It’s World Cocktail Week! That’s right, a week dedicated to celebrating the wonderful cocktail.
Kicking off in Sydney on May 4th Keystone World Cocktail Week has been host to a number of weird and wonderful events with over 3000 participants. It will run until Sunday the 13th of May.
The World Bar Chat Championships, Yep…you read right, has to be my favouite event of the week. Eight of Australia’s best bartenders, including Melbourne’s own Chris Hysted ( from Black Pearl) battled it out to see who had the best bar banter.
Anyway…it is no secret that I love cocktails, and it doesn’t take World Cocktail Week for me to celebrate these delicious creations, but celebrate I am.
In an attempt to find out more about the Cocktail and exactly what those in the know have to say, I decided to talk to some of Melbourne’s most loved bartenders, restaurateurs, chefs and industry folk. My request was simple…what are you drinking right now? It was no surprise that the answers were as varied as the cocktail itself. Some had a simple answer while others found it more difficult to choose. I even got a response of “I like beer and bitches”…but that was only a joke thank goodness.
So fearless readers, I bring you a list of favourite cocktails from those who make them, shake them, supply them, drink them, pay the hand that makes them and even those who review them. Enjoy…
Ash Cranston and Steed Sherriff, Co-Owners of Rose Diner and Bar in Port Melbourne, aren’t sharing drinks. Ash likes to sip on a Sweet Manhattan on the Rocks while Steed notes the Zombie as his favourite.
Nathan from Black Pearl says that his favourite cocktail at the moment is a Whisky Mac – equal parts Whisky and Ginger Wine.
Lachlan from Lily Blacks tells me that they have been creating some of the more obscure classic cocktails lately and since World Cocktail Week they have been particularly enjoying the ‘Claridge’ – 30ml Dry gin, 30ml Dry Vermouth, 10ml Countreau and 10ml Apricot Brandy, stirred over ice and served in a chilled coupette, as well as the ‘Brooklyn’ twist – 50ml Rye Whiskey, 15ml Dry Vermouth, 15ml Ramazzotti and finished with Maraschini Liqueur. Stirred over ice and served in a chilled coupette with a grapefruit twist.
The guys over at The Age Good Bar Guide (Out June 9) like to keep things simple with a Dry Martini made with really good gin.
Speaking of Gin, Jeremy from The West Winds Gin told me a favourite drink depends on his state of mind, location and venue. This being said he loves a Ramos Gin Fizz, The Bramble and if hungry says a Dirty Martini is as good as an entrée and a drink in itself. He highlighted that every day should contain at least one G&T.
Stuart from The Victorian Café in Albert Park reaches for a New York Whisky Sour – which he told me was Makers Mark and a dash of Shiraz, adding the ‘New York’ part of the title.
Greg Sanderson, the General Manager over at Eau de Vie is excited about the new American Whisky they have been using. They have been making some classics, specifically the Sazerac, the Old Fashioned and the Manhattans. They are really enjoying playing around with different Whiskies, bitters and vermouth to create different combinations.
Cory Mitchell from Peak Bartending likes to keep things old school with an Old Fashioned. He uses 2oz of Wild Turkey Rye (or Woodford Reserve) Whiskey, 1 sugar cube and 3 dashed of Angostura Bitters. Muddle, stir with ice in a chilled rocks glass and garnish with orange twist.
Sofia Levin – Writer of Poppet’s Window and Lead Writer at Agenda Daily – is a woman after my own heart and thought that one drink of choice was simply not enough. A Hendricks Gin and Tonic with Cucumber, an Earl Grey Martini or an Old Fashioned will win this little lady over.
The guys over at 666 Vodka are staying warm with the Impossible Sazerac – 10ml Matuselem Blacnco Rum, 50ml 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka, a dash of Peychaud’s Bitters and 10ml of sugar syrup. It is all stirred over ice and strained into a chilled rocks glass that is rinsed with absinth. They recommend you enjoy it in front of an open fire.
Nick Reed, Bar Manger at 1806, is keeping things classic and simple with a Makers Mark Mint Julep.
Alex Adams AKA Ms Darlinghurst the founder of Secret Foodies in Sydney didn’t hesitate in her answer: a Sazerac.
Tony Twitchett, Executive Chef at Taxi Dining Room loves one of their new cocktails on the menu, the Mezcal Rosita that is made of Illegal Reposado Mezcal, Campari, and sweet and dry Vamouth with a twist of lemon. Served straight up.
The guys over at The Alchemist Bar on Brunswick Street were a little excited by the question. For a classic cocktail they went for the New York Sazerac: 30ml Bourbon, 30ml Cognac, 10ml Sugar Syrup and two dashes of peychauds bitters, served in a pre-chilled Absinthe-rinsed rocks glass with a lemon twist…stirred.
Two favourites off their new winter menu were the Fire in the Hold which is spiced rum, Grand Marnier, white chocolate liqueur, yellow chartreuse and whiskey barrel aged bitters all set on fire and blazed between two jugs, the second is the Royal Blush which is spiced rum, Pedro Ximenez, cranberry juice, orange and punt e Mes, served cold.
Nicky Riemer, Head Chef at Union Dining likes her classics and enjoys a Negroni.
Michael over at The Everleigh is loving their Daiquiri #5 which is made of lime, Maraschino Liqueur, house made pomegranate syrup and light rum. They have also just added an offshoot of this to their menu called “Casablanca” which has the addition of Angostura Bitters.
The Bar manager at Longroom Melbourne opts for a Rum Old Fashioned, while another staff member told me they were drinking a few too many Chilli Chocolate Martini’s.
Benny McKew, former bartender at 1806 and now a fresh face at GoGo Bar (beneath Chin Chin) told me his favourite drink is a Plymouth Gibson. This is ice-cold gin with a splash of dry vermouth and garnished with cocktail onions.
Louise from Honey Bar in South Melbourne is loving “The Can Can’ – Raspberry puree shaken with Chambord black raspberry liqueur and De Kuper Butterscotch Schnapps topped with pressed apple juice.
David from The Lui Bar at Vue De Monde is loving the Negroni, and if you order it there, you will get Campari coated almonds on the side.
Well there you have it folks. I don’t know about you, but I think in celebration of World Cocktail Week I am going to start at the top of the list and work my way down…who’s with me?
Happy drinking to all!