…