THE MAGAZINE FOR MANAGERS, SOMMELIERS AND BARTENDERS EDITION 30 GREATER CHINA
Origins of Style
RIDE THE WHITE LIGHTNING Unaged Spirits
COMPETITIONS: Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin Patrón Perfectionists elit® Art of Martini
EWAN GUNN Global Whisky Master and ERVIN TRYKOWSKI Global Singleton Ambassador
WE’VE CUT THROUGH THE PHAT ON FAT WASHING
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Credits CREDITS Publisher Ashley Pini firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Welcome to the October edition of Drinks World Asia; pages packed with inspiring, informative and industry insights for you to digest and be in the know of what’s happening behind the bar.
Production Manager Sasha Falloon email@example.com General Manager Melinda Virgona EDITORIAL Associate Editor Hannah Sparks Assistant Editor Lukas Raschilla Editorial Assistant Stephanie Aikins DESIGN Senior Designer Racs Salcedo SALES For all sales enquiries please contact Ashley Pini on firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the last issue, the Australian leg of Drinks World’s T25 Bartedners has been celebrated, with a welcome dinner and epic launch party held over two nights honouring the top 25 bartenders in the country. Check out this years T25 on page 28 to see if you recognise any of these legends. No wonder we’re still in recovery mode, with T25 Australia coming straight off the back of the annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, we learnt a lot and give our two cents worth now on drinks.world. The focus feature this edition on page 12 is rum. This time we take a look at the rum discussions going on all around the world in regards to classification and style and gathered a range of rum loving experts to sip a range of great rums from French Rhum Agricole, to Spanish and English styles. You’ll find tasting notes, thoughts and everything on the record on page 16. The wonderful world of rum also led us to the intriguing technique of fat washing. On page 21 we get a little nerdy and investigate the use of fat washing in cocktails and see how some of the worlds best bartenders are using fats and oils in drinks.
DRINKS Drinks Curator Ben Davidson (Bespoke Drinks)
On page 24, it’s time to get your shine on as we delve into the wonderful world of unaged spirits to take a closer look at how legal moonshine and other unaged spirits are distilled, including white dog, eau de vies, pisco and white rye.
PHOTOGRAPHY Photographers: Elden Cheung, Sunrise Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd.
It wouldn’t be an edition without featuring some of the hottest cocktail competitions that have happened across Asia. I was lucky enough to be invited to judge the Opihr cocktail competition in Malaysia. Turn to page 32 to hear about the challenge and the competiting bartenders thoughts on the competition. We also hear from the winners of the Patrón Perfectionists competition (page 36) and the elit Art of Martini competition (page 38) both taking place in Hong Kong.
CONTRIBUTORS Writers: Ben Davidson, Chris Middleton, Danny Yang
In this issue we catch up with renowned Global Whisky Master Ewan Gunn, on page 42, and Singelton’s Global Ambassdaor Ervin Trykowski. Turn to page 44 to read about Ervin’s time in Hong Kong, views on the Asian whisky market and his role at Singleton. I hope you enjoy this edition, and for more in the world of drinks, stay informed at drinks.world. Cheers,
Ashley Pini Produced and published by
Editorial Enquiries: If you, your bar, or your brand and company have news or events you would like to share with Drinks World please contact: email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org Although Hip Media Asia endeavours to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information and Drinks World and www.drinks.world, we do not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions. The views expressed by authors of publications or event presentations, published Drinks World, do not necessarily represent the views of Hip Media Asia. Decisions or actions based on the information and publications provided by Hip Media Asia are at your own risk. drinks world
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Drinks World T25 Australia Wrap
32 36 38
Opihr Spiced Gin
Ewan Gunn, Global Whisky Master
Confessions of a Bartender
Ervin Trykowski, Singleton Global Ambassador
elit Art of Martini
Rum – Origins of Style
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° NEWS °
e like to explore the wonderful world of drinks as much as you do. From new venue openings, new releases, competitions, events and everything in between - the drinks industry is a truly diverse landscape, and we look forward to bringing you the latest happenings locally and abroad. TRY: JOYBO
VISIT: JIMBARAN COCKTAIL WEEK Jimbaran, Bali is getting its very own cocktail week this October/ November. The event will kick off on October 31st with a mixology masterclass seminar hosted by Kiki Moka (Union Group JKT), Ayip Muhamad Dzuhry (Frestro Bar & Lounge), D’Agisna Ramdhani and Arey Barker (Bikini Restaurant). The following day, there will be a Spice Trail Mixology Challenge, where participants are required to make cocktails using Indonesian herbs and spices. Each evening from 7pm-11pm a guest mixologist will take to the bar to whip up their very best concoctions. For more details visit drinks.world
Popular Chinese brand of Baijiu, Joybo, is now available for purchase in Thailand. The brand announced their launch through hosting three small parties on the Phuket seaside and near the street shops of Chiang Mai. Made from sorghum locally cultivated in Chongqing, China, the wine has a creamy, light and refreshing taste. Joybo also took home a number of awards at this year’s International Wine and Spirits Competition, including ‘superior silver’ and ‘silver’.
TRY: KRUG 2004 VINTAGE COLLECTION Recently Krug unveiled their 2004 vintage release. With 12 years of cellar aging, this Champagne has light hints of ginger, candied citrus and quince that give way to the rich smells of lemon meringue tart, plum and mirabelle. To taste, the wine has subtle flavours of light brioche and honey, before stronger notes of fresh oranges, lemons and mandarins. This fine blend of chardonnay (38 per cent), pinot noir (37 per cent) and meunier (24 per cent) grapes has been designed to age well. It will be available at Krug Ambassador’s restaurants and select wine retailers.
VISIT: LOS SOTANO Hong Kong has a new joint for all things tequila and mezcal. The aptly named Los Sotano, meaning the basement, is located underground in the pumping Lan Kwai Fong district and will be serving up over 80 different types of the spirits, including rare expressions like Caso Dragones & Clase Azul Ultra Añejo. The extensive cocktail menu ranges from spicy, to bitter, to sweet, so there’s something to suit everyone.
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TRY: RÉMY MARTIN XO CANNES 2017 LIMITED EDITION LAUNCHED IN HONG KONG To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, renowned Cognac house Rémy Martin has released their new XO Cannes 2017 Limited Edition in Hong Kong. This blended cognac, made from up to 400 aged Eaux de Vie, has the delicate aroma of white flowers and on the palate tastes of plums, figs, candied oranges, cinnamon and freshly grated hazelnuts. Its rounded black and gold bottle design inspire memories of old film reels and it comes in a sleek gift box. Only 300 bottles have been released to the Hong Kong market.
VISIT: FRANK’S LIBRARY The British gent behind Hong Kong’s Foxglove, Frank Minza, has opened a new ‘speakeasy within a speakeasy’ Frank’s Library. The new cocktail bar can be found behind closed curtains within Foxglove and is styled like the private library den of your quintessential English gentleman. The bar is whisky and cognac focused, with eight different expressions on show at any one time. Alongside this, patrons can pick up one of Frank’s ‘Travel Diary Cocktails’, inspired by the sights, smells and tastes of his travels around the world. As Frank’s travels continue, the menu will continue to rotate to represent new stories and products found on his journeys. Cocktails are expertly crafted from regionally focused ingredients by bar manager Austen Lendrum and there will also be a range of stronger barrel-aged cocktails, as either single or shared serves.
FRONT COVER: WHAT WE’RE DRINKING BLACK STORM Ingredients: 40ml Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum Top with Ginger Ale Dash of Ground Pepper Garnish: Orange slice and ground pepper Method: Build ingredients over ice, top with ginger ale and stir Glassware: Rocks
TRENDS: FOUR COCKTAIL TRENDS PREDICTED FOR 2018 This August saw Diageo’s WORLD CLASS competition wrap up after 55 bartenders from across the world battled it out for the top spot in Mexico City. In between the all the action, Diageo’s Global Cocktailian, Lauren Mote, got together with legend of the industry Dre Masso, Australian MasterChef host and judge, Matt Preston, Alex Kratena, formerly of Artesian – three time winner of World’s Best Bar, and Charles Joly, WORLD CLASS BARTENDER OF THE YEAR 2014 to discuss their predictions for the trends of 2018. They see bars focusing on implementing sustainable and reusable methods, creating unique signature serves, experimenting with flavours, textures, ingredients and techniques and a movement by consumers towards making cocktails at home.
COMPETITION: WALLACE LAU TAKES OUT LA MAISON COINTREAU HONG KONG Bartender Wallace Lau of Bar De Luxe has been named the winner of La Maison Cointreau Hong Kong 2017. Lau beat out 42 other entrants from across the city over a series of two intense challenges. He will now be representing Hong Kong in October at the Asian finals held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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° NEWS ° COMPETITION: DEVENDER KUMAR WINS HERNÖ COCKTAIL AWARDS 2017
TRY: JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL PARTNERSHIP WITH VICTO NGAI Johnnie Walker has teamed up with one of Forbes Art & Style 30-under-30 artists and New York Society of Illustrators’ two-time gold medalist, Victo Ngai, to release the Johnnie Walker Blue Label ‘Pioneering Cities’ Limited Edition. The 70cl bottles of premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label, made from a blend of selected 1 in 10,000 casks, features the design of a Cantonese opera performer in a flowing costume, adorned with symbols alluding to the city’s iconic skyline, colonial architecture, and neon lights. Each bottle has its own serial number that starts with Hong Kong’s area code ‘852’ followed by a four-digit number. The unique bottles are available from September 1 onwards at major retailers and specialised stores around Hong Kong for the RRP HK$2,300 per bottle.
VISIT: THE WRITING CLUB Step into this gentlemen’s club inspired whisky bar to sample from over 500 handpicked labels, including many rare expressions. This bar is the dream of husband and wife power couple Tan Soo San and Sherin Ong. Tan Soo left his job of over 20 years in the finance industry to open the whisky bar and it is predominantly his personal collection that is on show. Keeping with the theme of luxurious elegance, the bar is located in the Palais Renaissance and features dark wooden detailing, gold-lined mirrors and black and white marble tiling. The intimate space seats 36 people across plush leather sofas and blue suede chairs. Fong Chan Teng, a whisky expert formerly of La Maison du Whisky, spearheads the drinks menu, which includes an array of fine wines, craft beers and bespoke cocktails. Whisky can be purchased by the dram or as flights in a blind tasting or open selection.
Leading Hong Kong bartender Devender Kumar (bar manager at Otto e Mezzo Bombana) has taken out the title at this year’s Hernö Cocktail Awards. The competition requires contestants to forage in the woods of Sweden’s UNESCO listed High Coast Nature Reserve to find ingredients for their cocktails. They were provided with a bottle of Hernö High Coast Terroir Gin, honey and water and are then left to source the other ingredients from their surrounds. Four to five Swedish bartenders are at hand to ensure edible ingredients are chosen but, from there, contestants are given two to three hours to create their concoctions before presenting them before an audience of 100 people. Despite the tough competition, Kumar took the crown with his ‘In & On the Forest’ cocktail of Hernö High Coast Terroir Gin, lingonberries, blueberries, honey and water. Fellow Hong Kong bartender Leo Cheung, from Alibi – Wine, Dine, Be Social, came third.
COMPETITION: JAKE PAGE CROWNED LA MAISON COINTREAU SINGAPORE La Maison Cointreau the regional bartending programme by French spirits group, Rémy Cointreau announced its third winner in Singapore recently. Crowned champion after three grueling challenge rounds over three months, is Jake Page from Employees Only Singapore. In October Jake will head over to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to compete in the regional final against ten other markets including Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
TRY: CHINA (GUIZHOU) INTERNATIONAL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE EXPO The seventh annual China International Alcoholic Beverage Expo was held in Guiyang, capital of the Guizhou province, from September 9th to 12th. The aim of the event was to showcase a range of products from across the Chinese market and abroad. The expo is the first platform that promotes exchanges between Chinese and international alcoholic beverage manufacturers. Over 2,000 national and international exhibitors participated in the event, which was expected to generate turnover in excess of 54.5 billion yuan (US$8.1 billion)
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VISIT: SORA AT THE ROSEWOOD HOTEL Phnom Penh’s emerging cocktail scene now has a new ultra-chic rooftop bar. Sora invites guests to try a range of signature cocktails focused on gin and rum in front of a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. There is a range of seating options from soft armchairs, small tables, wooden stools and bar seating. The venue is also home to a specialty whisky bar, which features over 140 whisky labels from across the globe. Bar manager Daniele Cervi and his team can also whip you up a whisky cocktail or a twist on an old classic. Tapas from the Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant downstairs, Iza, are on offer at the bar to keep the appetite satisfied.
NEWS: PROOF & COMPANY HEADED DOWN UNDER One of Asia’s leading independent spirits companies, Proof & Company has made an investment in one of Australia’s fastest growing craft spirits distributors, Neat Spirits. With the investment, Proof & Company has acquired a significant minority interest in Neat Spirits and a seat on the Neat Spirits board. Proof & Company will also provide Neat Spirits with an inventory financing facility to allow the company to expand its portfolio of brands and enhance brand development.
TRY: THE SINGLETON OF GLEN ORD SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ANNOUNCE A NEW LIMITED EDITION Highland Park Distillery has released the oldest liquid since the distillery was founded 180 years ago in 1838. The Singleton of Glen Ord Forgotten Drop Series launched an elegant 41-year-old liquid which is bottled at cask strength with a 49.9% ABV. Due to limited stock, only 600 bottles will be available throughout Asia at an impressive RRP £2,200.00 per bottle. Turn to page 44 and meet Mr. Ervin Trykowski, the first and current Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador for Singleton.
TRY: CORAVIN SCREW CAP LAUNCHED IN ASIA
VISIT: THE OLD MAN Tucked away in a hidden location on Aberdeen Street lies The Old Man, the brainchild of three of the industry’s greats, Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale. As the name suggests, literary great Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize winning tale The Old Man and the Sea is the inspiration behind both the décor and drinks menu. Agung Prabowo’s innovative and experimental cocktails compliment the brooding and charming vibe of the interior, which has the feel of a 1940s Cuban sitting room.
Coravin has announced the release of their screw cap system in the Asia market. The expertly designed storage system means restaurants and consumers can now serve wine by the glass without the fear of oxidisation. This opens up the opportunity to try premium wines without having to finish the bottle. The simple, easy-to-use design requires you to open the bottle and immediately replace the existing bottle cap with the Coravin Screw Cap. Place your Coravin Wine System over the bottle, insert the needle from the Coravin Screw Cap, then tip the bottle back and press the trigger to release pressurising argon gas. Once finished pouring, tip the bottle backwards to stop the flow of wine and remove the needle. The silicone membrane of the screw cap will them automatically reseal, preserving the wine for up to three months. The Coravin Screw Cap comes in two sizes and can be removed and reused up to 50 times once the bottle is emptied. Coravin Screw Caps are available for purchase in six-packs from Watson’s Wine and Enoteca Hong Kong for HK$245.
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T:230 mm S:210 mm
WE DIDN’T INVENT TEQUILA Tequila has been around for centuries, but we took the time to get it right, crafting a small batch spirit that’s worth sipping slowly. It requires Mexico’s finest 100% Weber Blue Agave, hand-selected and distilled in custom copper stills for a smooth finish every time. We didn’t invent tequila,
WE JUST PERFECTED IT.
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his edition of Drinks World we feature the production and history of rum, a rum tasting, what is fat washing, unaged spirits and introducing Australia’s Top 25 Bartenders
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° FEATURE °
by any other name, would still taste as sweet... WORDS ° Ben Davidson & Chris Middleton
“Rum embodies a worldly character like no other spirit. It’s growth cannot be confined to national borders, geographical climates or socio-economic strata. It is the drink that has built countries. Through its production, it has given many a livelihood; used without care, it has taken life away.” - Dr. Nicholas Feris, International Rum Council Rum is one of the three great aged spirits, along with brandy and whisky, that accompanied the renaissance and the age of discovery. While the three original rum-producing empires, England, France, and Spain - all had a profound influence on the rum we drink today, the pre-history of rum can be traced back to Papua New Guinea, where sugarcane was first cultivated by humans over 7000 years ago.
EARLY BEGINNINGS Known as the noble cane, Saccharum officinarum was selectively cultivated over thousands of years from grass to intensify its sweetness. Many of our favourite alcoholic beverages such as beer, whisky, bourbon, gin, and even vodka, evolved from early grass grains including barley, wheat, rye, and later corn. Grass and grains are rich in starches and
carbohydrates, so they can easily be converted into sugars, from which yeast ferments into base alcohol. Sugarcane is one of the highest sources of sucrose in the world, with about 12-15 per cent sucrose content. Europeans began to develop a sweet palate at the same time the three quintessential hot beverages arrived in Europe: coffee from the Levant, tea from China, and chocolate from the Americas – all of which required sugar to mask their bitterness. So, Christopher Columbus took sugarcane to the West Indies in the late 1490s, after which plantations slowly began to populate the islands and the mainland Americas. Soon after this, the process of distilling rum to utilise leftover molasses expanded, effectively kick-starting the rum industry. The West Indies were quickly exploited by all the major European naval
powers - the Spanish, Portuguese, French, English and the Dutch - who all seized colonies to grow sugarcane. On the Brazilian coast, the Portuguese were probably the first to distil a proto-rum in the 1540s in primitive alembic still heads, and the term cachaça was coined there in 1555. While the Caribbean, along with Central and South America, became the centre of rum production and remains so today, rum is made wherever sugarcane is grown - all in tropical climates and across the globe from the Americas to India, Asia to Africa, as well as Australia. Five hundred years after its discovery, rum remains the world’s second most popular spirit; 60 countries produce rum at over 170 commercial distilleries, with another 30,000 small cachaça distilleries in Brazil.
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EMERGENCE OF COLONIAL TYPES The three most popular rum types arose from the cultural histories of the three major European powers in the West Indies and Americas. Today, however, there is increasing product blurring as individual distilleries start to make a range of basic styles (white, gold, dark) and different types (English, French, Spanish), and to attract different segments and growth opportunities. This said, the underlining production techniques and flavour profiles based on each country’s colonial heritage, still remain. ENGLISH: This style is made from molasses and uses pot still and column still distillation to make gold and dark rums. The heaviest rums come from Guyana (El Dorado) on the Demerara River; creating rich, powerful and aromatic
Appleton Estate Barrelhouse
SPANISH: The Spanish type emerged later in the piece and is typified by the use of the column still, giving rise to a lighter, more delicate style. These are usually the white to gold rum styles that are characterised by light, smooth and crisp rums from Cuba (Havana Club), Puerto Rico (Bacardi), American Virgin Islands (Cruzan) and, to the aged and medium bodied rums from Panama (Abuelo), Nicaragua (Flor de Cana), Venezuela (Diplomatico) and rich sweet rum from Guatemala (Zacapa). The colonial legacies and consumption preferences for different styles of rum can also be attributed to the different production techniques and practices that result in many differing flavour vectors. The three styles (white, gold, and dark) can generally be described as light bodied, medium bodied and full bodied in flavour. rums. Jamaica (Appleton Estate), Dominican Republic (Matusalem) and other previously British controlled islands also produce rich and aromatic spirits, using both blended pot still and column still aged rums, while Barbados (Mt. Gay) and Trinidad (Angostura) make a lighter, golden style. Multi-Island rums, like the exquisite yet robust Plantation rum have English inspiration, as well as, the irrepressible Pusser’s, which has connections to the Royal Navy when the rum ration was distributed by the ship’s purser. The English style also directly shaped
Australia’s style; this is evident in Bundaberg, and Beenleigh, which still retain the pungent signature of and English type of rum FRENCH: The French have two classifications, being rhum industrial - made from molasses - and the other being rhum agricole – made from pressed sugarcane juice. Martinique (Clement) and Guadeloupe prefer cane sugar juice; whereas Haiti (Barbancourt) mainly produces heavier flavoursome rum from molasses that is aged for several years.
COLONIAL CHARACTERISTICS As we have discovered, the colonial influence determines the type of rum, and greatly influences the style of rum a country manufactures. The world’s leading rum producing and exporting countries can generally be clustered against the colonial heritage that influenced its predominant styles, even if they operate in the Indian and Pacific oceans. One break away style noted earlier, is the Portuguese in Brazil; they have distilled
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° FEATURE °
and making the wash for fermentation, to condensing the spirit, to diluting the alcoholic strength for bottling. While water has the greatest presence of all the ingredients, its flavour neutrality means it has very little contribution to rum’s flavour. A good distillery will use the cleanest water possible, making it virtually taste neutral.
cane spirit called cachaça, since the sixteenth century. 99 per cent of cachaça is consumed in Brazil, which is around 1.5 billion litres annually. Brazil has the largest sugar industry in the world, and produces a great deal of molasses, which forms part of the 30 billion litres of ethanol biofuel used in Brazilian cars. Brazil also exports large volumes of molasses to Caribbean distillers for rum production. Because most of the cachaça consumed is under two years of age, it is not qualified as rum in Australia.
FOUNDATIONS OF FLAVOUR There may only be six basic flavour sources used to make rum, but together they create endless combinations to make it the world’s most versatile spirit. White or dark, spiced or flavoured; rum can be drunk straight, mixed or in cocktails and from these six flavour sources endless varieties of rums are made. WATER: Water is used throughout the rum making process, from cleaning the cane
SUGARCANE: This is where the flavour trail starts; the flavour foundations come from cultivation techniques, soil agronomies, climates and cultivars used. These combined factors are referred to as the ‘terroir’. Some cane fields are set on fire and some are not. Some countries still cut the cane by hand, while others harvest mechanically. The speed to the mill affects the quality as delays cause bacterial infection in the cane sap. Another question is whether the distillery will use cane juice or molasses to make rum. The efficiency of the sugar refinery in extracting sugar will affect alcoholic yield, and the concentration of residual salts and other compounds trapped in the molasses will also affect the flavour of the finished rum.
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FILTERING & COLOURING: Light rum is charcoal filtered to remove any vat or wood cask colour, ensuring the rum is crystal clear in appearance. Dark and gold rums, on the other hand, usually have burnt sugar or caramel (E510) added to make the rum seem more appealing and consistent, batch to batch, bottle to bottle.
DEVELOPMENT OF FLAVOUR
YEAST: Yeast is the most important flavour builder in rum, as the strain of yeast, the length of fermentation, the alcoholic yield and the amount of different flavour compounds found in the wash before distillation will directly fashion the flavour direction of the spirit. Light rums have short fermentation, meaning less flavour is created, whereas dark rum fermentation can last weeks and produce a rich variety of flavours. Some producers of dark rum add ‘dunder’ - the refuse from previous distillations, in order to enrich the flavour. COPPER STILLS (POT & COLUMN): The batch method of copper pot distillation results in more congeners and flavour being captured in the new spirit, which then results in greater complexity during wood maturation. Continuous column stills, on the other hand, strip out most congeners, which make for a lighter and cleaner spirit such as white rum. In the middle are copper retorts, doublers and column stills that distilleries have traditionally used to make house styles of rum. Each distillery has its own slightly unique still shape, configuration and design,
meaning its particular fermentation processes will produce its own characteristically unique flavour profile. WOOD: Some distilleries rest their new-make spirit in large vats of old oak or pinewood, finishing it in cask. Others mature in American or European oak casks, and using ex-bourbon or brandy casks imparts some original spirit flavour from the wood into the rum. Environmental factors such as warehouse design and location (whether the distillery is by the ocean or in the mountains) affect oxidisation and the rate of evaporation. TIME: The maturation process mellows the spirit by softening its fiery and sharp taste, replacing it with smoothness, richness and flavour complexity. Time extracts its price and repays its debt with flavour, as up to eight per cent of the cask contents can evaporate each year in the tropics; although this does advance oxidisation in the cask and encourages interaction with the wood, creating more complex and nuanced flavours in the rum.
We all perceive the world a little differently; it may be its psychological, cultural or personal circumstances that make us idiosyncratic creatures of our own senses. Behind our sensory subjectivity are our biological chemoreceptors that analyse thousands of chemical compounds, molecules and stimuli. Molecular compounds may be unique, however, nature’s produce share these flavour molecules. What we smell in rum or other spirits have the same or very similar structures to flavour molecules that are commonly found in the day-to-day foods we consume. Even the language we use to describe what we sense is usually a metaphor for something else, e.g. smells like pineapple. To expand upon this, the smell of pineapple is the compound ethyl butyrate. Pineapple may dominate the scent of this molecule, yet some can detect a hint of apple or blue cheese, evidencing how complicated this can be at both a chemical level and using sensory descriptors to identify this particular aromatic. In rum making, this flavour compound is created as a by-product - when particular yeast strains convert sugars to alcohols, they also generate a soup of acids and proteins that will form organic esters during fermentation. This is where the pineapple-like ester is born, and maintains sturdy chemical bonds to ensure it survives the rigours of distillation and maturation. In some cases, ethyl butyrate can be accentuated, punching through other flavour molecules, resulting in the rum producing this delicious note among many others. Rum’s flavour compounds will vary by the different production processes used, meaning the spirit has a rich palette of potential flavour compounds to endlessly make different flavour combinations.
PARTING SHOT The category of rum is fast growing, freedom loving and doesn’t seem to be stopping to wait for more regulations and inflated prices. So, until then, find your favourite bottle, pour a glass with friends and toast to the charms of rum.
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ORIGINS OF STYLE R
um, more so than any other spirit, comes in the widest variety of flavours and styles determined by the almost infinite variables in the methods of production. The well-established rum styles of today have been born out of the subtle differences in the approach to distillation by the early colonial powers that set the rum wheels in motion. In this edition of the Tasting Panel we look at outstanding examples of the English, French and Spanish styles of rum, to tease out and identify some of the key flavours that are reinforced by the these traditional methods of production that help to define the style. To assist us with this we assembled an impressive panel of rum lovers to shed some light on why this is so. Hosted by our good friends at Burrow Bar in Sydney’s CBD, we tasted an outstanding line-up of some of the great rums of the world. 16 °
THE PANEL • BEN DAVIDSON: Drinks Curator, Drinks World Magazine • TOM BULMER: Rum Ambassador, The Rum Club Australia • MARY WHITE: Venue Manager, Lobo Plantation • JOEY TAI: Brand Ambassador, Diplomático • MITCH WILSON: Brand Ambassador, Plantation • JENNA HEMSWORTH: Bartender, Restaurant Hubert and The Baxter Inn • KAREL ‘PAPI’ REYES: Cuban Rum Expert, Brand Ambassador, MONIN • BRYCE MCDONOUGH: Co-Owner, Burrow Bar • LUKAS RASCHILLA: Editor, Drinks World Magazine
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RHUM J.M. V.S.O.P. 42% ABV Rhum J.M. V.S.O.P. is from the French Caribbean island of Martinique, and is crafted by aging rum for three years in re-charred bourbon barrels and finished for an additional year in toasted new American oak barrels. This is an agricole style of rum, which means it is distilled from sugar cane juice.
PANEL: Mitch Wilson: Burnt butter and vanilla notes. This aged agricole takes on an almost Cognac like profile. Not nearly as raw or vegetal as typical unaged argicole. Mary White: What I like about this is that it’s actually lacking those grassy, earthy kind of
notes that you usually get on the nose from a lot of agricoles. In the back palate you do get an earthiness that is reminiscent of unaged agricoles. Spice and oak upfront, mild grassy notes towards the back of the palate. Jenna Hemsworth: Super approachable agricole for beginners and brandy lovers. Refined yet ballsy. Refined take on a classically unrefined style. Papi Reyes: Usually after 40% ABV agricole usually have a punchy presence on the nose but this is very pleasant. Tom Bulmer: It has a beautiful cooked orange and flinty grass note that is significantly lighter than the other rums, for an agricole style the aggression of the palate is tamed by a soft oak richness.
APPLETON ESTATE RARE BLEND 12 YEAR OLD 43% ABV A classic English style rum, it’s Jamaica’s most well known and highly regarded rum made by one of the finest Master Distillers, Joy Spence. The Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old was awarded Gold at the 2017 San Francisco Spirits Awards. Appleton Estate is produced in the English style and has been aged in one select American oak barrel. This expression reflects Joy’s craft and passion. The rums used in this blend have been hand selected and all aged for a minimum of 12 years. The age gives a wood character with a smooth robust flavour.
PANEL: Papi Reyes: You can tell it’s a classic English style of distillation, it’s bold, strong and pungent. Tom Bulmer: For me it’s about the place. With this rum you think about sitting on a beach in Jamaica and just sipping on some daiquiris or some rum old fashioneds, bit of reggae in the background. It’s still got that strong punchy
flavour 12 years on and that’s coming from the barrel. Reggae is a more apt description of Appleton for me. Ben Davidson: It’s definitely got a nice back beat to it but it allows you to kind of have these moments of finding new things, like a good reggae song. Lukas Raschilla: It has pungent aromas and esters that come through with a long finish that’s strong in the back palate.
Jenna Hemsworth: I can taste like a wild yeast note. It’s fiery and rough around the edges. A little tannic, and pairs really well with fruit. Bryce McDonough: Flavours of burnt sugar move to a sweet-savoury balance. Mary White: Banana, fruit preserve and ethanol aromas. I taste pungent apricots, with mild esters compare to other Jamaican rums. Rum meant for a tropical island.
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DIPLOMÁTICO RESERVA EXCLUSIVA 40% ABV We were lucky to be joined by Diplomaático Brand Ambassador, Joey Tai who told us about the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva expression. “This rum is aged up to 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels. There’s no age statement on any of the Diplomático rums because at the end of the day we want to stay true to the product, but most of the rums are aged 12 Years. While it is called a Spanish style, the makers prefer to call it a Venezuelan style, being proud of their heritage. They use everything from Venezuela in making the rum. Diplomático is only allowed to be made using Venezuelan sugarcane and the minimum age it must be in oak casks is two years and it must be bottled at no less than 40% ABV. Once the barrel is filled; the master blender needs to ask permission to open the barrel to taste the rum, every single time. The majority of the flavour of Diplomático comes from the type of yeast and the stills used. There’s two different types of molasses that are used to make the rum; sugarcane honey and sugarcane molasses. They’re both molasses but the difference is the concentration level of sugar. For the distillation of the rum, 90% comes from traditional copper pot still, from Speyside Scotland. 10% is from the Barbet column still, which is used in a lot of
French agricole rum making as well as in brandy and Cognac making. The molasses is used in the column distillation and the sugarcane honey is used in the copper pot distillation. After the individual distillation and individual maturation, the rums are blended together before bottling. As you can see it’s quite a complicated process to make the rum.
PANEL: Mitch Wilson: Ah Venezuela! I can taste dark chocolate and raisins, Jaffa oranges on the back. Deliciously easy drinking, excessively rich. The perfect dessert rum! Ben Davidson: Sweet, aromatic and full bodied, with lovely richness and fullness in the mouth. Lukas Raschilla: Cocoa, honey and dark chocolate notes. It’s full-bodied with sweet honey in the finish. Mary White: Caramel and butter aromas. Tastes of clove, Christmas cake, and icing sugar. That classic Spanish sweetness. Good rum for newbies, yum! Tom Bulmer: It’s very approachable and it’s a rum that you could get people to start loving rum on. Bryce McDonough: A wonderful gateway rum for those wanting to explore the category.
EL DORADO 12-YEAR-OLD 40% ABV Produced in Guyana, the El Dorado 12 Year Old is an English style of rum, which typifies the smooth mellow sweetness of Demerara rums. This is made from a blend of specially selected aged rums, with the youngest rum in the blend being no less than 12 years old. It is made using a combination of Enmore and Diamond Coffey stills and the Port Mourant double wooden pot still, blended and aged in old bourbon oak casks.
PANEL: Bryce McDonough: Opens light and sweet but deepens with length. Hints of sherry and a soft peppercorn finish. Jenna Hemsworth: Taste of burnt butter, sugary, crisp goodness. A refined dessert rum. Tom Bulmer: It truly is a rum for those that love a pleasant sweet style, with clove and vanilla notes, making it a great nightcap or dessert rum. The beautiful part of this rum is the use of two of the only wooden stills left it the world. Ben Davidson: For me it lacks that English style pungency on the nose, it’s more of a background note, but wow it delivers big time with luscious sweet notes of brown sugar, tobacco spice and tropical fruit notes of dried mango. Mary White: It smells much drier than it actually tastes as well, you think it will be dry and it’s much sweeter. Joey Tai: I pick up some citrus, like orange zest in this.
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PUSSER’S BRITISH NAVY RUM ABV 40%
ABOVE: Mary White LEFT: Mitch Wilson
Made in the classic English style, this Navy rum has classic demerara sugar, molasses, fried fruits and spices with English toffee and caramel. Complex flavours result is classic bold note. Pusser’s rum is blended in exact accordant with the Admirality specification, meaning it is a blend of five rums from The British West Indies. It is the same original blend of Pusser’s original 54.5% but taken back to 40% ABV.
PANEL: Tom Bulmer: There’s last night! It’s a rum almost made for a whisky palate. Ester driven flavour with different intensity of oak. Mitch Wilson: I get almost like a banana bread note. Bitter caramel and tannins, dried apricots and burnt sugar. Mary White: Scent of burn rubber, and punchy. Flavours of pepper and banana bread, it’s the classic, robust Navy style rum. Bryce McDonough: Aroma of Christmas cake and liquorice. Tastes have notes of peppery molasses, and woody dryness with lots of burnt sugar. Papi Reyes: Very strong on the nose. Classic Navy style, punchy caramel notes and a bit of oak and honey. Dry notes on the back palate.
PLANTATION RUM O.F.T.D. ABV 69% Plantation Rum Brand Ambassador, Mitch Wilson was on hand to share some insight into the Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof rum. “The idea for this rum was to try to recreate an overproof rum that hasn’t existed for quite a while. A lot of the overproofs that you see nowadays are not like the classic overproof rums from back in the 1930s and 1940s when Don the Beachcomber was first making his Zombies and when Trader Vic was using Wray & Nephew 17 year in his Mai Tais. It then became Wray & Nephew 15, and when both of them ran out he switched it to a Jamaican and Martinique blend. Then you had Lemon Hart being used in the Zombies back in the day, and again the Lemon Hart recipe got chopped and changed. The Lemon Hart 151 you can get today is not the same as back in the day. The Plantation Overproof started off as a collaboration between David Wondrich and Alexander Gabriel, who blends all of the
Joey Tai: I’m getting tropical and citrus notes. Ben Davidson: It’s really big on the British naval rum aromatics, pungent, rubbery, estery with burnt banana and bitter toffee notes. Like a punch in the chops.
Plantation rums and they teamed up with Tiki bars around the world to recreate this old style. So between them they had a bottle of the Wray & Nephew 17 and the old Lemon Hart and they tried these overproof rums and went ‘Right, that’s our benchmark for what we should be working towards. It shouldn’t just be an undiluted version of the base spirit, it should be something that’s actually designed to be a proper overproof’. The original concept was to blend a bit of Jamaican and Guyanese rums together, a kind of nod to the Wray & Nephew and Lemon Hart of yesteryear, and if you taste some of the Plantation vintages, the Jamaican and Guyanese, those are the rums going in there at cask strength, and Alexander put a bit of the Barbados in. When David Wondrich tasted it, he went “Oh F*#k That’s Delicious” and hence the name was O.F.T.D but changed to ‘Old Fashioned Traditional Dark’”
PANEL: Joey Tai: Dark chocolate, maple, vanilla deliciousness. Mary White: Pineapple for days! Smoky and sweet, like gunpowder mixed with fruit salad. Your lips will tingle but your tastebuds will fly. Bryce McDonough: Fiery alcohol, dark fruit and fortified wine. Gunpowder and happiness. Papi Reyes: Strong and prominent Cognac profile. It’s strong, powerful but well balanced with toasted caramel notes. Ben Davidson: A powerfully built rum that delights (and numbs) the taste buds. First sip reveals the Jamaican back bone with its molasses pungency, softened by the subtle sweetness of cinnamon, raisins and toffee from the Guyanese influence. This is a rum for serious rum lovers.
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HAVANA CLUB 15 YO 40% ABV The Havana Club 15 YO is an example of the Spanish style made with column stills and shows that it’s not only pot-still rums can be rich and powerful. This Cuban rum is complex and full-bodied, with notes of dried tropical fruit, prunes, raisins and dried coconut. Panel member Karel ‘Papi’ Reyes was able to tell us a little more about the Havana Club 15 Year Old expression. “It’s a sweet and natural Spanish style rum, all flavours from the natural process of blending. The youngest blend is 15 years, with the oldest being around 22 years. It’s not as dry as normal Cuban or Spanish style rum. It’s silkier with more dried fruit notes coming through. Smooth lingering of citrus coming in the back palate, dates. It’s the rum I grew up with, don’t change it! It also opened the door for a lot wof other Cuban rums to evolve and create their own blends.”
DOORLY’S XO 40% ABV
Joey Tai: Citrus, vanilla and floral notes on the aroma. Tastes like brown sugar, syrup, dried fruit, coconut and light honey.
Mary White: Toasted coconut aroma with taste of oranges and prunes. Tastes like tradition. Mitch Wilson: Dried coconut aroma. Flavours of cocoa butter and pineapples. It’s nice to see such a rich expression on something that is traditionally a light style of rum. Tom Bulmer: I taste the expression of the barrel. I love the oak and balance. It’s great to taste a Spanish style of rum that is that old that doesn’t have an overly sweet taste. Lukas Raschilla: Subtle and subdued. Honey, slight caramel, oak and coconut on the nose. Tastes bright and slightly punchy at first, with dried fruits. Dry, light and balanced. Ben Davidson: Quite subdued on the nose, but reveals dried toasted coconut notes, tobacco spice and robust oak pointing to its advanced age. Palate is complex, with rancio like oxidative notes and the signature dryness on the finish. Bryce McDonough: Fruity and light sweetness, lots of wood on the back palate. Papi Reyes: Sweet and oaky. Sophisticated. I can taste flavours of dry fig, oak, silky velvet spirit with dried fruit notes and remarkable balance.
Doorly’s XO is a six year old blend of rums from Barbados, finished in Oloroso sherry casks. The Rum Club Ambassador, Tom Bulmer shared a little more insight, “Many of the rums from Barbados carry the signature light orange note and citrus notes leading to a sweet honeysuckle and orange blossom note. This style is subtly evident in the Doorly’s XO, because of the extra ageing giving it a deeper, spicier finish.”
PANEL: Lukas Raschilla: Honey and golden syrup notes. This is sweet but well balanced with an easy finish on the back palate. Joey Tai: Tropical, pineapple and red apple skin aroma. I find it citrusy. Nutty finish, gentle spice and stone fruit. Mary White: I find that a lot of Bajan rums incorporate different casks, this one is aged in oloroso sherry cask, and you don’t really find a lot of Jamaican rums adopting different casks. So you do get variety in Barbados rums. Mitch Wilson: A lot of people consider Barbados to be one of the great rum producers. For me this is a rum you could sit on the beach with. It isn’t overly dry, or harsh, it’s just really well made.
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THE SKINNY ON FATS AND OILS IN COCKTAILS T
WORDS ° Ben Davidson
he use of animal fats and vegetable oils in cocktails continues to be a way for bartenders to evolve the taste and texture in creative drinks for the ever more adventurous consumer. As we know, it’s in the animal fats and essential oils of fruits, vegetables and botanicals where the flavour molecules reside, and dissolving these and integrating them into the fabric of a cocktail is still considered to be on the cutting edge of mixology.
For the uninitiated let’s take a quick look back into the development of this trend, which had its roots in New York.
WHAT IS FAT WASHING? Fat washing is the process of infusing the flavour of animal fats into a spirit. It involves cooking the meat to release the fats, which are collected and strained and mixed with the spirit. Combining the fat and the spirit at a similar warm temperature (approx. 25 degrees Celsius) will give a better absorption of the flavours. By giving it a good shake and allowing to sit in a fridge for 24 hours the flavours have a chance to be dissolved into the spirit. The cold temperature also gets the fats to rise and solidify allowing
them to be skimmed off, followed by filtering out the remaining particulates. This results in a wonderfully delicious spirit with all the flavour, and minimises the greasiness of the fat, left behind. One of the most well-known fat-washed drink is the Benton’s Old Fashioned, a bacon-infused cocktail created by Don Lee at New York’s Please Don’t Tell (PDT). Lee combined two of America’s favourite flavours, bourbon and bacon in a classy drink. Lee, however, credits another New York bartender, Eben Freeman, then working at the wildly innovative WD-50, with his knowledge of fat washing. Initially, bacon fat was used but other fats such beef, lamb, chorizo sausage, Iberico ham,
buttered popcorn and pistachio nuts or anything with a high fat content can be used to fat wash a spirit. Due to the nature of the process, the principles of fat washing allow for the use of any fat, meaning the options to experiment are almost endless. A few of brands have joined the trend with Australia’s 666 Autumn Butter vodka, created by Melbourne’s mad scientist, Sebastian Reaburn in 2012, made by a process of ‘fat washing’ whole Tasmanian salted butter and split vanilla pods in the rich pot-still for a period of three days. Sydney bar legend, Sven Almenning has also been in on the fat washing game since 2014 with his delicious smoked bacon bourbon
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Pinneapolis by Michael Chiem
The Viento by Dave Kerr and the salted voconut rum under his The Experiemental Spirits Co. label. In more recent times, bartenders have been busy exploring the world of plant based fruit and vegetable oils to add deliciously concentrated flavour in small quantities to give the drink the flavours but more interestingly a smooth and silky texture to drinks and cocktails. Whereas animal fats tend to be washed down by a spirit, plant based oils are added directly to the mixing glass, allowing for their texture to add a smoothness and helps take the edge off sharp citrus notes. We put the call out to the Drinks World Australian and Hong Kong Top 25 bartenders to see what the top talent is using in the areas of fats and oils in drinks at their bars and the response was overwhelming. In the 2017 Bacardi Legacy Australian final, Dave Kerr from The Beaufort in Melbourne created a delicious contemporary cocktail called The Viento, combining fresh pressed strawberries with rum and coconut oil. Dave explains, “It’s used for both texture and flavour in this context. I’ve always loved the idea of using oils in moderation in drinks and it’s been purely textural until I found coconut oil. Because of my love of Piña Coladas, I wanted to use coconut flavour in my drink and giving it a modern context was extremely attractive”. Ajit Gurung from Stockton in Hong Kong sent through a gorgeous sounding drink called MACARBE; a twist on a Sazerac. The cocktail
Cocoa-Nut Island by Samuel Kwok includes combining Martell VSOP, Tonka bean, burnt butter, beeswax, Demerara, Absinthe and House Peychaud’s Bitters. Ajit says, “The butter helps give it viscosity and a thick mouthfeel. While the beeswax lends the flavour of honey without the sweetness. To finish we garnish the drink with homemade white chocolate that looks live a beehive”. Not to be outdone, Martin Lange from Brisbane’s newest hot bar, Saville Row has a new drink called the Red Hawk Down. It includes a homemade goat butter fat washed Tanqueray, matcha tea, and clarified goats milk, and he says, “It adds an acidic and tannic texture to the drink to balance the matcha tea, but it’s quite sour and creamy at the same time, giving a unique texture and works really well in the drink”. Now there’s a drink with about four trends in one! Former World Class Australia winner, Jack Sotti of Melbourne’s Boilermaker House, showed he’s
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not one to rest on his levitated laurels, with an inspired scorched macadamia riff on a Daiquiri, that he calls the Maca-Daiquri. Jack says, “The cocktail itself stays true to a traditional Daiquiri. First we prep the scorched macadamia oil by heating two lumps of charcoal on a burner until they’re white hot, then we throw them into a deep pan that has 1 litre of macadamia oil and partially cover. The oil will sizzle and smoke and in a covered pan this will infuse into the macadamia oil. You get a lovely dry, earthy smoke that balances out the round fattiness of the macadamia oil”. Former Angostura world champ and beverage director at the Swillhouse Group, James Irvine has a caper oil cocktail at Australian Restaurant of the Year, Hubert in Sydney. A riff on a Vesper, it combines the Swillhouse Bartender Series gin by Archie Rose, vodka and a caper infused Lillet Blanc, garnished with three drops of caper oil. James kindly included the method of how to make the caper oil. Take 300g of good quality olive oil, 30g fresh caper berries, 3 caper leaves. Place all ingredients into a cryovac bag and seal under high pressure. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain and store in a bottle at room temperature”. Future icon and current elder statesman, Charlie Ainsbury, co-owner of the Sydney’s This Must Be The Place (too many awards to mention), chimed in with a beautifully described cedar oil drink called the Atlantic, combining rye whiskey, verjuice, suze, Abbott’s Bitters and cedar oil. Charlie opines, “The cocktail is a strong sipper, but much brighter than your usual Manhattan-style drink with suze and verjuice lightening things up with a touch of bitterness and acidity. Cedar oil adds a gentle woody aroma as opposed to smoking the glass with wood chips”. Award-winning bartender and creative genius, Michael Chiem, co-owner of Sydney’s PS40 shared a cocktail he has created for the Chin Chin Sydney opening that is a take on his favourite pizza - Hawaiian! The aptly named Pinneapolis is a Lardo fat washed Plantation Pineapple rum, Campari, lime and LP’s smoked maple syrup and Chinese five spice. As The Gresham’s Ryan Lane said, “Get that in my face!” Further to the #hamandpineapple trend, Sydney’s Quynh Van Nguyen, from Fred’s, mentioned, “I did a ham and pineapple old fashioned once. Smoked Serrano ham fat
washed Havana Club 7 Year Old, Nikka by the Barrel and a pineapple and clove syrup. The owners thought it was too out there so had to just make it a charred pineapple old fashioned instead. Sad face emoji. Perennial up and comer and competition stalwart, Jono Carr from Sydney’s Kittyhawk has a suitably exotic sounding drink inspired by the grandfather of Tiki himself, Don the Beachcomber, called The Polynesian Pearl Diver, combining Bacardi rum, fresh orange and lemon juices with a coconut and lemon butter. Jono says, “The coconut lemon butter uses the husks of juiced lemons and toasted coconut cooked down with butter and sugar. Sounds sustainable, refreshing and decadent! World Class bartender Samuel Kwok of Quinary, Hong Kong created a cocktail called Cocoa-Nut Island, combining cocoa butter fat-washed El Dorado 3 Year Old Rum, caramel coconut mix, caramel, coconut cream, banana milk and banana liqueur.
Samuel said “Playing on the elements of sweet and savory, this deliciously silky cocktail delivers the richness of cocoa butter without the heaviness of oil. Topped with tropical ‘breeze’ in the form of sea salt foam and a highlight on local ingredients with shavings of salted duck egg yolk. Fat-washing helped us combine all these strong flavours together while still keeping to an easy-drinking cocktail style that is tasty and playful at the same time. We named it CocoaNut Island because cocoa butter fat-washed rum, sea salt foam and caramel with bananas give us a feeling of tropical paradise”. And finally just to prove that they are not just cocktail cowboys out in the wild west of Perth, Australia, the ever-youthful Tom Kearney from the Dominion League, has got a butter and roasted pecan fat washed cocktail “On at the moment”, as well as Australia’s favourite Georgian bartender, Dimitri Rtshiladze of Mechanics Institute has an avocado oil and skin fat washed cocktail.
MACARBE by Ajit Gurung
INGREDIENTS: • 1 x bottle Martell VSOP • 2 x pcs Tonka Bean • 1 x piece Beeswax • 3 x dashes Absinthe • 45gms Burnt Butter • 15ml Demerara GARNISH: Homemade white chocolate that looks live a beehive METHOD: Steps: • Burn the butter (45gms) and Tonka beans (2 x pcs) until the butter melts, avoid the mix from burning
• Mix a bottle of Martell (or any Cognac) with the butter Tonka mix and set aside in the fridge for 24 hours • This will allow the flavour to incorporate in the Cognac, whilst the butter and the sediments will be afloat • Strain the butter and the sediments and bottle the flavoured Cognac Instructions: * Mix the below ingredients together in a Yara Glass • 45ml Tonka bean infused Cognac • 3 x dashes Absinthe • 3 x dashes House Peychaud’s Bitters • 15ml Demerara • Melt beeswax in the glass
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Ride the White Lightning WORDS ° Ben Davidson
ith so much attention on dark spirits, aged in oak barrels for years, it’s nice to pause and shine a light on some of the outstanding examples of unaged spirits, (other than gin and vodka), where all the flavours are derived from their specific raw materials, the method of distillation and the skill of the distiller. The Latin term ‘aqua vitae’ was first used to describe spirits when this new liquid trickled out of primitive alembic stills. This ‘eau de vie’, or ‘water of life’ is still a fitting description for unaged spirits, which are as clear as the water from which they are named. This pervasive thought gave rise to the names of both whiskey, vodka and is still the name for French Eau de Vie fruit spirit. Whether a spirit is aged or unaged is usually determined by whether it has rested in an oak barrel for a certain length of time. There are minimum aging times in oak across the spirits industry for a spirit to be called a whisky, an Añejo, a Calvados or a VSOP Cognac. It’s through the interaction of the spirit with the oak and air inside the barrel that the spirit becomes
aged. Once a spirit is removed from an oak cask, the aging process is considered to have stopped. The best unaged spirits are such that they don’t need oak to enhance their flavour and are created from a specific selection of raw materials that each give different characters and flavours to the spirit. For me, the best Pisco, Mezcal, Eau de Vie or Moonshine captures an intensity and concentration of the raw material to create a pure expression of flavour that is in balance with the level of alcohol that it contains.
GRAIN SPIRIT There has been a massive resurgence in craft distilling with grain-based spirits leading the charge, as new distillers have a crack at making
whiskey. Whilst waiting for the whiskey to age, producers have released unaged versions of their ‘new make spirit’, whilst others more recently have decided to take Moonshine to the masses by producing a well-made and respectable version of the (illegal) real thing. Distilling and drinking unaged high proof grain spirit, (aka Moonshine), has been and still is an American specialty, inspired by the early days and the belief in freedom of distilling. The modern practitioners of this right have been applying themselves in legal distilleries popping up again all over the place! The new prevalence of Moonshine has lead to a new appreciation for balanced and characterful grain spirit, to be enjoyed neat or mixed.
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ARCHIE ROSE WHITE RYE 40% ABV Archie Rose brought distilling back to the Sydney in 2015 with a purpose-built distillery pumping out a magnificently flavourful barley and rye grain spirit from their unique copper pot stills. Their White Rye is uniquely distilled from rare malted rye and barley sourced from the finest local producers, and greets you with cinnamon, nutmeg and spicy notes that envelope the palate. Twice distilled, it features a lingering, buttery finish with a subtle smokiness, and can be savoured straight or in your cocktail like the White Whiskey Sour.
IRONBARK DISTILLERY CORN RYE MOONSHINE 45% ABV Making Shine since 2013, Reg Papps helped put Australian Moonshine on the map! Made from a traditional recipe, this is a corn and rye based spirit that is reminiscent of bourbon that has had no aging in the barrel, creating a full-bodied and delicious flavoured Moonshine that’s sure to leave you with that warm moonshiner buzz. It is mashed using all Australian grain, and truly is a unique spirit. When asked about the Ironbark methods that contribute to the style Reg says, “The still style is important as this is how we impart flavour into the spirit. Plated stills allow for both purity and flavour transfer from the mash, which is crucial to producing a clean spirit that can be mixed well. We use an eight plate column still to handcraft the Moonshine, styled with a traditional mash bill of corn, rye grain, for spice and barley for a creamy back note, the method used is identical to how traditional American Moonshines are crafted. “Our flavour profile is big corn notes combined with a hint of pepper from the rye grain and creamy back notes from the barley. Served
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all of them. It’s time consuming and inefficient in a lot of ways but by doing this, we don’t rely on ABV to select our cuts. We don’t worry about efficiency as much as we do taste, that’s a distinct difference between us and the bigger producers. We don’t recycle ‘heads’ into our sour mash for instance. We don’t do that because we found it created a harsher spirit”. When pressed about Moonshine’s reputation, Andrew opined, “Moonshine, at least how we make it, takes all the finesse (and in parts more) that whiskey distilling takes. It’s not a cheap cousin, it’s a delicious alternative”. Shine on, you crazy diamonds. Can I get an Amen!
OLE SMOKY WHITE LIGHTNING 50% ABV Ole Smoky Moonshine is distilled from local East Tennessee corn grown a few miles from the distillery, using only local ingredients and pristine Tennessee water to create a smooth and authentic tasting Shine.
best over ice, or can be used in many variations of cocktails. Has been described as a perfect interpretation of an American classic, produced in Australia.”
Ole Smoky Still
MELBOURNE MOONSHINE SOUR MASH SHINE 50% ABV The new Shine Misters on the block, the Melbourne Moonshine gang has brought Shine to the people! Using local corn to create the sour ‘wash’ which provides the basis for the warm, sweet, strong kick of a true Southern white lightning merged with the clean, refined and utterly enjoyable drinkability of a modern Melburnian drop. When asked about the Melbourne Moonshine way, Moonshiner Andrew Fitzgerald proudly states, “Our Moonshine is made to be a Moonshine. It’s not an unaged whiskey that we have released as a Moonshine. That’s an important factor. We make some whiskey as well, but that is made to go into barrel to balance out the flavours”. Andrew went on to say, “It’s our dedication to making the spirit as smooth as possible but still carry significant flavour. We take 16 samples across the distillation cycle and taste
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Ole Smoky is Appalachian born and bred. The Ole Smoky families were among the first to step foot in the Smoky Mountains and were forced to make Moonshine in order to survive during tough economic times. “When Tennessee state law changed to allow the distillation of spirits, we saw an opportunity to showcase the art of superior mountain-made Moonshine. Ole Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Like other moonshiners and bootleggers, we know it’s considered risky to tell stories of moonshine glory. The consequences of talking back in the day made it something you just didn’t do. But those days are gone, and it’s hard not to brag when you’re makin’ and sellin’ Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine.”
GRAPE SPIRIT Most quality grape based spirits and Cognac Eau de Vie are sent to the aging warehouses to mature, however some of the most interesting grape spirits are the unaged Piscos of Peru, especially the Mosto Verdes style with low ABV distillation, capturing the most delicate flavours of the grapes. Grape based raw materials also give rise to the somewhat mysterious and austere Grappa and Marc spirits, each made with fermentable ‘waste’ from the winemaking process.
PISCO PORTON MOSTO VERDE QUEBRANTA 43% ABV Pisco Porton Mosto Verde is handcrafted at the oldest distillery in the Americas, Hacienda La Caravedo, established in 1684 in Ica, Peru. It is a full-bodied and luxurious of estate-grown grapes, carefully crafted in the mosto verde style by Master Distiller Johnny Schuler. This Pisco has a velvety, creamy texture and layers of delicious flavour like dried fruits, fresh flowers and vanilla.
CAMPO DE ENCANTO QUEBRANTA DISTILLER’S RESERVE Created by Duggan McDonnell, owner of legendary Cantina bar in San Francisco, this pisco won the Gran Medalla de Oro for being Peru’s best pisco in its inaugural year. Campo
De Encanto is alembic distilled only once and nothing is added, no sugar, no preservatives; not even a drop of water. Quebranta was the first grapevine planted in South America, and this Distiller’s Reserve Single Vineyard Pisco selection is a rare gem. You’ll taste almonds and apricot blossoms, bell peppers and cassis with lingering notes of chocolate.
FRUIT SPIRIT EAU DE VIE / RAKIA A wide array of fermentable fruits have been used to create a spirit that the French have called Eau de Vie since the dawn of distillation. Pears, apple, cherries, plums, apricots and even raspberries have all been used to create, powerful, aromatic, yet nuanced un-aged spirits. Fine examples of these include Poire William, Kirsch, Mirrabelle, Framboise and others are
available through Melbourne-based Cerbaco who have been the torch bearers for exquisite French liqueurs, crèmes and eau de vie from producers Massenez and Bertrand. Other idiosyncratic, eastern European unaged fruit spirits, fall under the name Rakia or similar derivatives, the most well known being the Damson plum brandy called Slivovitz.
AGAVE SPIRIT ARTISANAL MEZCAL Once the true taste of agave is appreciated by tasting an Artisanal Mezcal from a small producer in Oaxaca, you can instantly see how exquisitely complex, smooth and powerful unaged agave spirit can be. Oak would only take away from the intense vegetal, spicy, pungent, savoury pepper notes found in the best single village Mezcals, like those from Del Maguey, Wahaka and Leyenda.
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° NEWS °
ia’s Meet Austral ders! n e t r a B 5 2 Top abetical order) (in alph
p u p a Wr
or the second year running, Drinks World produced T25 Bartenders Australia. The 2017 edition was no exception, with an array of talent behind the stick pushing the boundaries, which makes down under a world class cocktail scene. To support the magazine a two-day event was held which consisted of a welcome dinner featuring the Top 25 bartenders and sponsoring brand representatives.
The launch party at Soda Factory the following night saw the venue a buzz with folks celebrating the Top 25 in style, with 25 brands offering up 25 different serves on the night, hosted by Drinks World’s, Drinks Curator, Ben Davidson and Jonny Croft spinning tracks behind the decks. The event culminated in the launch of the 2017 T25 Australia magazine, which is now available for your reading pleasure online at drinks.world. We would like to again congratulate the Top 25 bartenders who have been recognised by the industry and their peers as some of the best in the business. We can’t wait to start working on the Hong Kong 2017/18 edition but in the meantime keep up to date with everything drinks and T25 at drinks.world and on our Facebook page.
5 3 4
Chris Hysted-Adams Dan Gregory
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12 James Connolly
Quynh Van Nguyen
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° NEWS °
y t r a P h c n u La a Factory @ Sod
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ith an industry full of cocktail competitions, this edition we take an indepth look at the Opihr, Patrón Perfectionists and elit Art of Martini Competitions
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PHOTOS BY: Sunrise Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd.
OPIHR ORIENTAL SPICED GIN ASIA FINALS F
or hundreds of years, traders have been following the spice trail from the far-east, past Sri Lanka and India, around The Cape and up the west coast of Africa, then into Europe. Legend has it that in each port of call local spices would fill the boats of adventurers looking for more and more exotic spices; driving them further and further east to find their treasure.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin is crafted with spicy Cubeb berries from Indonesia, black pepper from India and coriander from Morocco; making the Spice Trail the perfect backdrop for a competition of bartenders showcasing their talents using Opihr Spiced Gin. And as such the 2017 Global Opihr Gin Cocktail Competition held its regional finals for Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: challenging competitors from Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Malaysia to two days of competition, foraging and a fair amount of good old-fashioned banter. The competition was a four-stage process: first, online applications (which happened back in March). It’s a simple process where you submit one Opihr Gin & Tonic twist and one Opihr Gin cocktail inspired by a location on the spice route. Nail that, and you’re into the country final (stage two) and you’re competing in front of a panel of three judges. Two are then chosen to
represent in the regional finals in Kuala Lumpur; stage three. At the regional finals in KL you needed to be switched on for two days as, while the second day was the only official comp day, inspiration was picked up from the local spice and wet market visits on day one and was a key element in a successful presentation. The drinks were cracking – the service exceptional, and hence the competition was tight. Local bartender, Giritharan Panchakaran from Botak: Liquor won with his cocktail The Traveller. Check it out on page 35. As we go to print competitors are heading across to stage four – competing in the global final against 12 other countries in Marrakesh, Morocco. Read on to find out about some of the competitor’s thoughts on the competition, their cocktail inspiration and impression on the KL cocktail scene. Good luck Giri - bring the prize back to Asia, and the origins of the spice trail.
FINALISTS HONG KONG Ms. Lam Wing Yi, Dorothy Mr. Rana Chandan
INDONESIA Mr. I Gede Bacudewa Krisna Virgantara Mr. Andrew’s Agustinus Lugiman
VIETNAM Le Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Huu Phu
MALAYSIA Amar Yasser Bin Datu Ilahan Danial Hakimi Anthony Bin Abdullah Giritharan A/L Panchakaran
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° COMPETITION °
DRINKS WORLD: What did you think of the competition? What was the most enjoyable part? GIRITHARAN PANCHAKAREN: The competition, overall, was truly an amazing experience. I had fun the entire time. The most enjoyable part, I would have to say, is when we went to the wet and spice markets to source out the ingredients that we would use for our cocktails. LÊ NGUYÊN PHÚC (TIMMY): First of all, I want to thank the competition organisers for establishing one of the most amazing and professional competitions, where I could compete and learn from other bartenders. The most important thing that came from the competition is that I’ve made good friends. The most enjoyable part was when we went to the spice market for the spice market challenge. It blew both my mind and my nose, going into these small shops full of spices. Rana Chandan: Joining a competition makes us more creative and confident. I enjoyed connecting with people and being social. As well as that, it’s great to feel that sense of success. NGUYEN HUU PHÚ: I have just one word for the competition, “Awesome”. I was very proud of my cocktail. ANDREW AGUSTINUS LUGIMAN: The competition went really well - I am honoured to represent my own country (Indonesia) and also the place where I currently work, Henshin – The Westin Jakarta. DOROTHY LAM: The competition was great. The most enjoyable part was to meet great bartenders from around Asia, learning from them and hearing great ideas about their innovations. They have really inspired me. And of course visiting the bars was a lot of fun. DW: What was your favourite bar in KL? GIRITHARAN PANCHAKAREN: My favourite bar in KL is Omakase + Appreciate. Shawn Chong and Karl Too are masters of their craft and it’s amazing watching them in their element. TIMMY PHÚC: Definitely PS150. Outside it looks like a small toy shop but inside it’s another
world. With no sign, you could walk past and not notice it. If I hadn’t have gone with a group, I think I would have walked around that area over and over, asking people. NGUYEN HUU PHÚ: I loved our time in PS150. There was great music, interesting drinks, and an excellent atmosphere. Omakase + Appreciate by Karl and Shawn was fantastic aswell. ANDREW AGUSTINUS LUGIMAN: PS150, which has a speakeasy concept. I loved the ambiance, the menu, and their cocktail selection.
DOROTHY LAM: Omakase + Appreciate. This bar makes great signature cocktails that truly represent their bar, but for me also making some good classics is also essential. The bartender made me one of the best sazerac cocktails I have ever tasted - it blew my mind. It’s a great looking bar with good character and personality, great hospitality and of cause super nice drinks. DW: How did you feel the competition went overall? Were you happy with your cocktail? GIRITHARAN PANCHAKAREN: Overall, it was truly an eye-opener for me. To be able to see
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° COMPETITION °
various bartenders from all over Asia and how they incorporated Opihr Gin into their cocktails to make it their own. It is something that I will not forget too soon. I was immensely happy with my cocktail, ‘The Traveller’, when I came up with it. It truly defines me as a person. Simple outlook with a great personality. TIMMY PHÚC: It was a bit stressful when the competition began, I couldn’t avoid the feeling, so I just stood there and took a deep breath. Being my first time at an international competition, I just wasn’t sure if I had prepared enough. This made me stress more. Time was ticking so I just tried to make my two best signature cocktails that I had prepared, and the stress was soon replaced with fun and excitement. RANA CHANDAN: It was my first competition so I was very nervous, but it all went very smoothly. I was super happy with my cocktail and everyone gave me lovely comments too.
DW: What was the name of the cocktail and can you tell us the inspiration behind your creation? GIRITHARAN PANCHAKAREN: The name, ‘The Traveller’, comes from the idea of how Opihr Gin was created. The journey begins in Indonesia and ends in London. Along the way, ingredients were collected in different countries to produce a spice forward gin. ‘The Traveller’ brings that same idea forward. By using the ingredients on the following page, I hope to take the person drinking this cocktail on the journey with me. NGUYEN HUU PHÚ: The name of my cocktail is ‘Saigon’. That’s also the name of my city. The inspiration for my cocktail was the culture and heritage of Saigon. The scent of Indochina and the flavour of modern life there.
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Created by the winner of the Opihr Spiced Gin Competition, Giritharan Panchakaren
INGREDIENTS: 60ml Ginger Flower infused Opihr Gin 1 x Cube White Sugar 3 x Dashes Angostura Bitters ½ x Bsp. Black Peppers ½ x Bsp.Tailed Peppers ½ x Bsp. Sarawak White Peppers (for smoke) 3 nos. Cardamom Pods GARNISH: Coriander leaf METHOD: Stirred GLASSWARE: Round tumbler
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° COMPETITION °
PATRÓN PERFECTIONISTS COCKTAIL COMPETITION IN HONG KONG FOR THE FIRST TIME
The Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition was back and bigger than ever in its third year. For the first time, bartenders from Hong Kong, China and Taipei were invited to take on the challenge of creating the perfect drink using Patrón ultra-premium tequila. To be crowned the ‘Perfectionist’, bartenders had to encapsulate the spirit of the brand and display their cocktail craftsmanship. The judges were looking for a drink with a story unique and authentic to the bartender with ingredients that, “…made the tequila sing.” Li Tong, from Guangzhou’s Lotus Lounge, took out the title with her ‘Dancing Bees’ cocktail. The winning drink was inspired by Chinese medicine and the sensory memory of caramel tea, which her mother would make when Li was a child. The three judges agreed that what set Li apart from the rest was her engaging personality and the joy she found in competing. Li will now be flown to Mexico in January to compete at the global finals held at Hacienda Patrón, the home of Patrón tequila. She will battle it out against 18 other national finalists from across the world for the opportunity to be named the Global Patrón Perfectionist of 2017.
OPINIONS FROM THE PATRÓN PERFECTIONISTS JUDGING PANEL Leading industry experts and the judges for the 2017 Patrón Perfectionist Greater China regional finals, Matthew Sykes, Mark Hammons and Joe Villanueva, discuss how bartenders can set themselves apart on the competition stage. DRINKS WORLD: What was it about the winner that stood out to you above the rest? MATTHEW SYKES: Li stood out above the rest of the competition for a variety of reasons. I think she was consistent in our different scoring categories and her performance was really strong. I thought the story and how she linked in the Chinese ingredients and the idea of wellness was ingenious. In the end, though, it comes down to the drink. And as Mark did say in that summary speech, “The tequila needs to sing. Patrón needs to be the hero of the cocktail.” She delivered that. DW: Joe, as a seasoned competitor in regional and world competitions, do you have any advice for regional winners heading to the global competition in Mexico? JOE VILLANUEVA: You need to know everything about the brand, even down to the
shape of the bottle and what the cork is made of. You really have to know and understand everything. DW: This is the first year of the Patrón Perfectionists China, Taipei and Hong Kong regional competition. Going back to you Matt, what about this region in particular really stood out this year? MATTHEW SYKES: I think what stood out for me was the way that the competitors really brought local trends and ingredients into their cocktails. You could see the inspiration they drew from their cities and from the places they come from. That feeling of personalisation was great. People are putting a part of themselves into their cocktails and into the competition in a way that I didn’t expect them to do. That’s been really exciting for me. DW: In presenting to judges on an international stage, most of who are native English speakers, do you feel the language barrier can hinder competitors in a way? MARK HAMMONS: Yeah, I would say the ability to connect with the judges through language is an important tool. I mean, you could take the winners of the American bartender competition
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MEET LI TONG:
PATRÓN PERFECTIONISTS WINNER 2017
DRINKS WORLD: First of all congratulations. What are some of the emotions you’re feeling right now after your win? LI TONG: My mind is still completely blank. Coming into this competition, I just wanted to gain some experience, make some new friends and, also, have a bit of a holiday in Hong Kong (laughs). I never imagined I would win this competition. I’m so, so excited. DW: What was the inspiration behind your cocktail? LT: When I was little, my Mum liked to make caramel tea for me and she would also add a little bit of passion fruit in it. So I just wanted to make a cocktail inspired by those flavours.
and send them to China to present to Chinese judges in Mandarin, and they would quickly appreciate quickly how difficult it is to express your own ideas in a different language. I think that is an underappreciated aspect of these bartenders. I’m sure when they’re in their bars in Guangzhou or Taipei, they don’t have to present cocktails in English very often. The banter they have with their customers might not translate into English, so it’s definitely a challenge and a skill set they need to develop. DW: Matthew, going into the global stage obviously being held in January in Mexico, we’re seeing all these diverse bartenders and bar managers and their stories, what is the one thing that’s really going to stand out for these judges? MATTHEW SYKES: It’s really important that they know as much as they can about Patrón, from our production process to the values of the brand and portray that in their drink. It’s about being passionate and creating a drink in a very serious way, but not taking yourself too seriously. They need to be proud of their country/region and showcase it to the rest of the world to really be the best possible representative of the region. For more judges views on the Patrón Perfectionists Competition, head to drinks.world
DW: What ingredients were used in your cocktail? LT: I made a syrup that’s inspired by my recent exploration into Chinese medicine. I wanted to use the concept of Chinese medicine, so I made the syrup with caramel because, as we all know, caramel can lower the internal heat in the body. I wanted to make a healthy drink for people who love cocktails. DW: How long did it take for you to perfect your cocktail? LT: At least a month. I invited all my friends to come to my bar and help me to practice by tasting the cocktail. DW: How will you prepare yourself before the world competition? LT: I’ll go and learn a little bit of Spanish first (laughs). I’ll do a bit more practice, read more books about Chinese medicine etc. I just want to tell the world that Chinese medicine can be used to improve diet and digestion. DW: What inspired you to enter the Patrón Perfectionists competition? LT: I love the brand Patrón. It’s because, roughly two years ago, I went to a masterclass of Patrón and it gave me the feeling that the brand was relaxed, happy and young. I want to be associated with being happy, relaxed and doing the things I want.
DW: Have you participated in many competitions before Patrón? LT: This is the second one. DW: What advice would you give to bartenders entering Patrón Perfectionists next year? LT: Bartenders should try and use flavours they might not use everyday, be confident and tell their story. DW: What practice did you do to prepare yourself for the competition? LT: Actually, when I’m working, I like to talk to my customers and present my ideas for the drinks. I practiced a lot, regarding presentation, to my customers. DW: Do you feel in Guangzhou, now, there is a big cocktail scene? LT: The customers definitely want more cocktails. If you do your best in making a cocktail, they’re appreciative. But if you’re not 100 per cent invested, they’ll feel that too.
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° COMPETITION °
elit ART OF MARTINI ®
COCKTAIL COMPETITION, HONG KONG
he excitedly awaited elit Art of Martini Cocktail Competition returned to Hong Kong at the vibrant Ophelia bar. The five finalists battled it out on the night, showcasing their unique reinventions of the classic martini cocktail using elit Vodka. Three industry leaders then chose the most innovative cocktail that also preserved the integrity of the martini.
Paul Kwok, bar manager and co-founder of De Luna Tapas Bar, took out the top spot with his ‘Saffron-Tini’, a unique mix of elit Vodka and sous vide saffron infused white wine sauce. Paul was inspired by the food pairing of saffron risotto and martini, which he regularly enjoys at his favourite Italian restaurants. It was tough competition on the night, with four other competing bartenders creating a range of extremely inventive and highly flavoursome cocktails using, predominantly local ingredients. Each bartender had two months to perfect their martini and test it on customers in their venues before the regional final. Paul will now head over to Ibiza, Spain, the party capital of the world, to compete in the global finals. He will have the opportunity to participate in mentoring sessions with a world-class chef, designed to get finalists experimenting with flavours, before showing off his skill on the world stage.
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PAUL KWOK WINNER OF elit ART OF MARTINI COMPETITION HONG KONG ®
TALKS ABOUT elit® VODKA, THE COMPETITION AND WHAT DRIVES HIM TO BE A LEADING BARTENDER IN HONG KONG. DRINKS WORLD: Share with us the inspiration behind your winning cocktail? PAUL KWOK: Italian cuisine. Whenever I go to Italian restaurants, I will order a martini cocktail before my saffron risotto, so I drew inspiration from this and incorporated saffron in my martini cocktail. For the second base, I used a modern cooking method to handle the saffron and infused it with white wine. DW: What drives you to enter competitions like elit Art of Martini? PK: A good friend of mine asked me to help out with his bar and make it the best bar on Kowloon side. I smiled at him and said ‘let’s do it’! Shortly after another good friend of mine, Tomi Ho told me about the elit® Art of Martini competition and said I should join. I was interested straight away because elit® is one of my favourite vodkas and it would also help build my profile and the venue where I work, De Luna Tapas bar. DW: How will you prepare for the finals? Will you change anything to your presentation when on stage? PK: For the final in Ibiza, I’ve already prepared another cocktail. But the winning cocktail in the Hong Kong final, I won’t change any presentation for that. DW: What’s your piece of advice for bartenders looking to enter elit® Art of Martini next year? PK: Relax and enjoy the game!! DW: You’ve been in the industry for 18 years, what motivates you each day? PK: Curiosity, knowledge and the drive to learn. DW: How have you seen the Hong Kong cocktail scene change? PK: I believe bartenders and mixologist will generate more great ideas. We have smart, talented, bartenders in Hong Kong who are willing to share, learn and aspire to be the best.
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et to know industry legends, rising stars and the faces and minds behind brands and venues, as Drinks World chats to key players from around the globe.
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° MEET °
GLOBAL WHISKY MASTER FOR DIAGEO’S SCOTCH PORTFOLIO M any would agree Ewan Gunn has one of the best jobs in the world, travelling the globe and educating the trade on whisky. Recently in the Pearl of the Orient, we find out when Ewan’s passion for whisky started, what it takes to become a whiksy master and how the amber liquid is best enjoyed.
DRINKS WORLD: Share with us your background and how you got started in your career? EWAN GUNN: I started in the Scotch industry 19 years ago, straight from university. I got a job in sales with a very small, independent bottler based out of Campbelltown, which is associated with Springbank distillery, and just grew from there. I did some sales roles, a little bit of work with some production teams, moved companies a few times, lived in the U.S. for a while, so I moved around a bit. During this time I found I enjoyed the PR and educational aspects of my job and eventually moved into brand ambassador work.
my father on the shore, just near the Lagavulin Distillery. He poured me a glass of typical smoked Ileach Scotch whisky and I think he was hoping I’d taste it and be repelled and never want to drink Scotch. Actually, what happened is, I just fell in love with it. I remember sitting there, waves crashing on the shore just in front of us, it was early evening, the sun was going down, it was just the perfect occasion. The perfect time to discover that I loved Scotch.
DW: What were the steps you took in your career path to become a Global Whisky Master? EG: I think having a really good, rounded view of all aspects of the industry is really helpful. I was very keen to spend time working at distilleries, which I did with one of my earliest companies. From there I got out to as many markets as possible, learning how they differ. You can take some great learnings from one market and apply it to another. Understanding that, ultimately, we make Scotch whisky to sell it and for people to enjoy it, so a good commercial understanding is helpful. Trying lots of Scotch as well is helpful because that’s what it comes down to, having a really good understanding of the flavours.
DW: You’ve been to Hong Kong before, what excites you about this market? EG: One thing I really like about Asia specifically in Hong Kong, is just the love and adoration for the Scotch category as a whole. There’s a passion for Scotch whisky here, which you don’t see for other types of whisk(e)y. It’s something that really fills me with pride. Coming from a country of five million people, quite often you’re standing in a city of 12 million and so many of them know Scotch. I mean, we’re quite a small dot on the map when you look at the globe but yet it’s such a big influence, in terms of the global market. I think as well, the way people enjoy Scotch whisky in Hong Kong excites me. We went out to a few bars and I just couldn’t believe how frequently people were ordering Scotch, be it straight up, on the rocks, in a cocktail, in a tall drink, etc. It was the most consistent drink going out in pretty much every bar we were in. It just filled me with so much pride.
DW: When was that specific moment of you falling in love with whisky and realising this is the career path you want to go down? EG: I remember that moment quite vividly. I was about to go away to university. I was on the Isle of Islay with my family and I was sitting with
DW: So now, I have to know, out of the whole portfolio you’re looking after, which one really excites you the most? EG: It’s a really tricky question because we have such a huge, diverse portfolio of single malts, blends, single grain Scotches. In that
case, I would have to go with Johnnie Walker Black Label. For me, it represents everything that’s great about what Scotch whisky stands for. It has elements of every flavour and style that have produced and present in Scotland brought together perfectly in one glass. It’s Scotland in a glass. After a long day in the office on a Friday, ready to start the weekend, nothing beats a Johnnie and Ginger. A tall glass, lots of ice, Johnnie Walker, ginger ale or ginger beer if you want something a little spicier, a little squeeze of lime, it’s perfect. A great way to start the weekend. DW: In the last 5-10 years, are there any categories that have really taken off in Asia? What do you see as the future of this growth? EG: I’ve been hugely impressed by the explosion of growth in the single malt. It’s something that has just been embraced by several of the Asian markets, and just continues to go from strength to strength. That’s something I’m really, really proud of. I think how Scotch whisky is consumed as well. One of the things that we used to see in a lot of markets around the world was a lot of rules about how you should or shouldn’t drink Scotch. And one thing that I actually love about Asia is that people aren’t restricted by these rules. They enjoy it how they want to enjoy it. And that’s what I actively encourage all the time wherever I go in the world. If you’re enjoying Scotch whisky and it’s putting a smile on your face, I don’t care how you’re drinking it. That’s why we make it. DW: What trends in the Whisk(e)y category are your forecasting for 2018?
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EG: One of the brands I’ve worked on a lot in the past few years, since its launch, is Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky. We’re forecasting single grain to be one of the next big things in Scotch. The two main reasons we’re forecasting that are mixability of the liquid - you can make some amazing, really simple serves, be that a long drink with a mixer or some really interesting cocktails that you maybe couldn’t do with other Scotches. Secondly, it’s an accessible style of liquid - if you want to drink it straight up or on the rocks because it’s quite gentle, quite sweet and it’s got some beautiful vanilla, almond
sweetness. So it’s a great Scotch whisky, both for people who want to try that other half of the blended Scotch equation and those looking for an interesting step into the world of Scotch. DW: Any particular cocktail that comes to mind using Haig that really stands out? EG: I’ve had some interesting cocktails made with it, it makes a great Rob Roy for example. One cocktail that blew me away was in Miami when a bartender made me a Mai Tai using Haig Club. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Mai Tais, but it was probably the best I’ve ever had. So
that’s a great example of someone stepping into a territory that Scotch would not normally play in. Ryan Chetiyawardana from Dandelyan has done a Haig Club mouse trap ice ball roller coaster. Essentially, it runs an ice ball round copper rings, over an edible paint, then it gets dusted by sherbet and falls into a glass before then Haig Club is dispensed. This is showing a real modern approach with Scotch; something fun, something engaging, something to bring people onboard. It’s super cool.
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° MEET °
Tr y k o w s k i
GLOBAL SINGLETON AMBASSADOR
rvin Trykowski was introduced to the world of bartending in top tier cocktail bars in Scotland. Taking the time to master his craft, he later took an ambassador role for a small whisky company where his passion for the industry flourished and now holds the title of Global Singleton Ambassador.
DRINKS WORLD: Share with us your background and how you got started in the industry? ERVIN TRYKOWSKI: I came into the whisky industry through a rather unconventional path. I was first introduced to Scotch by my stepdad, who’s an Arcadian man and fiercely passionate about Highland Park and he got me into it at about the age of 18. I then started bartending, working in top tier cocktail bars – mostly in Scotland. From there I started working as an ambassador for a small whisky company called Inver House and then later on as the brand ambassador for malts and blends, looking after everywhere in Great Britian outside of London. For the last two months, I’ve been working with Ewan as the global Singleton ambassador, so we’re probably going to be seeing a bit more of each other. DW: It’s a lot of bartenders’ dream to become an ambassador in the liquor industry. What are the steps they need to take to make this happen? ET: Yeah, of course. The first thing I would say is that it’s easy in the world of social media where we have everything at our fingertips to sit and talk in front of a computer and watch YouTube videos of people doing talks and learning techniques, and that’s fantastic. However, it’s so important to go out and meet people, go and see ambassadors talk. Some of best things I’ve learned have been watching other ambassadors showing their craft, talking about the liquid, getting people excited. I remember when I first started bartending, there weren’t as many brand ambassadors kicking about and then we went through a glut and we were literally going to see three brand ambassadors talk a week. That’s tailed off a bit and people aren’t making as much of an effort, but the best thing you can do is watch other people talk about their brands, go and meet the people who produce it and go to distilleries.
DW: Any particular brand ambassador in mind, in your experience, that really stood out? ET: Yeah, very early in my career I was working in Manchester and Robert ‘Skipp’ Jupp, when he used to work for Sagatiba, I remember him getting grilled by a Brazilian in a tasting and handling it really, really well, and that has always stuck with me. Colin Dunn from Diageo as well is the most exciting speaker; you can put him in front of a room of 200 people and he’s like a rock star. He really gets people excited on the brand and when I first started working at Diageo, he took me under his wing and took me to the Isle Whisky festival and introduced me to everyone and watched them talk. It was a bit like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” DW: Was there something in your role, you wish you knew coming in that no one has ever told you? ET: So, so much (laughs). I guess it’s not something you can’t learn until you do it. I’ve got loads of energy and I love talking to people about whisky. I’m eager to introduce whisky to new people, I want to bring Scotch to a new audience, and there are quite a few constraints working in a big company to get that done. Thing is, it’s worth it though, because we do have such an amazing selection of liquids. And, there is so many brand teams to work with, and it took time to learn that. I don’t think it’s something that anyone could have told me, because you’ve still got to figure it out by yourself. I mean, that’s just one example. There’s probably a million more. DW: Is there something that you haven’t shared with the industry that you want people to know? ET: No, I tend to share everything. Even sometimes when I probably shouldn’t (laughs).
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DW: You’ve spent a bit of time now in Hong Kong, what are you most impressed about regarding the bar and cocktail scene here? ET: The service and the attitude of the bartenders. It’s really hospitable. Everywhere we’ve gone, everyone has welcomed us with open arms. The most impressive thing – Ewan touched on it already but I’m going to bring it up again because I was completely blown away with pride – is watching Scotch being used. We sat at a bar the other night and every single drink that went out was Scotch. We were in Employees Only and bumped into an old friend who was wearing teddy bear pajamas whilst tending the bar! As soon as we walked in – we ended up staying in there for a good few hours - because it was just so welcoming. You know when you go into an environment, or a bar, and you get surprised, it instantly elevates your night. So many of the bars have done that. The style of bars throughout Asia are very different from the very limited experience I have of them, but Hong Kong definitely seems to be more Westernised, more in line with say New York or London than it is with Asia or Japan. DW: What would be your favourite way to show off a flavour profile in Singleton that a bartender can easily replicate in their bar for the consumer? ET: I’m going to give you three answers: One would be three neat Scotches from the same Singleton distillery, so say you did Glen Ord, do 12, 15, 18. I’d get them to go 12, 15, 18, then 18, 15, 12, and the 12, 15, 18 and get them to write me down one word each time. You’d be amazed how many times it changes. That’s the beautiful thing about flavour. Depending on what has preceded it, depending on what you’ve eaten, depending on what you’re listening to, depending on what you’ve heard about it, depending on what someone else has said to you, your perception of flavour changes. Just to show it on that basic level is an incredible way to do it. Second way would be with soda water. Pick a classic soda water and mix it with a local soda, I do a lot of stuff in the U.K. with rhubarb soda,
or make your own soda, green tea soda and add a dash of bitters. You can make so many different combinations of drink from just those three ingredients. Change the garnish, and it’s an entirely different drink. And third, same logic but with an Old Fashioned. Bitters, sugar, Singleton. Simple. Change it. Change the Singleton, change the bitters, change the sugar, completely different combination. And the reasons I say it is because it’s not just for bartenders. If they’re doing that for their guests and they’re picking that up in their homes, they’re sharing that experience with their friends in their home and then they’re coming and visiting their bar. So if we give people bite-sized chunks that are easy for them to do at home, then they’ll do it, and they’ll talk about it, and they’ll become mini-ambassadors for these bars. Which, if you’re a bartender, that’s what you want. DW: Now we talked on the 12, 15 and 18, is there any particular food you would match these up with? ET: So, with a classic hat on, the old matches always do work. They are not classic food combinations for no reason. Dark chocolate, mature cheddar, blue cheese for your bigger whiskies. But I once had a concept for a fried chicken and whisky cocktail bar, which I’m still hoping we’re going to get to pull together at some point. I’m happy for someone reading this to steal my idea, as long as you do it with Singleton and it’s called ‘Buttermilk and Barley’ (laughs). But I think to do really cool, fun, whacky things that people don’t associate with and just serving it in fun environments that people don’t expect. Whisky has the flavour profile to match with almost anything. It’s the most versatile spirit in the world. DW: Your go-to whisky cocktail after a long day at work? ET: A whisky soda. I really like the Glen Ord or the Glendullan are my two favourites for soda and just depends if I want that sweet dryness, then I’m going with the Glendullan. If I want that big, round citrus fruit note then I’ll go to the Ord, they’re my two favourites.
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his edition of Cocktail Club features rum cocktails created by past and present bartenders who push the boundaries in the cocktail arena throughout Southeast Asia.
Created by Timothee Becqueriaux INGREDIENTS • 50ml Havana Club 7 Year Old • 25ml Honey Syrup • 25ml Dessert Wine • 3 x Dashes Angostura Bitters • 1 x Whole Lavender Flavoured Egg METHOD Dry Shake and shake GARNISH Mustache shaped bitter spray GLASSWARE Absinthe Pontarlier Glass
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CARIBBEAN SOUL Created by Ayoko Miyake
INGREDIENTS • 50ml Plantation 3 Stars White Rum Infused with Basil Leaves • 10ml Vya Dry Vermouth • Half Orange Cut • 5ml Fresh Lime Juice • Top with East Imperial Tonic Water METHOD Muddle orange in a Boston shaker. Add Plantation Infused Rum, Vya Dry Vermouth and lime juice. Shake with crushed ice and strain into a copper mug. Top with crushed ice, East Imperial Tonic Water and garnish GARNISH Orange slice with basil leaves GLASSWARE Copper mug
SR-7’S (SINGAPORE REVOLUTIONARY SEVENS) Created by Mohammad Irwan
grate half a nutmeg into the mixture and put 10gm of dried whole Szechuan pepper
INGREDIENTS • 60ml Flor de Cana, Grand Reserve, 7 years Rum • 30ml Fresh Lime Juice • 30ml Infused Sugar Syrup* • 15ml Pineapple Juice • 15ml Cointreau • 1 x Dash of Regans Orange Bitters • 2 x Dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters • Pinch of Cayenne pepper
• Slow stir for 10 minutes • Turn off the heat and put the hot pot into a cold bath • Once cool, fine strain the syrup mixture in a bottle and put in the fridge
*Sugar syrup infusion • Boil 500ml of water with 4 stalks of fresh pandan leaves • Add 2 blocks of gula melaka with 250gm of brown sugar, stir until dissolved • Once the sugar dissolves, turn down the heat to low, minimizing the burn, then
GARNISH Durian infused pandan agar-agar with coconut milk ripple
METHOD Build all the ingredients in a cobbler, shake adding the pinch of cayenne pepper last, and hard shake the cocktail
GLASSWARE Tall collins glass
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° DRINK °
TRES CHIFLADOS Created by Austen Lendrum
INGREDIENTS • 50ml Brugal Especial Extra Dry • 10ml Fresh Lemon Juice • 10ml Fleur de Thym Liqueur • 1cm Thai Red Chilli • 2cm Cucumber • White Caster Sugar
GARNISH White caster sugar on the rim with 1 sprig of thyme resting on top of the glass. On the neck of the martini glass is a red chilli hollowed out with thyme inserted and wrapped around the neck with a piece of lemongrass
METHOD Muddle cucumber in Boston mixing glass, then add the Thai chilli and muddle once and lightly. Add remaining contents, stir and double strain into a chilled martini glass with the entire rim in caster sugar
GLASSWARE Martini glass
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° DRINK °
EL ENCUENTRO DE BOLÍVAR Y CORDERO Created by Zdenek Kastanek
INGREDIENTS • 50ml Diplomático Ambassador Rum • 5ml Housemade Falernum • 2 x Dashes Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters • 2 x Dashes Angostura Bitters • 1 x Little Scoop of Housemade Lemon Sorbet • 1ml Housemade Tobacco Tincture METHOD Stir the rum, falernum and bitters with one big block of ice and strain into the glass GARNISH Dash the housemade tobacco tincture over the top. Coat the rim of the glass with a thin film of the falernum GLASSWARE Crystal Brandy Balloon
PURSUIT OF APPLINESS Created by Vijay Mudaliar
INGREDIENTS • 30ml Stolen Spiced Rum • 10ml Lemon Juice • 15ml Apple Shrub • 10ml Suze • 10ml Falernum • Top-up with Ginger Beer
GARNISH Ripped apart data board from old laptop and apple chips GLASSWARE Apple mug
METHOD Shake, strain and top up with ginger beer
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° FEATURE °
k c i t s e h t d n from behi
and it, some good e c fa t’s le , n e s of a a lot happ to confession in artenders see e lv e d e w e ood. Here peek behind th a e some not so g k ta e w s, u o tally anonym and crushes. s, bartender. To e p ri g s, e v e e ir pet p curtain of the
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ves in the industry? What are your biggest pet pee
ly, at a guest orders (see above). Honest Bar tenders that complain about wh sly your job, cocktails, hospitality ser iou e tak can You . der ten bar s iou ser oh too It’s cool to have fun at your job. ty. par a ing ow thr are we ber em but just rem What spirit or drink would you like to see make a comeback?
MILK PUNCHES! Have you ever dated a co-worker?
Your alter ego is?
Jeff Bridges from Big Lebowski
How many shifts do you think you have missed or called in sick because you were hung-over?
ZERO. Live and die by the sword. Hangover remedy?
Water, and something spicy. SWEAT IT OUT! DRINKS WORLD
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