THE MAGAZINE FOR MANAGERS, SOMMELIERS AND BARTENDERS EDITION 31 AUSTRALIA
SVEN WOODFORD RESERVE COCKTAIL COMPETITION
INDUSTRY ICON, WARRIOR AT WORK
Feat. Winner Matt Linklater
DRINKS WORLD AUSTRALIA 2017 THATâ€™S A WRAP!
VODKA From Russia, With Love
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Credits CREDITS Publisher Ashley Pini firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Welcome to edition 31 of Drinks World Australia - the final edition of 2017.
Production Manager Sasha Falloon email@example.com
This time of year warrants a couple of minutes - with a cocktail in hand - to sit back and reflect on our favourite moments of 2017. Even though it passed us by in a nanosecond, we’re in no hurry to forget the buzz of activity from the last 12 months. Turn to page 10 and 42 for a recap of some of the biggest events, competitions and new venue openings we witnessed.
General Manager Melinda Virgona EDITORIAL Associate Editor Hannah Sparks Editorial Assistant Stephanie Aikins DESIGN Senior Designer Racs Salcedo SALES / MARKETING National Sales Manager Tim Ludlow Sales Manager Daire Dalton DRINKS Drinks Curator Ben Davidson (Bespoke Drinks) PHOTOGRAPHY Photographers Stephen Walton, Ryan Stuart CONTRIBUTORS Writers Ben Davidson, Lukas Raschilla, Chris Middleton
Most recently on the competition front, Matt Linklater took out the Woodford Reserve Australia Cocktail Competition at Marble Bar in Sydney. Head on over to page 13 for all the details. At Drinks World, we’ve already made the switch to refreshing cocktails in this abating heat and the key ingredient we’re using is vodka. Summer is vodka’s time to shine and so we’re taking this opportunity to delve into the spirit’s history and show you the results from our recent vodka tasting. Flick to pages 16 and 19 for all the details. It’s also the season of spritz cocktails, and on page 23 we jump back to an era where the spritz came alive. Learn about Jacob Schweppe, the carbonation of water and Cocktail Club on page 47, plus we feature (you guessed it) spritz cocktails with a twist. A man who needs no introduction to the industry and our final front cover guest of 2017 is Sven Almenning. Turn to page 32 to get to know the industry icon, his motivations and what’s on the horizon for 2018. Our very own jet-setting Ben Davidson travelled over to Taipei just recently on behalf of Ballantine’s Whisky and sat down with the talented Michael Cameron from Liquid Academy. Read his experience on page 39. Throughout the pages of DW, we hope you pick up something useful to take back and apply to your bar. We’d also like to raise a big CHEERS to the team at U.G.L.Y Bartender and all the bartenders who raised a whopping $1.7 million for people affected by leukaemia. Lastly, browse through our website (www.drinks.world), subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on social media to keep your finger on what’s happening in the bar scene. Until next time, get stuck in, and enjoy the 50 or so pages on everything drinks. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you again in 2018. Cheers,
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com Although Hip Media 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. Decisions or actions based on the information and publications provided by Hip Media are at your own risk. drinks world
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Vodka - From Russia, with Love Vodka Tasting
31 35 39
Group Beverage Managers Liquid Academy
Woodford Reserve Cocktail Competition
Confessions of a Bartender
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° NEWS °
WHAT’S HAPPENING? BENRIACH RELEASE AUTHENTICUS 30-YEAR-OLD
EAST 9TH BREWING DELIVER AUSTRALIA’S FIRST HEMP BEER The boys at East 9th Brewing have announced the release of Doss Blockos Hempire Hemp Ale, Australia’s first beer made with the non-hallucinogenic Cannabis Sativa plant. The brew has been released in about 70 venues across the country with plans to expand the distribution and product range to include a packaged version by early 2018. The ground organic hemp seeds used in the new release give the beer a distinctly nutty and smoky taste with a creamy mouthfeel.
BenRiach, the Speyside whisky producers known for their unique peated expressions, have announced the release of Authenticus 30-Year-Old. The rare, single malt whisky continues the brands legacy of single malts distilled from peat cut in the North-East of Scotland. The resulting expression is heavy in woody notes, due to the ancient trees, heather and bracken in the region. Burning this peat has released sweet smoke and aromatic spices into the malt. BenRiach Authenticus 30-Year-Old is now available at specialist retailers worldwide. For more information, head on over to the BenRiach website: www.benriachdistillery.co.uk/our-whiskies
Join the Hempire and learn more about the beer at the East 9th Brewing website: e9thbrewing.com/doss-blockos
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Birthday wishes are in order for two of Sydney’s most beloved cocktail bars! Burrow Bar turned two on Monday 4th of December, and Bulletin Place celebrated its fifth birthday on Sunday December 17th. Both held killer parties to mark another rotation around the sun!
BARTENDERS GET DOWNRIGHT UGLY FOR CHARITY The U.G.L.Y Bartender of the Year competition has had another successful year, with 1,400 bartenders nationwide raising more than $1.7 million for people affected by blood cancer. Through running a number of unique and interactive fundraisers in their local communities, this year’s U.G.L.Y bartenders will subsidise more than 21,000 nights of accomodation for rural families in need. Drinks World congratulates all those involved. For more information, go to the drinks.world website.
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° NEWS ° CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS MONTH’S COMPETITION WINNERS! The month of November saw a number of bartenders battle it out for some of the industry’s most prestigious titles. Congratulations to:
• Ray Letoa, from New Zealand’s The Roxy, for taking out Moutai’s ‘Enter the Dragon’ Cocktail Competition
• Black Pearl’s Matt Linklater for his win at the Woodford Reserve 2017 Australian Cocktail Challenge grand final
DRINK WITH THE DUKE Sydney’s highly anticipated Duke of Clarence opened on the 4th of December. The newest venture of Mikey Enright and Julian Train, the venue is styled as the quintessential British pub, complete with a 12-meter-long timber bar, oak wood panelling, stained glass, a library corner and a fireplace. The drinks menu boasts a 500-strong line-up of spirits from the British Isles, classic cocktails with Victorian-era twists or rotovapped with ingredients that Charles Dickens would have feasted on. The Duke serves classic pub cuisine, with a clear British sensibility. Consultant and fellow-Liverpudlian David O’Brien (ex-Merivale) has created a menu drawing on his cherished memories growing up in Northern England, including Scotch eggs and a fish finger sandwich made with fresh blue eyed cod, tartare sauce and salad. Address: Laneway 152, 156 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000 W: www.thedukeofclarence.com Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 4pm-2am
BACARDÍ LEGACY ANNOUNCE THE THREE MOST PROMISING BARTENDERS BACARDÍ Legacy has announced the three bartenders selected to compete in the Australian National Final in February next year. Congratulations to James Irvine from The Swillhouse Group, Vini Wang of Hains & Co and Canvas Clubs’ Zachary Mynott. The winner will represent Australia at the global competition in Mexico City in 2018.
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° NEWS °
Keep Sydney Open headed to the Supreme Court in response to the Police Commissioner’s challenge to the group’s third rally
10th Timothy Ching from Hong Kong was named Beefeater MIXLDN 6 Global Champion
20th First live entertainment venues gain time extensions in the CBD and Kings Cross
9th Drinks World’s T25 Bartenders for Hong Kong 2017 announced
12th Speed Rack, the international female-only bartending competition, launched in Singapore with Anna Souza crowned the winner 16th – 21st Singapore Cocktail Festival
25th Atlas Grand Lobby Bar opened in Singapore
31st Mike McGinty from the United Kingdom’s ‘The Voyage of Buck’ announced Patrón Perfectionist Cocktail Champion
15th Fair Work Commission ruled penalty rates would be reduced for hospitality workers
MAY | AUSSIE WINE MONTH
FUN FACT: Atlas made its debut on the World’s 50 Best Bars list of 2017 in its first year, a feat almost unheard of
HOW ABOUT 1st – 8th
50 of the World’s Best Somms toured Australia’s wine regions
19th Jonothan Carr from Kittyhawk and Kurtis Bosley, Public House Management, win 2017 Sydney Cider Cocktail Final 10 °
7th – 13th World Class Cocktail Week 20th World Whisky Day 26th
BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2017 Champion was awarded to Belgium’s Ran Van Ongevalle
16th Jacob Cohen won Australian Final of Southern Comfort Travelling Tales Cocktail Competition 21st Asia’s 50 Best
Bars 2017 announced
29th Igor Pachi (Sydney) and Blake Hall (Melbourne) announced winners of elit Art of Martini Australian Competition Photo: Joe Schofield from Tippling Club featured in Asia’s 50 Best Bars
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JULY | DRY JULY!
7th Atsushi Suzuki from the Sober Company in Shanghai crowned 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion
11th – 14th Commercial Drinks Show Sydney
22nd Melbourne’s Black Pearl named Best International Cocktail Bar at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards
31st Australian Wine List of the Year Awards 9th Drinks World’s T25 Bartenders for Australia 2017 announced. Launch party kicked off at Soda Factory
25th Canadian Kaitlyn Stewart named DIAGEO
WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2017
26th Hong Kong’s Devender Kumar announced
Hernö Gin Cocktail Award
17th Dan Gregory announced Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Australian winner 27th Mattia Cianca named Association de la Sommellerie Internationale’s Best Sommelier of Australia 2017
et’s cast an eye back over the year that was, from competitions to openings, awards to events and the biggest industry news.
NOVEMBER | MOVEMBER
2nd – 11th Old Fashioned Week 2nd Jake Page named winner of the La Maison
Cointreau Asia Competition
14th Matt Linklater of Black Pearl won Woodford Reserve Cocktail Competition
17th Moutai Enter the Dragon Competition winner announced as Ray Letoa of New Zealand’s Roxy Cinema
15th Australia said ‘Yes!’ to same sex marriage
5th World’s 50 Best Bars announced 14th David Robinson of Hot Tamale
crowned winner of Patrón Perfectionists Australia National Final
4th Mikey Enright and Julian Train’s anticipated venue the Duke of Clarence opened 18th Final edition of Drinks World for 2017 on
25th MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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DON’T STARE INTO YOUR PHONE. STARE INTO YOUR OLD FASHIONED. IT’S WAY MORE MYSTERIOUS.
The Perfect Single Old Fashioned Glass
We can all be a little classier. Dress better. Drink better. Raise the bar. So we asked the world’s leading barman to create the perfect cocktail glasses. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the Perfect Serve Collection. You’re welcome. spiegelau.com.au/perfectserve
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° SPONSORED °
GET THE LOWDOWN ON THE 2017 WOODFORD RESERVE AUSTRALIA COCKTAIL COMPETITION GRAND FINAL F
or the third year running, November saw Marble Bar in Sydney host the grand final of the annual 2017 Woodford Reserve Australia Cocktail Competition.
The competition was particularly fierce this year, with 155 bartenders from across the country putting their skills to the test to create both their ideal version of the classic Old Fashioned using Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and a bespoke cocktail that highlighted the distinct flavour profile of Woodford Reserve Rye. Each bartender had to serve their creations in their venues throughout September before taking them to the competition. After rounds of state heats and finals, five of the best bartenders Australia wide were selected to compete for the prestigious title of Woodford Reserve Australia Champion. From Melbourne’s Black Pearl there was Matt Linklater, from Sydney’s Surly’s American BBQ, Simon Hopkins, Vini Wang from Adelaide’s Hains & Co, Joshua O’Brien from The Bowery in Queensland and James Connolly from Long Chim, Western Australia. The expert judging panel, which inlcuded Brown-Forman Master Taster, Elizabeth McCall, Brown-Forman Brand Ambassador, Grant Shearon and 2016 competition winner, Alex Boon then had the difficult task of deciding
which bartender deserved the grand prize of an all expenses paid trip to New York for next year’s Woodford Reserve, Manhattan Experience U.S. Final and a tour of the Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky County. After careful deliberation, Matt Linklater was awarded top honours for his Natural Order cocktail. Ben Davidson, judge of the Woodford Reserve NSW State Final and Drinks World’s Drinks Curator, was present at the grand final and said he was thoroughly impressed by the standard of this year’s competitors. “I had the pleasure of being involved with the Woodford Reserve Cocktail Challenge as one of the judges this year. At the final I was so impressed by the quality and uniqueness of the cocktails created by the finalist bartenders. Great to see some new young guns staking their claim on T25 honours next year! It was one of the best competitions I’ve seen in a while. Well done to Thalita, Grant and the Brown-Forman team.” Keep an eye out for next year’s competition dates, with entries opening in August. State finals will be held in October before the big event, the national finals, in November.
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Drinks World caught up with grand final winner Matt Linklater to discuss his winning entry, his career inspiration and what he’s most excited to see in the Big Apple.
ML: I hate playing favourites, but the Distiller’s Select Rye is really fun to play with in cocktails. It has a huge presence without being overpowering, and is delicious and juicy.
DRINKS WORLD: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the industry? MATT LINKLATER: My family ran pubs in country NSW as I was growing up, so it was in the blood. After a couple of years of university and working in a nightclub to pay the bills, next thing I knew I was hooked on the fast paced and creative nature of the industry.
DW: What was the inspiration for your winning cocktail the Natural Order? ML: Woodford Rye was definitely the inspiration. Much like Woodford Rye is unlike any other rye whiskey I have experienced in the past, I wanted the Natural Order to be unlike any other cocktail. I wanted to step away from our reliance on produce, without sacrificing taste.
DW: What made you enter this year’s Woodford Reserve Competition? ML: Woodford has always been a brand close to my heart. Growing up in country NSW I’m a bourbon drinker through and through, so the competition was very much a way to bring my past and present together.
DW: Who has been influential in your growth and career development to get to where you are today? ML: So many people to name! But I’ll be brief - my Dad, first and foremost, who continues to push me to excel every day, whether he knows it or not, Pierre Fajloun for introducing me to the passion of cocktails, Mike T for teaching me how to dress, Tim Philips for giving me the confidence to do pretty much everything, Adi Ruiz for keeping me humble, and the entire Black Pearl team for being an inspiration every single day.
DW: What drives you to enter cocktail competitions? ML: Pushing myself creatively is the biggest payoff! Also, being surrounded by like-minded, passionate individuals is always both stimulating and humbling. DW: Out of the Woodford Reserve expressions, do you have a particular favourite?
DW: What bars are you most looking forward to checking out when you’re in New York? ML: Dante is first on the list! Attaboy, PDT, Dead Rabbit… The list goes on!
Check out Matt’s winning cocktail recipe!
NATURAL ORDER Created by Matt Linklater INGREDIENTS: • 45ml Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye • 20ml Umeshu Kiuchi (White ale base) • 10ml House grenadine • 5ml Pok Pok Pomegranate vinegar • 4 x Drops soap bark extract • 60ml Limonata METHOD: Quick hard shake, reverse dry shake, add limonata and fine strain into a chilled glass GARNISH: Green tea spray GLASS: Pony
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From Russia, with Love WORDS ° Ben Davidson & Chris Middleton
ood vodka is the spirit of subtlety, mystery and intrigue. At it’s best, it captures the rich textures and flavours of the source’s fermentable sugars to provide a powerful yet smooth spirit with nuances of flavour and delicate aromas that titillate the senses. Each vodka worth drinking neat, can be seen to be a unique assemblage of the endless variables that can be employed during its creation, from raw material through to filtration. But to fully understand vodka, one has to be acquainted with the fascinating story of the rise and development of this inherently understated, yet sometimes overhyped spirit. RUSSIAN ORIGINS The history of vodka, from the 1500s, also forms a central part of the history of Russia. It was not until the first decade of the 16th century that vodka made its debut in Moscow. This is a country that remained both vodka obsessed and feudal until the 1917 Revolution. Of course, vodka survived the Tsars and the communists who followed. The Tsars and their entourage of nobles, merchants and
administrators controlled just about everything; the land, production and the sales of goods. From the 17th century, the Tsars monopolised vodka distilling and sales through state owned taverns. By the mid-1600s vodka had become Russia’s favourite drink of social, ceremonial and recreational life. Tsar Alexis used the excuse of the widespread vodka abuse and drunkenness in 1652 to ban all distilleries and put the production of vodka under the state. This secured him a lucrative source of revenue to fund his empire and private indulgences. By the end of the 17th century, the word vodka had become common parlance for Russia’s distilled spirit. By the early 18th century, another Tsar was selling distilling concessions to raise more income. These rights to distil vodka were given to privileged nobles and sold to merchants, known by the whimsical term, ‘tax farming’. Vodka was Russia’s universal drink and generated half the state’s revenue from licenses and sales. Vodka funded the lavish lifestyles of the nobility and paid for Russia’s frequent wars. Peasant and Tsar seemed locked into a drunken dance of mutual intoxication.
ORIGINS OF STYLE We think of vodka as a clear and near flavourless spirit. This is 20th century vodka. Since the beginning, vodka was coloured and flavoured to make it palatable, and was even used as a medicinal remedy. This same flavouring phenomenon was happening to all white spirits, from Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands to England, Scotland and Ireland. It was not until the 19th century, when science and knowledge brought about profound changes to the quality of spirits, that significant improvements were made in fermentation, distillation and filtration, shaping standards for the vodka we drink today.
FLAVOURED VODKA If we stepped out of a carriage in Moscow in the 1780s to attend a princely dinner, we would discover vodka was double-distilled, possibly triple-distilled or even quadruple-distilled. This high proof vodka was diluted with water for drinking, and fashionably flavoured with honey water. Our host would proudly present his estate distillery’s range of aromatised vodkas. Some nobility had hundreds of flavours: caraway, St John’s Wort, honey, wormwood,
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hops and juniper, acorn, birch bark, cherry, mint, pepper, anise, cloves, willow, blackcurrant, raspberry, melon, bitters, lemon, cinnamon, aniseed, cumin and rose, just to name a few. One hundred years later, these flavoured vodkas were standardised for mass consumption. The leading flavours were cherry, raspberry and currant, sweetened with sugar. The modern flavoured vodka trend is really a recycling of the original way vodka was made. Russian aristocrat distillers in the 18th century competed amongst themselves by compounding hundreds of flavoured vodkas to demonstrate their connoisseurship. Today, flavoured vodka represents only 5 per cent of global vodka sales. Western liquor store shelves contain hundreds of flavoured vodkas, ranging from the traditional additives such as raspberry and vanilla, to unusual, such as bacon, butter, hemp, peanuts and even cut grass.
RISE OF VODKA Is it not strange that vodka, a traditional spirit, synonymous with Eastern Europe and especially Russia, became the post-modern drink of the West? Since its introduction into the Western Hemisphere in the 1950s, it has become the second largest spirit category in Australia, the largest in America and dominates global sales. More intriguing was that non-mainstream communities adopted vodka. Who could have
predicted vodka would become the drink ‘de rigueur’ amongst youth, emergent gay communities, liberated women’s groups, even macho cohorts, as well as the spirit of choice for suave fictional characters like James Bond. It was quite an achievement that the spirit recruited patronage from such disparate and self-aware groups of free-thinking drinkers, all fearful of Soviet world domination. We are also talking about a spirit that is defined as tasteless, odourless, clear and usually 40 per cent ABV. The secret to vodka’s success was in the marketing of the major brands, creating exciting imagery and highlighting the products purity. Vodka’s sensory appeal was its clean taste and subtle character. It goes with just about everything and anyone. Its purity connoted health and aspiration. Naked ethanol climbed to the top of the alcohol market and triumphed. What sweet irony.
RUSSIAN VODKA STANDARDS As they experimented with different flavour combinations, vodka distillers were also seeking greater purity and a cleaner taste. They pioneered new filtration and clarification processes. They set the vodka quality standards on filtration, the number of distillations and minimum drinking strength (40 per cent ABV) in the late 19th century. They were indifferent to which raw materials were used, allowing grain, potatoes, sugar beet and other carbohydrates to be the distilled sources of alcohol. Today, modern Russia again dominates vodka production and sales, with over 4.4 billion litres produced. With vodka now firmly established in all western countries, should we be surprised
Winston Churchill called Russia “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma“. Never truer than with vodka. regulations, production and quality standards vary around the world. In 2008, the EU required vodka not made from cereals or potatoes must label the carbohydrate used for the base spirit. The US has set rigid conditions on charcoal filtering, distillation proof and sale, at not less than 40 per cent ABV. Australia, in the late 1960s, recognised vodka as a distinct spirit made from any carbohydrate and allowed it to be sold at the lower 37 per cent ABV, whereas the EU said 37.5 per cent. Australian vodka can be made from grain, molasses, grape spirit, potatoes, even dairy milk.
PURE VODKA Vodka is about purity. Purity means getting as close to clean ethyl alcohol, while still leaving a pleasing character in the vodka. Brands today have better fermentations. Different carbohydrates are fermented using proprietary yeasts, multiple distillations are conducted in both column and pot stills, and then a number of filtrations are done to remove undesirable congeners and fusel oils. These quality brands bottle vodka that is of high purity, but with discernible and subtle character. At the dawn of Russian distilling, vodka was very crudely made on primitive earthenware and wooden tub stills, using mainly rye, oats, barley or buckwheat. These hardy cereals survived the harsh Russian climate and would later form part of the recipes each distillery mashed to make their house style of vodka. By the late 18th century, European copper pot stills were being imported by aristocratic families at their estate vodka distilleries. Any surplus production, by law, was sold to the Tsar at fixed prices.
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CHARCOAL FILTRATION What differentiated vodka from other neutral white spirits made in Europe was Russia’s attention to filtration. This rectification process made the spirit cleaner and purer to the taste. Since the early days of vodka, producers have used some crude methods to liberate the alcohol, such as freezing out the alcohol, filtering through woollen blankets, sand, and charcoal, as well as using coagulants like milk and egg white to filter out suspended particles. The big break-through came when Johann Tobias Lowitz, a German chemist working at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, undertook a systematic study of charcoal filtration in 1785. He studied the absorbency properties of dozens of woods on different substances, reporting the superior value of birch wood, alder and limewood charcoal for vodka rectification. This was the turning point that would start to improve the taste of Russian vodka through the 19th century. Further advances in filtration and quality
control were also improving standards and product quality. Sensory studies by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1865, recommended vodka not be sold under 40 per cent ABV, which became law in 1894. New discoveries in filtration gave way to tighter regulations, from controlling ratios of charcoal powder to pellets, depth of filtration columns and frequency of replacement, to the maximum age of birch wood for charcoal making. Another Russian would invent activated carbon in 1907. When the Prohibition on distilling lifted in 1924, activated carbon filtration joined improvements in continuous distillation to usher in the new era of ‘modern vodka’.
RAW MATERIALS In 1826, Tsar Nicholas abolished the State monopoly on vodka production. Distilling licences could be purchased by free citizens and even foreigners who were not nobility. By 1860, only one Moscow distiller was Russian, the rest were French and German.
FUN FACT: The official measurement of vodka was in buckets (around 13 litres) until 1895, after which litres were adopted and bott led vodka did not star t until after 1885.
It was during this time that French, German and English equipment began being imported into Russia, leading to advances in steam and semi-continuous distilling. The French had also made significant advances into sugar beet distilling when the Napoleonic Wars blocked their West Indies colonies and sugarcane trade. Germany had no sugar cane colonies, encouraging them to pioneer potato distilling. Sugar beets and potato became cheap and reliable raw materials for distilling. These were subterranean vegetables, less prone to surface crop losses from frosts, floods, diseases and wars. The 19th century saw grain harvests rebound under improved cultivation practises, the introduction of mechanisation and a long run of good seasons. Russia was producing grain surpluses which they exported to Europe as foreign exchange.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES Peasants by 1860 represented over 80 per cent of the 60 million Russians. The following year, Tsar Nicholas II emancipated tens of millions of Russian serfs. The demand for vodka began to soar. With grain prices rising due to exports, cheaper production turned to the poor tasting potato and beets to meet the working class demand for cheap and plentiful vodka. By the 1880s, new continuous distilling columns were introduced from Europe but proved impractical to meet Russia’s insatiable thirst for cheap vodka. The problem with the new stills was Russian rye; it is a difficult mash to handle due to the grain’s inherent stickiness. So too were beets and potatoes, both thick mashes that clogged the equipment. Russian engineers began redesigning stills to work specifically with these materials. By the 1890s, new continuous distillation columns and retorts gave way to more highly rectified spirits.
RUSSIAN PROHIBITION As cheap and plentiful vodka flooded Russian society, the incidences of drunkenness grew alarmingly high. By 1893, over 3.6 billion litres of vodka flooded across the country. The abuse of vodka had become internationally infamous. Australian newspapers reported the extent of Russian drunkenness was unparalleled to any other country. Articles described ‘King Vodka’ as the new Russian Tyrant where ‘peasants drink vodka until they die’. To kerb consumption and gain control of the rich revenue stream
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vodka was producing, 60 per cent of the state’s income, Tsar Nicholas II nationalised all distilleries in 1904. The announcement of the First World War was the excuse the Tsar needed to prevent excessive consumption. In July 1914, he declared a national prohibition on distilling, shutting down his private industry. The public sale of any alcohol he restricted to restaurants, where the bourgeoisie and aristocratic elite could afford to inhabit, quaff fine wines and toss down good vodka. The Russian people must have been distraught that they were excluded from their beloved vodka. In the middle of the Great War, the country imploded with the 1917 Russian Revolution. The new Communists did keep prohibition. The new USSR appeared in 1922 and three years later the prohibition on sales was abolished. Taking a leaf from the Tsars authoritarian rule, the new Soviet State took full control of Russian liquor production and sales. Distilling started in 1924 and began to incorporate new distillation technology and filtration systems.
VODKA GOES WEST The 1917 Revolution also sent many Russians and distillers into exile. The famous Smirnov family, at the time of Prohibition a leading vodka distillery in Moscow selling 45 million bottles in 1896, saw some family members escape from Russia. Vladimir Smirnoff (he changed the name to be a French sounding version in 1923), followed other Russian émigrés to cities of a safe harbour. First, he moved to Istanbul in 1919, then Sophia, Bulgaria, and eventually settled in Nice, France. In each city, Vladimir licenced local distillers with the Smirnoff name and recipe to market vodka to exiled Russians and locals. In 1933, he met a Russian-American, Rudolph Kunnet whose family originated in Ukraine and had supplied the Smirnov Moscow distillery with grain. He sold the Smirnoff rights in the US to Kunnet. Two months after US prohibition had been repealed in 1933, Kunnet began making Smirnoff vodka in Bethel, Connecticut. Kunnet’s Smirnoff vodka was serving the Slavic immigrant communities around the greater New York area. By 1939, Smirnoff was selling 5,000 cases a year. After the Second World War, the US vodka market exploded to over 850,000 cases in 1953.
Vodka was on a roll and Smirnoff was fast becoming the world’s most popular vodka. The same story gets repeated in the UK, Canada, and Australia. To meet the increasing demand caused by Eastern European immigrants, new large vodka distilleries were commissioned in Anglo markets during the early 1950s. Instead of Russian rye and wheat, Canada and the US used mainly corn and wheat, substituting local hardwoods and activated carbon for Russian materials. In Australia, we used a barley/wheat mix with activated carbon to make our vodkas, such as Smirnoff. Vodka became a truly international spirit, in both consumption and places of production.
RAW MATERIALS Raw materials play a big part in driving the primary aromas and flavours in vodka. Potatoes, now astutely distilled in modern distilleries, offer the drinker a more voluptuous mouthfeel. A nutty, mineral note is detectable in the rye vodka. Wheat brings out pepper and anise subtleties. Each raw material leaves small but discernible traces in its vodka. Different yeast strains can leave microscopic flavour traces from the esters and chemical compounds during fermentation. Then different still technologies and distilling techniques impart subtle character on the spirit. Finally, different filtering processes and materials imprint their finishing impression.
DETERMINANTS OF STYLE
defined as odourless, clear and tasteless, each brand will show its subtle character and unique flavour to the attentive drinker.
PARTING SHOT Sometimes marketing success happens by accident. Rudolph Kunnet, who began producing Smirnoff in America in 1934, was facing financial difficulties by 1939. He sold the Smirnoff rights and recipe for $14,000, plus 5 per cent royalties for five years to John Martin at Heublein in Hartford, Connecticut. When Heublein started production, they did not have enough Smirnoff bottle caps, so they used some leftover caps identified as whiskey. Ten cases with these caps were shipped to Columbia, South Carolina. No sooner had the order been delivered than the distributor ordered another fifty cases, then five hundred. Intrigued by the leaping sales in Columbia, Martin called on the distributor. He discovered an enterprising salesman was selling Smirnoff as ‘white whiskey’ – no smell, no taste. The locals were substituting Smirnoff with whiskey, mixing with milk, orange juice, cola and whatever took their fancy.
When vodka distillers talk about their secret recipes, it may involve a unique combination of grains, including local varieties or ‘single estate’ harvests, together with their proprietary yeast. It could have been slow double or triple-distilled in copper or stainless-steel stills, or rectified through retorts. It could even be a highly rectified spirit produced to 95 per cent ABV purity in a continuous column still. Finally, different filtration methods using deep beds of hardwood charcoal, special quartz sand or activated carbon, affect the sensory properties of the final product. These production variables are as endless as the flavour nuances we can detect between vodkas. So, while all vodka can be
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THE TASTING PANEL: VODKA F
or this edition of the Tasting Panel, we assembled a small group of industry expert vodka palates at the HIP Media Office in Sydney to discuss the flavour profiles and character of some of the leading vodkas of the world. We brought together ten vodkas from diverse locations and base materials. We wanted to focus on the raw materials and the methods of distillation of these vodkas, to discover to what extent the underlying subtle flavours and aromas are determined by the fermentable sugars and the type of still used.
Vodka Buyer, Founder MyBottleShop.com.au
National Training Manager Southtrade International
BEN DAVIDSON Drinks Curator HIP Media
Reserve Brand Ambassador Diageo
Vodka Connoisseur Moet Hennessy
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We kicked off the tasting with a bracket of five wheat based vodkas to see if there was a similarity in aroma and flavour profile. These were followed by a bracket of five other raw material based vodkas, including rye, barley, corn, potato and grapes.
ABSOLUT ELYX Sweden – Single Estate Winter Wheat – Column Distilled ABSOLUT ELYX is made in Southern Sweden from winter wheat grown on one farming estate using a single year’s harvest. This wheat comes exclusively from the Råbelöf Estate, which has one of the finest soils for growing wheat in Sweden. Manual distillation comes to the fore at the old distillery in Åhus. This is where the raw spirit is transformed into the fine spirit, in a traditional single column continuous distillation unit which stands in the heart of the distillery: Column 51. Made entirely of copper, this vintage still dates back to 1921 and the properties of the copper column still greatly contribute to the texture of ABSOLUT ELYX.
STEVE: Really aromatic on the nose with big fat viscous ‘legs’. Delicious creamy texture and would make a great martini. Love it, one of my faves. BEN: Soft and inviting aromas of toasty sweet bread, classic creamy mouthfeel with balanced sweetness and spice. A superb example of a wheat vodka.
42 BELOW New Zealand – GMO-Free Wheat – Column Distilled 42 BELOW is made from non-genetically engineered wheat and column distilled three times. After that, natural spring water is used as a wash before a final distillation and a trip through 35 different filters. The result is a smooth vodka with subtle character. STEVE: Picked up aromas of wet stone and river bed, a touch of clean ethanol, spicy on the tongue with a dryish finish. Good, clean, slightly warming vodka.
GEE: Aromas of mineral and gentle spice, leading to a soft palate and pepper spice and a subtle caramel end with a crisp, medium finish. Classic, clean wheat-style vodka.
TITO’S VODKA USA – Yellow Corn – Copper Pot Distilled Tito’s Handmade Vodka is produced in Austin, Texas. It is made in batches, using old-fashioned copper pot stills. Made from 100% corn and gluten free, Tito’s has a sweet, rounded flavour compared to other vodkas. Produced in small batches, this six-time pot distilled craft vodka has a richness of character combined with remarkable smoothness. GEE: Loads of soft creamy sweetness on the nose. Initially, the soft palate opens up to a sweet corn note with a medium body and lingering finish. BEN: Light and sweet aromas of buttered sweet corn, translating to a palate of sweetness up front, followed by some savoury notes of salted
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popcorn, and grits. You can pick up hints of corn in the spirit.
BELVEDERE VODKA Poland – Dankowskie Rye – Columns Distilled Made with only rye and water, Belvedere Vodka uses premium Dankowskie Rye from the Mazovian plains of Poland and artesian water from its own wells. Belvedere Vodka is the product of 600 years of Polish vodka-making tradition. It is crafted in a distillery that was established in 1910 called Polmos Zyrardów, which is located in the heart of central Poland. GARTH: Soft on the nose, vanilla, macadamia nut, flinty, wet stone aromas, tasting brazil nut, creaminess with good length and a viscous mouthfeel. It’s a bangin’ rye. STEVE: A little spicy, with rounded and soft aromas, vanilla, nutty. On the palate, river bed stones, nuts and an oily texture. Balanced and smooth. A classy vodka with that signature rye grain spiciness.
France – Grapes – Column & Pot Distilled
The Netherlands – GMO-Free Winter Wheat – Column & Pot-Distilled Ketel One Vodka starts with the finest quality, 100% GMO-Free winter wheat, grown in Europe. The fermented mash goes through a column distillation process to produce an ultrawheat spirit. Part of this spirit is re-distilled in ten copper pot stills, including an original 19thcentury coal-fired copper pot still. The hearts of the distillates obtained from the pot stills are blended together to create the Master Pot Still Batch. The distillers, carefully following the Nolet family recipe to blend portions of the Master Pot Still Batch, the ultra-wheat spirit, and water together to create Ketel One Vodka. KRYSTAL: Notes of pink peppercorns and citrus subtleties. Characterful palate revealing, subtle anise, citrus and peppery complexity. Nice fullbodied mouthfeel and good viscosity. One of the great wheat vodkas; clean, complex, spicy and smooth. GEE: Intense aromas of peppery spice. Fullbodied with great viscosity and a lengthy finish. The pot-still vodka adds to the complexity and richness.
Gee David, National Training Manager, South Trade International
CÎROC is made in France from ‘snap frost’ Cognac grapes, column distilled in stainless steel columns and finished in a copper column still in the Cognac region. CÎROC Vodka is gluten-free and distilled from fine French grapes; a process inspired by over a century of wine-making expertise and craftsmanship. Fine French grapes are specially selected for harvest and made into a wine. The wine is distilled four times in column stills. The fifth distillation occurs in a traditional, tailor-made copper pot still at the historic Distillerie de Chevanceaux in the South of France. KRYSTAL: Fresh aromas of citrus, apple and grapes leads to a soft and fruity vodka on the palate. The grapes give rise to a clean and crisp mouthfeel which is well balanced and smooth. STEVE: Beautiful nose, citrusy and zesty, carries through to the palate with a burst of lemon and fresh grape acidity. A fun style of mixing vodka.
BELUGA NOBLE VODKA Russia – Wheat Germ – Column Distilled Produced at the Mariinsky Distillery in Siberia. Beluga Noble Vodka is built on a foundation
of a naturally fermented wheat germ ‘malt spirit’, column distilled and diluted with Siberian artesian well water. It undergoes the processes of quartz filtration before enduring a three month maturation period. GARTH: I’m getting a nice clean aroma of white pepper and anise, followed by initially sweet, subtle vanilla with a mediumbodied finish. Reminds me of good classic Russian vodka. KRYSTAL: Soft and sweet grainy aromas revealing a sweet entry with a spicy dry finish and good length of flavour. Classic wheat vodka characters.
666 VODKA Australia – Malted Barley – Triple Pot Distilled 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka starts life as Tasmanian barley. It’s harvested, mashed and fermented in Tasmania. As with every element of their production, they handle the fermented barley gently, moving from fermentation to slow, single batch distillation using pot stills. After potdistillation, the spirit is mellowed with charcoal. The final stage of production is blending the pure vodka with Cape Grim water, the world’s purest rainwater.
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° FEATURE °
BEN: Big spirity aromas of sweet grain and cacao-like oiliness. On the palate, full-bodied, viscous, with raw flavours of barley grain sweetness and subtle vanilla. A unique and full flavoured style of vodka in the crafted style. GEE: Malty aromas that reminded me of White Dog. Surprising sweetness and texture deliver big grainy flavours to the tongue. This is one ballsy vodka!
GREY GOOSE France – Winter Wheat – Column Distilled Each batch of Grey Goose Vodka begins with soft winter wheat grown on farms in and around the fertile Picardy region of Northern France. After the wheat grain is fermented and distilled into a high-proof spirit, it travels south to Gensac-la-Pallue, in the Cognac region, France, where it is blended with the pristine spring water found there. BEN: Clean and smooth aromas of wheat grain, tinged with subtle pepper and toasted grain. Balanced flavours on the palate with a smooth, medium finish. An excellent example of wheatbased vodka.
Krystal Hart, Reserve Brand Ambassador, Diageo STEVE: Malty, wheat and baked bread notes on the nose, multigrain flavours and a subtle creamy texture. Very tasty, clean finishing vodka.
KARLSSON’S GOLD VODKA Sweden – Virgin New Potatoes – Single Column Distilled Karlsson’s Gold Vodka is made from Virgin New potatoes grown in the Cape Bjäre region of Southern Sweden. Distilled once and unfiltered to preserve the rich taste of the delicate, young potatoes, the vodka’s unique character is the result of the quality and quantity of the ingredients from which it is made. Approximately 17 pounds of Virgin New potatoes are needed to make just one bottle of Karlsson’s Vodka. STEVE: Distinctive nose of savoury, farmyard saltiness. The palate gives the signature potato creaminess.
Garth Foster, Vodka Connoisseur, Moet Hennessy
GARTH: Earthiness and some rustic funk aromas of boiled potatoes. Very unusual nose. Some creaminess developing on the palate with an oily finish. The potato adds to the mouthfeel and viscosity.
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° SPONSORED °
p U z t Spri
! r a B Your Venice, Italy where the spritz cocktail was created
espite being the hottest drinking trend this season, there’s nothing ‘new’ about the spritz.
The drink has been a part of northern Italian drinking culture since the end of the 19th century. During that time, Venice was a part of the Austrian Empire and was heavily populated with German soldiers. The militiamen were not used to the high alcohol content of the local wines from Veneto and began to ask tavern owners to dilute their drops to make them a similar strength to the beers they drank back home. They would ask for a ‘spritz’, or splash of soda water to be added to the wine, and hence the term ‘spritzer’ came to refer to a drink that was equal parts white wine and soda water. These thirsty soldiers had the legacy of an 18th century watchmaker and experimenter to thank for their newfound
favourite tipple. In 1783, German born Jacob Schweppe opened the Schweppes Company in Geneva, Switzerland. He became the first to mass-produce carbonated mineral water based on the method invented by Joseph Priestly in 1770. Jacob soon expanded his business to England and his soda waters became endorsed by leading doctors at the time as a tonic to treat various ailments. This belief that soda water could improve general health soon gained traction throughout Europe and people across the continent began mass bottling natural and manufactured sparkling waters. Schweppes was fundamental in this growth with the development of their ‘Hamilton’ bottle in 1809, the first of its kind to retain carbonation. This style of
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° SPONSORED °
bottle was emulated by other brands, coinciding with the rising popularity of soda water as not only a tonic but also as a great additive to flat beverages, giving them a little spritz of vitality. In Venice, this act of the German soldiers spiking wine with soda water soon gave way to a new aperitivo, the Spritz Al Bitter. The drink was made with sparkling water, traditional white wines of the Veneto region, such as pinot grigio or soave, and a bitter liqueur, the most popular being Campari, Aperol, Gran Classico, Select or Cynar. In the custom of most aperitivi, the drink was deliberately made to be slightly bittersweet in order to stimulate the appetite. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, that Jacob Schweppe Portrait
bartenders in Venice had the bright idea of swapping still white wine with prosecco to enhance the taste of the liqueur and add further fizz. This was the start of the spritz we know and love today. The moreish nature of this cocktail and its relatively low alcohol content, despite the mix of drinks, has been key to cementing it as one of the classics. Nowadays, the spritz seems to go hand-inhand with Italy’s best-selling aperitif, Aperol. Since Gruppo Campari acquired Aperol in 2003, their highly effective marketing of the 3, 2, 1 ratio to create the perfect Aperol Spritz has seen the orange aperitif conquer markets globally. The method calls for three parts Italian prosecco
(90ml), two parts Aperol (60ml) and one part (30ml) ‘spritz’ of soda water poured into a large wine glass, filled with ice and served with a wedge of orange. In the 1950s, the brand released their recipe for the now iconic Aperol Spritz, inspired by the traditional Venetian white wine and soda spritzer. Fast-forward to 2017 and the Aperol Spritz now ranks number 22 on the list of best selling classic cocktails worldwide, according to the 100 Best Bars. A quintessential summer drink, it’s expected that demand for the pleasantly citrusy, bittersweet and refreshing Aperol spritz will only continue to grow in the coming months.
Schweppes Bottle Evolution Lineup
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The wine on everyone’s lips WORDS ° Steph Aikins
asta, pizza, parmigiano cheese… Italy has instilled in Australian food culture some pretty amazing products over the years, but none have seen growth like prosecco. This year alone, IRI reported an incredible 62.7% growth in prosecco (MAT 05/11/17). With this trajectory looking to continue into the foreseeable future, Drinks World looks into the origins of prosecco, how it is produced and its expansion in Australia.
PROSECCO REGION The glera grape, the variety from which prosecco is made, derives from the northeast Italian provinces of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, near Treviso. Although the name ‘prosecco’ actually comes from a village near Trieste, it is these regions that produce DOC prosecco (controlled designation of origin). Within this region, the majority of vines are grown on the rolling hills of the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, north of Treviso. Because of the terrain of the area, most of the 20,000 hectares of glera under vine are farmed through handpicking.
METHOD AND TASTE What separates prosecco from other sparkling styles, such as Champagne, is the method in which it is made. The wine is second fermented in pressurised steel tanks before clarification and cooling in a process known as ‘Charmat’. This method eschews the processes of fermentation, riddling and disgorgement inside the individual bottle, as occurs in Methode
Champenoise. As such, the technique is incredibly efficient, requiring lesser resources whilst affording the winemaker greater control over the product on a larger scale. The resulting prosecco wines produced through this method are commonly light, fresh and fruity. Most present a pale lemon colour, with flavours of white peach, white pear, apple and citrus fruits. This wine style is soft on acidity and regularly has a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Prosecco can be either spumante (fully sparkling) or frizzante (lightly sparkling), and ranges from very dry to semi-sweet. Its popularity is often attributed to the relatively low alcohol content of the wine and its ability to be enjoyed in cocktails such as spritzs and bellinis.
PROSECCO IN AUSTRALIA It was in the 1960s that the first prosecco grapes were cultivated in Australia. From the 1940s onwards, waves of Italian migrants arrived in the King Valley to work on Chinese
run tobacco farms. One such migrant was Otto Dal Zotto, born in the Valdobbiadene region. As tobacco farming began to decline, Otto, and many other Italian workers, saw the opportunity to foster an emerging wine industry. Many planted classic Italian varietals, yet it was Otto who first got the idea to plant glera grapes. The King Valley has now become synonymous with Australian prosecco, to the extent that the stretch of road from Milawa’s Brown Brothers to Chrismont in Cheshunt is commonly known as ‘Prosecco Road’. The wineries along this road, Dal Zotto Wines, Pizzini Wines, Sam Miranda Wines, and the aforementioned two, are some of the best wineries in the region and are all famous for their production of the sparkling varietal. Nowadays, a number of other cool climate regions across Australia are making prosecco wines. The Adelaide Hills’ Coriole, Innocent Bystander from the Yarra Valley and Tempus Two’s Adelaide Hills vineyard are just a few of the leading wineries outside of The King Valley producing prosecco.
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JOIN THE CONVERSATION Below we’ve selected some of our favourite proseccos to stock in your bar and to add to the popular spritz cocktail:
Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) is a 2017 COPPABELLA SINGLE VINEYARD PROSECCO
NV SENTIO PROSECCO BRUT D.O.C
national organisation for people who work in wine communications and/or sales or just like to drink and talk about wine. WCA helps members engage, connect and learn a little more about each other and what makes our industry tick. WCA runs a comprehensive webinar program, online workshops, a wine media guide for winery members and keeps all members informed with a weekly update. We recognise excellence via our Wine Communicator and Legend of the Vine Awards and run numerous events throughout the year providing excellent networking opportunities. Join WCA today Call Maria on 0417 746 126
NV BELLA MODELLA MODELLA PROSECCO D.O.C
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for further information.
RRP: $30 DRINKS WORLD
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째 FEATURE 째
Tutti-Fruti SEED TO THE DELICIOUSNESS OF FRUIT BEERS
ncorporating fruit and fruity flavours in beer is not a new phenomenon, with a number of Belgian and French styles of beer using fruits in the brewing process. The Belgians first utilised fruit in their lambic (wild yeast fermentation) style beers, which prior to the addition of a variety of fruits, are extremely sour and tart. Common fruit additions to lambic beers are cherry (Kriek), raspberry (Framboise) and peach (Peche). The fruit beer category is currently enjoying somewhat of a renaissance, so we thought what better way than to delve into just what makes a fruit beer.
WORDS 째 Lukas Raschilla
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WHAT IS A LAMBIC BEER? Lambic refers to a Belgian style of beer that is spontaneously fermented and unblended. These are made using wild fermented yeast and bacteria in the brew that is airborne and/or comes from the tainted barrels they ferment in. Lambics are aged before consumption to ensure the tartness has mellowed and is balanced. A lambic fruit beer refers to whole fruits being added after spontaneous fermentation has started. Once the fruit is added, the beer is subjected to additional maturation before bottling. Malt and hop characters in lambic beers are generally low to allow the fruit to consume the palate. The alcohol level also tends to be low in these beers. Perhaps the most well-known producers of lambic beers are Timmermans, who are Belgium’s oldest active lambic brewery. The Timmerman’s range features strawberry, peach, cherry, and raspberry beers.
FRUIT BEER CLASSIFICATION According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines, fruit beer is classified as beer made with any fruit or combination of fruit. The culinary not botanical definition of fruit is used, so only fruits with flesh, seeds, and parts that are edible in their raw state may be used. Examples include pome fruit (apple, pear, quince), stone fruit (dates, prunes, raisin), tropical fruit (banana, pineapple, guava etc.), figs, pomegranate, prickly pear, and so on. This does not include spices, herbs or vegetables in the classification. The colour of fruit beer will depend on the fruit used in the process, with the colour of the fruit often being lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself, or taking on slightly different shades. The key to fruit beer is balance; after all, it’s not fruit juice we’re drinking! The flavour of the fruit should be noticeable but not overpowering or taste artificial. Hop bitterness, malt flavours, alcohol content and fermentation by-products such as esters should be present and well-balanced. The fruit additions are designed to add flavour to the beer but not sweetness. Fruit adds fermentation that tends to thin out a beer, resulting in a beer that may seem lighter than expected for the base style. Ian Kingham of The Institute of Beer says, “As soon as you add fruit, you’re making a fruit beer. Adding fruit
can be juice, peel, whole fruits, and fruit stones. A fruit beer is where fruit is added to give a dominant flavour of the beer.”
WHAT GIVES BEER A FRUITY TASTE? There are a number of things that can contribute to a fruity taste in beer, but the main ones are: • The addition of fruit (real fruit flesh, juice or seeds, not flavourings) • A fermentation characteristic which is often seen in wild fermented beers in countries like Belgium • Aromatic or ‘fruity’ hop, the most well known being citra, galaxy and nelson sauvin
HOPS Hops can give beers a fruit characteristic. For example, some American pale ales will often use citra hops, which impart an orange-like flavour. In Australia, galaxy hops are often used which gives a tropical fruit type character, with Stone & Wood being one of the first breweries to use a lot of galaxy hops in their brews. Pacific ales are all about galaxy hops. The third kind of hop is a New Zealand hop called nelson sauvin which gives a pine needle, tropical fruit note and an almost pine-lime flavour. These hops are added late in the brewing process. In the brewing process, most hops are thrown in very early to give beer a whole lot of bitterness. The ‘fruit’ hops are thrown in late because they have a nice perfume and aroma with low bitterness. They are designed to add flavour and aroma to the beer.
FERMENTATION German wheat beers, such as dunkelweiss and hefeweizen, also express fruit aroma and flavour but do not use any fruit in the brewing process. A hefeweizen is a Bavarian style wheat beer that typically shows banana and clove flavour notes, derived from the specialised wheat beer yeast strain. Similarly, the Belgian style Wit Beer, an example being Hoegaarden Wit, is usually made with unmalted and malted wheat (in addition to malted barley) and sometimes oats that give the flavour of coriander seed and dried orange peel, although variations to the latter include using actual citrus fruits during the brewing process. Using hops or fermentation doesn’t classify the beer as a fruit beer. It must contain the addition of fruit, fruit juice, peels, stones or parts.
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° DRINK °
EXAMPLES OF FRUIT BEERS Wilson Hede, Head Brewer at Two Birds Brewing has used lime peel and coriander in the Two Birds Taco Beer since it’s inception. Used in the boil and after fermentation, the fresh lime peel pairs with the citrus flavours brought out by the hops in the beer. Similarly, at the 2017 Great Australian Beer Spectapular (GABS) Two Birds created Slayer, a dragon fruit kettle |sour. Hede says, “We used a similar brew to our pale, which already has fruity tropical notes and after fermentation we added
around 2,000 litres of dragon fruit puree to the fermenter. The dragon fruit had a little bit of a red currant, raspberry kind of flavour which worked well with the fruity hops.” Matso’s Broome Brewery is famous for their Matso’s Mango, a beer that’s part of their core range. The brew is based on a classic Belgian Blonde recipe with a fruit variation. A natural mango blend is added post fermentation, making for a well-balanced fruit taste with sweet dryness.
Fixation Brewing Co., known for their Fixation IPA have created Fixation Squish, an IPA that blends grapefruit and blood oranges for a fruity, hop driven beer. Todd Delmont, Managing Partner of Fixation says, “What we’ve done is dry hopped the beer and added white grapefruit and blood orange puree post-fermentation. It’s really about complementing the Amarillo, citra, and mosaic hops and accentuating them with the fruit additions without overpowering the hops”.
Here are some of our top picks! FERAL BREWING WATERMELON WARHEAD 2.9% ABV IBU 8 The Watermelon Warhead is a delicious brew. A very fresh, spritzy and refreshing beer! It’s a part of the Feral Brewpub range, which is only brewed in small batches a few times a year in keg only. To make this beer, 400kgs of watermelons are added into 1200 litres, all handskinned and pressed.
MATSO’S MANGO 4.5% ABV IBU 8 This beer is based on a classic Belgium Blonde recipe with added fruit. Using a 100% natural mango blend, the brewers have developed an easy drinking beer style with amazing fruit aromas balanced out with sweet dryness. This is a great tropical beer for the warmer weather.
TWO BIRDS TACO 5.2% ABV IBU 28 On a U.S. trip, after a flight from San Diego to Portland, Two Birds decided to brew a beer using ingredients of their favourite food on the trip; tacos. Adding fresh lime peel, coriander leaf and corn to the brew results in the fresh, fruity and zesty beer.
BOATROCKER MISS PINKY 3.4% ABV IBU 5 Miss Pinky is a Raspberry Berliner Weisse, that was first brewed in 2015 as a one-off release and it’s popularity made Boatrocker add this beer to the core range in 2016. Berliner Weisse is an old style of beer originating in Berlin and it is a sour wheat beer. When we talk about sour beer, we are just talking about lowering the ph levels of a beer using acid, in this case lactic acid. This makes a tart and refreshing beer. To counter balance the tartness, Boatrocker’s brewers add 250 kilos of local raspberries per batch, which gives it its bright pink hue. The result has notes of fresh raspberries followed by a dry, tart finish.
FIXATION SQUISH 5.9% ABV IBU 45 Fixation Squish is a fruity, hop driven beer with citrus notes from the addition of blood orange and white grapefruit.
SIERRA NEVADA SIDECAR 5.3% ABV IBU 35 The Sierra Nevada Sidecar is a orange pale ale, combining hops with a bright citrus character that comes from the addition of orange peel in both the brew kettle and fermenter. This gives the classic pale ale profile a zesty fresh orange flavour.
GOLDEN ROAD TART MANGO CART 3.2% ABV IBU 10 Los Angeles based Golden Road Brewing offer Tart Mango Cart, a mango wheat ale (Berliner Weisse) made with fresh mango. This beer pays homage to the fruit cart vendors of LA and is designed to be a refreshing wheat ale with fresh mango notes and a slight tart finish.
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° MEET °
SVEN FROM BARTENDER TO ENTREPRENEUR, TO INDUSTRY ICON WORDS ° Ben Davidson
first met Sven when he was managing and bartending at the Peppermint Lounge in Sydney’s Potts Point. In the ensuing 15 years since then, he has become one of the most awarded and accomplished bar operators in Australia. He’s a man of impeccable style and grace and has a keen respect for pomp and circumstance. But behind the scenes, he’s a freethinking warrior, a disciplined businessman and a dedicated father and husband. I sat down with him recently to ask him the secrets to his success. DRINKS WORLD
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° MEET °
Left: Mjølner, Sydney Center: Eau de Vie Melbourne Right: Eau de Vie Sydney BEN DAVIDSON: Tell us about your childhood and how that laid the foundation of who you are today? SVEN ALMENNING: (Laughs) It’s hard to draw lines between my childhood and who I am today, seeing as I grew up in a family of teetotallers and my adult and professional life has revolved around booze. My grandfather was the president of the local temperance society, and I don’t think a single glass of wine was consumed in our house when I was a kid. That said, I grew up with my Mum and sister, and had to learn how to be self-sufficient quite early on seeing as there was very little money to go around. I worked all kinds of jobs from an early age, and more or less paid for everything I wanted or needed from the age of 13. If anything, I think coming from a relatively poor family by Norwegian standards meant that I learned about financial responsibility early on, something which might have influenced my entrepreneurial streak later in life.
for the Norwegian Naval Academy and the experience of working as a naval officer had a huge impact on me and played, perhaps, a bigger role than anything else I’ve done in shaping who I am today. The navy taught me a lot about my strengths, as well as helped me identify my weaknesses. It also provided me with the funds that allowed me to travel the world as a backpacker for a year, which is how I first came to Australia.
BD: What was life like, growing up in Norway? SA: Norway is a pretty awesome place to grow up. Everything is clean and safe, and you’re never really left wanting for much.
BD: What brought you to Australia and what was it that made you decide to call Sydney home? SA: I first arrived here as a backpacker in 1997, and absolutely fell in love with the place and the people. I travelled around on the Oz Experience and stayed in a tent for most of the trip, but would also stay in hostels. Some places I’d be able to offer bartending services in exchange for free accommodation and food. I then returned to Australia in 1999 to study journalism. I made some amazing friends during my time at university here, including my now wife, Amber. Although I left in 2001 to open my own bar in Spain (something which did not eventuate), I returned again in 2002 and have stayed here since.
BD: You were in the Norwegian Navy. How did that experience shape you as a young man? SA: I think the whole process of qualifying
BD: What was your first bar job that made you think, “I can do this”? SA: I did a bartending course in Hawthorne, LA (remember the diner from the opening scene
in Pulp Fiction? That was Hawthorne Diner), but my first job was at a joint called Margaritas in Auckland, NZ. I mostly bar-backed there, but soon got a gig at a place called Ole, on Ponsonby Road. I was hired as a waiter, but quickly graduated to the bar. From there on, I was hooked. BD: What lead to the transition from bar manager to working for brands? SA: This is definitely a longer story than this format permits, I think. In short, I realised that the companies who were advising liquor brands on their on-premise promotions and activations had little to no understanding of how bars and restaurants actually worked, nor did they understand the products they were promoting. I’ll venture to say that this mostly remains true to this day. I was then able to position myself, and my business, Behind Bars, as a specialist agency that only worked on brand building for drinks brands. Initially, a lot of this took form in terms of events and training, but we also did a lot of copywriting and strategy work, and eventually developed several campaigns that ended up going global. BD: Your company, Behind Bars, was a leading consultancy business in Australia, was it difficult to have to wrap that up? SA: To be honest, it was fantastic to close that company down finally. Some of the
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circumstances around it were less than fun, but overall, both Amber and I felt it was time for us to exit that company and try something new. We’d planned to hand the business over to our staff for them to own and continue to run it, and I think the fact that we were unable to do this is the greatest regret I have with regards to how Behind Bars eventually closed. BD: Was it a long-time goal to have your own bar? When were the seeds of Speakeasy Group sewn? SA: I think most bartenders harbour a dream of one day owning their own bar. I’m no different. I’d had the idea/concept for Eau de Vie for a long time before it finally happened. We were looking for a space to host Diageo’s WORLD CLASS competition and came upon a venue close to our office that had closed down sometime earlier. After some fierce negotiations with the landlord, and after having walked away from the deal at least once, we were able to secure the space and get to work opening our first bar. There was never a plan to expand to more than one venue, however when Greg Sanderson decided to move on from Behind Bars after four or five years with us, we decided that we’d like to open a bar together. Hence Eau de Vie Melbourne, and thus the Speakeasy Group became a thing. BD: Your latest venture Mjølner has become one of the hottest places in town. What convinced you that Norwegian Viking chic was going to be the next big thing? SA: (Laughs) I had NO IDEA this place was going to be as crazy busy as it has been. To be honest, when we open a venue we don’t try to guess what’s going to be the next big thing. We just want to open fun and cool venues that focus on delivering great drinking and dining experiences for our guests. Obviously being a Norwegian myself, and with my twin sons being named Odin and Loki after the famed Norse Gods, I have a fairly strong connection with Norse and Viking history. The idea seemed out there, but when Greg, Russ and Amber all thought it sounded dope, I was like, “Yeah! Let’s do this!” It was, and remains, a huge gamble, but so far so good. We’ve even decided to double down on this crazy idea, and are opening Mjølner in Melbourne in early 2018.
BD: What’s your current take on the bar and spirits industries globally? Now that there are so many people doing amazing things, where do we go from here? SA: Big question! I think the so-called ‘craft spirits and distilling’ industry is going to eventually have to own up to the fact that most producers are creating a rather sub-standard product, yet charging a massive premium. This is something I think consumers and bartenders will eventually catch on to. As for bars, I hope we’ll continue to see more and more bartenders opening their own venues. BD: What’re some of the key elements in your life that have contributed to your success? SA: Without Amber by my side, I’m not sure I would have been able to do anything. She’s my rock and has been next to me for every major decision, and every win and struggle. Being able to work with my wife has been amazing, as she understands why I am working late, why I have to travel and why I take the risks I do. There is also no doubt that we have been extremely lucky in attracting great people to our business. Without all the amazing people who contributed with their knowledge, skills and passion to both Behind Bars and the Speakeasy Group, we would not have enjoyed the measures of success we have to date. Chief amongst all these legends, of course, stands Greg Sanderson who now is my business partner in the business and runs the Speakeasy Group. I am also sure that a healthy measure of good luck and fortunate timing has played a more than significant role.
BD: What are you, currently, most proud of? SA: I think the fact that we have managed to find ways for our managers to move into coownership of our venues perhaps is the one thing I am the proudest/most excited about. BD: What’s your routine to maintain a good ‘work / life’ balance? SA: This is rather easy. I try to be ruthlessly efficient at work. I feel a lot of people treat their work-hours a bit too leisurely and, thus, continuously run out of time. I manage my diary with military precision and only take meetings two days a week. Appointments are kept to 30 minutes maximum, and I schedule in time for answering emails etc. Finally, I put a lot of trust in my fellow team members. It is my genuine belief that the majority of the people who work in the Speakeasy Group are great at their jobs and I, therefore, trust them to do the right thing. This means I don’t have to micro-manage or waste time supervising people who are already doing a smashing job without me interfering. A great team, and the ability to trust them, really is key to achieving balance as a business owner. BD: What is the one thing about the world that you wish you could change? SA: I want to change a great many things, but think that a LOT would be achieved if we could stop religion and the big business agenda from influencing politics and politicians. The world would be a very different place if politicians truly governed according to the best interests of the people at large, rather than pandering to religious and business interests.
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° MEET °
BANTER WITH THE
Group Bar Managers M
oving into management is a common goal for many young bartenders, but what exactly does the role entail? Drinks World sat down with the big five of group bar managers/beverage directors, James Irvine of Swillhouse Group, Kurtis Bosley of Public House Management Group, Andy Griffiths of Speakeasy Group, Jeremy Shipley of Solotel and Sam Egerton of Merivale, to discuss the challenges and rewards of stepping out from behind the bar and into the corporate role.
DRINKS WORLD: What are some of the challenges you face in your role as Group Bar Manager? (i.e. staffing levels and training, working with suppliers, maintaining service standards, drinks consistency, stock control?) JAMES IRVINE: The role I’m in isn’t very administrative, but more along the lines of creative direction and training. In regards to both of these, the challenge is creating content that is relevant to a) your staff, b) the venue and c) the clientele that will be receiving the end product. I find that relating it all to your venues’ identities is the best way to maintain relevancy. KURTIS BOSLEY: One of the key challenges is educating staff and guests alike on why we are driving sustainable practices in our bars. Our staff are starting to get behind the additional time they invest behind the bar to ensure we are more sustainable. One of the toughest steps was taking plastic straws out of majority of our venues, which had a push back from guests. As we run large high volume venues, the solution hasn’t been an easy switch to metal or papers straws.
ANDY GRIFFITHS: My first challenge was not feeling involved enough in the night-tonight running of the venues. The staff and my
management team were amazingly welcoming, but as I had come to this job from outside the group. As my role is more of a day job, not working the same hours as most of the crew made it a little more difficult to get the full picture and feel of the venues from just the nightly reports. JEREMY SHIPLEY: For me it’s most probably the consistency of how drinks are served. We now have about 2000 bartenders from all walks of life, so trying to get all those guys making even the most basic of drinks the same is a real challenge. A good example is a Lemon, Lime and Bitters or a G&T. The ingredients are in the title, but I’ve discovered a heap of variations across the group for those simple drinks. Luckily, we have recently moved to a new centralised reporting system so all cocktail specs, from classics to venue signatures, are created in that system. Hopefully that will clean up that consistency issue. I’m really lucky to have the support of some awesome venue bar managers who are all over how our drinks look and taste. It’s an ongoing process and project, but we are getting a lot better at. SAM EGERTON: Getting to see everyone, keeping the right people engaged and findways
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to balance the priorities of the role. Naturally, I’d love to be behind the bar but unfortunately, this is way down the list of priorities these days. Hoping to make a comeback in 2018! DW: Have you had to set up a new venue for the group and what are the key challenges in getting a new project up and running? JI: Restaurant Hubert opened its doors in April 2016 and brought a new identity to The Swillhouse Group, bar AND restaurant! Although, the bar focus was still very much the same as the other venues; the product didn’t change, it grew. I think the most important thing about multiple venues is to have a company ethos. I think our directors do a pretty good job at instilling that into the group. Along with this, when opening a new venue, be prepared to change things – adaptability is a great way to
Kurtis Bosley AG: The biggest challenge was setting up a venue in another state. With the cocktails being my biggest focus, I found it a little hard to find suppliers in Sydney for obscure ingredients that I was able to get easily in Melbourne. There was also quite a discrepancy in the quality, supply and flavour of fruit and vegetables. This meant we had to alter a few of the recipes in the week we opened.
stay ahead of the curve and remain on-trend, to avoid becoming dated. KB: During the last few years I’ve been with the team, we’ve reopened five venues. In a couple of instances, the opening occurred the afternoon after getting the keys back from our builders, which left us something crazy like
three hours to set up POS, stock the bars, get the dust off everything and set the venue up with furniture and equipment. There have been some pretty chaotic days leading to the launches. I think with new venues, getting the procedures and back of house stuff sorted is the most challenging part of getting projects up and running.
JS: I’m currently in the process of setting up two new venues: one in Brisbane, Little Big House, and the brand new Barangaroo House. Both have been in the making for about four years, so the expectation from a number of stakeholders is incredibly high. With new venues you will always encounter challenges and they can come in many forms, be it council and licensing restrictions, getting credit apps signed by directors in time and/or builders going overtime. Also having ‘too many chefs in the kitchen’ making decisions can be a challenge, as some basic conversations such as selecting glassware can take forever. Obviously the recruitment side is a challenge
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as well, especially in my situation of needing to hire close to 150 new staff one month before Christmas. One last very important challenge to openings is not going over your own personal budget. I know it’s nice to have new shinny bar toys, but you have a think, ‘Do we really need that?’ and spend your money wisely. So in a nutshell, expect challenges because they will crop up, but plan for that and be flexible. Try to surround yourself with good support for both work and at home. SE: Quite a number now. The hardest part is getting inside the heads of the guest that you
don’t even know yet. Opening venues outside of the CBD requires a pretty solid understanding of what the community wants. You can’t rock up to a suburb and say, ‘Look at what we’ve given you.’ You have to listen and ask questions and then build the offering around the gaps. DW: What do you miss most about being behind the bar full time? JI: The hangovers... KB: I’m fortunate to still spend a good amount of time behind the bar, but I do miss the creativity and friendships that are formed when you spend 50 hours a week with the crew.
AG: Serving appreciative customers is one of the reasons I’ve loved this industry for 18 years. Just being able to make someone’s night is always fulfilling. The social side of an epic bar crew in the middle of a rush, when the bar line is four people deep and we’re hammering drinks out, is also something I miss. Of course you can’t forget knockoff drinks. JS: Bad chat. Pretty simple, really. I miss standing shoulder to shoulder with mates and having a laugh, but also making sure people are having a fun and memorable experience. Having industry mates pop into your venue is something I also do miss. We’re all living very busy lives, so sometimes having a dear friend make the time to come say, ‘Hi’ can really make your day. I also miss the spontaneous side of the creative process of making drinks. Sometimes the best drinks are done on the fly or by whipping up a requested drink for a guest who doesn’t know what to order. SE: I think when you do something, anything really, for that long it largely becomes muscle memory. Then you get the opportunity to enjoy all the details. As a bartender, you are the ringmaster of people’s entertainment. People come to bars to celebrate, commiserate and everything in between. If they’ve had a bad day, you get to raise them up, and if they’ve had a good day, you get to make it great. When you’re behind the stick, you get to feel that every shift. DW: What do you find the most rewarding aspect of your role? JI: I get a kick out of a successful training, activation or Swillhouse launch that is well received by staff and punters alike. KB: Seeing the development of venues, watching hardworking staff move from bar roles into management and seeing ideas come to life within a space. It’s a pretty rewarding role when you get to see this across a number of venues.
AG: Aside from my role allowing me to spend time with a huge amount of very talented people, my favourite part is probably helping to design and set up new venues. It’s always pretty exciting to be part of a venue’s creation.
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SE: I think the evolution of the ‘sustainable’ buzzword into a general feeling of responsibility within our industry, and trying to take that into account when opening new venues and training new staff has definitely gained momentum. If we can change the way that our bar backs and junior bartenders think about their role in the industry, it will have such a massive effect in the future. DW: Do you have any advice for young up-and-coming bartenders who might be interested in transitioning to a management role? JI: Find an area that you’re interested in and communicate it. There’s nothing worse than doing something you’re not happy doing. Always be polite, kind and respectful to others. KB: Involve yourself in the industry, spend time asking questions from those above you and never stop learning!
JS: I’m really lucky to work with some incredibly talented bartenders who have strived to forge a path into the bar management world at Solotel. It’s been wonderful to see this development process first hand, and I’m really proud of those guys. Opening venues can be one of the most challenging aspects of my role, but once the doors swing open, booze starts flowing and the magic happens, that too is super rewarding! Also, I love a good booze junket….Just saying! SE: Seeing those around me develop and grow as bartenders, leaders and people, and being a part of that process, is incredibly fulfilling. I’ve had such joy seeing people that I’ve worked with become the legends they are today. DW: What are some of the global trends that you are incorporating into your current drinks offer?
JI: There has been a real focus on sustainable practice that has been welcomed amongst the Swillhouse bars. Personally, I think this is more than a ‘trend’ and rather a necessity. Our most recent edition ‘Bridge Bon Appetit’ focuses on employing the use of different skills to drink making and serves as a lab for the bartenders to experiment with sustainable ingredients. KB: Sustainability is a huge one that keeps giving year to year. Also, the inclusion of more thoughtful non-alcoholic drink options and lower ABV cocktails, driven by more informed drinking habits from guests. AG: We are trying to implement as many sustainable practices into our venues as we can. As well as that, finding the balance between modern techniques/equipment and historic food practices is another trend that inspires us.
AG: Showing an interest in what can appear to be the ‘boring back of house stuff’ show your managers you are keen to take on more responsibility. As well as that, work for bosses who happily spend time training you. Say yes to everything (within reason) when your bosses increase your role, but always ensure your remuneration is reflective of your time and effort spent. JS: Learn your financial numbers, learn your drinks, be open-minded but also remember that you don’t know everything. There probably will be young bartenders or older venue managers who will know much more than you about specific industry aspects, and that’s ok. So expect it and embrace any of your team member’s strengths. Also, be kind, listen and try to manage the ups and downs. Lastly, look after yourself. Take a week off the booze every now and then, and if possible, try to eat healthy and exercise. Well-being is pretty important if you want longevity in our industry. SE: Don’t be too keen to jump out of the bar just yet! There’ll still be plenty of time for suits and spreadsheets.
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from Liquid Academy, Glasgow
The Liquid Academy had been engaged by Ballantine’s to create a series of cocktails and flavour matches that amplified the flavours of the whisky and were inspired by the local ingredients of Taiwan. Over the course of three days, Ben was able to get an appreciation for the level of research and detail that went into the creation of the flavour matches put forward.
MICHAEL CAMERON WORDS ° Ben Davidson
n a recent trip to Taipei to cover the global launch of the Ballantine’s Single Malt whisky range, Ben Davidson was introduced to Michael Cameron, Drinks Innovator for the Glasgow-based Liquid Academy.
DRINKS WORLD: What drew you to bartending? MICHAEL CAMERON: I drifted into the trade. In the beginning, I was seeking something that was very hard to define. During that time, I studied journalism and music, and went through a phase of being a full-time escapist, but through all that there was one thing that kept me going and that was bartending. As I moved into my twenties, I started to view it in a different light. I started to see the artistry and the soul, and I started to look deeper into how spirits were made and how they were enjoyed globally. I reached a point where I could either make an art of it or move on. So, I decided to learn the craft and understand the mechanics behind it through reading books like David Embury and studying the history of drinks.
Michael Cameron (Liquid Academy), Ben Davidson (Drinks World), Sandy Hyslop (Ballantine’s Master Blender)
DW: Do you see the scholarly approach as the way forward in bartending? MC: You can tend bar very well without glancing at a history book, but when you come to the point of progression and innovation within a field that can, at times, be very standard and formulaic, studying provides the background and inspiration that you really need.
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DW: Who were some of your mentors in your early career? MC: There have been a few influences throughout my career. My first experience with elite cocktail culture was in Paris, when I first saw the physical space of a bar as a place of discovery and something that was transcendent. Overall though, my city of Glasgow mostly influenced me. Watching the progression of the Glasgow scene over the last ten years is something I’ve found a lot of comfort in. The face of Glasgow has changed as acutely as the face of the industry worldwide. Watching the likes of Mal Spence and the work he did at Blythswood Square in Glasgow, seeing what was going on at the Merchant Hotel, and what Sean Muldoon and Tony Conigliaro were doing, were all big inspirations. It was a time when the industry in Glasgow was searching for something more, something better, a defined international presence. That’s when I met Scott Gemmell, the impresario and founder of the Liquid Academy and one of Scotland’s distinguished industry mentors. Scott’s philosophy changed the game for me in terms of taking ownership of the bar environment, making it experiential for guests and seeing hospitality as a broad concept, rather than just bartenders engineering drinks. DW: What’s the philosophy behind the Liquid Academy? MC: The Liquid Academy does a lot of things. We are an events service company within the UK, with hired bar ‘gunslingers’ in all regional areas to help execute these events. When Scott founded Liquid Academy in 2005, there was no other training resource focused on innovation in
Scotland. That’s the ethos behind the beginnings of the Academy, and that is still the bedrock of what we do. We also do onsite training for venues and we run our own monthly training courses, from classic cocktails through to experimental lab work. The training operates on many different levels. Recently, we’ve been providing training to young offenders to offer a second chance. There is a redemptive quality to giving service and hospitality, and the trade can provide an avenue for a clean start as well as a means of learning valuable life skills. Another area that we train in is the concept of the bartender being a showman or entertainer, and how important the first impression is for a guest. Before you touch a shaker or a spoon the guest is already reading your stance, poise, eye-line, how you move and how you bring your personality into it. DW: What do you get up to on an average day? MC: The Liquid Academy venue is in an old bank building with a long and storied past. We host events there where our clients hire it and we offer a bespoke drinks service. Quite often we’ll have our guests down for an intimate masterclass where we work with them to design drinks for their party. I spend a lot of my time in our subterranean drinks lab, batching cocktails and preparing garnishes for the catering side of our business. I also do a lot of training with the next generation of bartenders on drinks history. We also teach bartenders to be aware of themselves physically, through a ‘Poetry of Movement’ seminar based on Tai Chi and
reinforcing the actions that lead to efficiency of service. Ultimately, it’s our goal as bartenders to make an order of drinks in the minimum amount of time with the maximum amount of passion. DW: How did the collaboration with Ballantine’s come about? MC: The Liquid Academy has worked with Pernod Ricard brands over the years, and they came to us to host a prestige dinner for an Asian delegation in Glasgow. At the dinner, we paired multiple courses with twists on classics using Asian inspired flavours. We now share a close kinship with Ballantine’s, and have a similar philosophy of what whisky cocktails should be and how whisky could be enjoyed in the modern age. DW: What led to the infused tofu flavour matches behind each of the Ballantine’s whiskies? MC: Tofu is like a blank canvas, with a smooth texture that is perfect for infusing flavours to match with whisky. I made the experimental flavour matches in a deconstructed form, so the nuances of the whisky could be enjoyed and then uplifted by the atomised accompaniment of the infused tofu and fermented garnish. DW: It’s what we’d like to call a spirited match, indeed!
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° VISIT °
BEST NEW VENUES OF 2017 A
s the year draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most exciting new venues of this year. Be sure to check out these über cool new kids on the block if you haven’t done so already.
DEATHPROOF Deathproof is much, much more than your run-of-the-mill Brissie bar. When a venue is co-owned by a street artist (Steen Jones) and an influential personal trainer (Anthony Calligeros), you end up with a space that operates as a living art installation, killer bar and delicious health-conscious breakfast spot. From floor to ceiling all the way from the front door to the kitchen, storeroom and even the back alley, hand-worked, striking tattoo style artwork is splashed across every surface. Added to this is a scattered array of custommade neon signage, casting coloured light throughout the space. The menus were even designed, printed and laser-engraved in-house by Steen’s creative initiative, Few and Far Collective. On the drinks side of things, they offer a range of beers and tasty tiki-inspired cocktails. Each month the venue also hosts a rotating activation with a different brand, mixing up their drinks menu and wall-art accordingly. Previous activations have been with 42BELOW Vodka, Sailor Jerry Rum, Fonzie Abbott and the launch of Ballast Point x Pirate Life Pale Ale. At night the menu is based on Hawaiian and American comfort eats but come 8am on weekends, you can grab yourself a frothy coffee and acai bowl. This is truly a venue with something for everyone. Address: 697 Brunswick St, New Farm QLD 4005 W: deathproofbrisbane.com/welcome Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 5pm-Late Saturday - Sunday: 8am-Late
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ABOVE BOARD Melbourne’s rising star of the cocktail scene could not have a more apt name, with the venue focusing on serving up straightforward, aboveboard drinks. This philosophy is taken so seriously that owner Hayden Lambert has avoided the standard back bar all together. Instead, he selects the labels he feels are best suited to his fine-tuned menu of signatures and updated classics and decants them into 700ml crystal bottles before concealing them in large drawers behind the bar. The majority of the time you’re not sure what you’re drinking, but Lambert believes that’s the beauty of it as nothing detracts from the taste. He takes this one step further by using few garnishes. Keeping with the minimalist approach, the design is inspired by Japanese style, with the 12-seater wooden island bar and two coveted seats behind the bar set amongst soft finishings. This subtle charm is reinforced through its clandestine location, with the bar situated above BeerMash and accessible through an unmarked entry at the back of the venue. Address: 1/306 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066 W: aboveboardbar.com Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 5pm-1am
SAVILE ROW Martin Lange’s latest venue adds a dash of dapper class to the Brisbane bar scene. Inspired by the London street of the same name, which is famous for its rows of suit tailors, Savile Row offers customised bar service with a touch of British style. The bar is home to nearly 900 bottles of spirits, 450 of which are whiskies. The drinks menu includes 20 bespoke cocktails on a nine-month rotation, changing as new and innovative creations are added. Swap the suit for your favourite tee and come on down on Friday and Saturday nights to let loose to some sweet tunes, spun by the four rotating DJs. Address: 667 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006 Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 5pm-3am
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THE OLD MAN - HONG KONG In July of this year, three of Hong Kong’s most influential bartenders opened their first bar. The joint venture of Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale is inspired by the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway, with the name, drinks menu and overall concept of the bar a tribute to his Pulitzer Prize winning work, The Old Man and the Sea. The décor is a fusion of Cuban and Asian style, giving the clandestine venue a chic but brooding, old-world feel. Indeed, guests could be forgiven for thinking they’re in the sitting room of an old Cuban house, rather than in central Hong Kong. Hemingway loved his booze, and as testament to that the team have created a cocktail list full of delightful experimental twists on classics, all with a slight Asian touch. Address: Lower G/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong T: + 852 2703 1899 W: theoldmanhk.com Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5pm-2am
KU DE TA, PERTH In one of the most anticipated openings this year, Bali favourite KU DE TA opened their first international outpost on the stunning Swan River. Affectionately known as Bali on the Swan, the venue can hold 850 people and is spread across three spaces, The Deck, West and KU Dining. The main bar, The Deck, sits over the river and is afforded incredible views. The cocktail offering focuses on classics and is inspired by the food pairings, which are mainly share plates such as antipasti, pizza and housemade pasta. There is also a range of local craft beers and wines available. Address: 306 Riverside Drive, East Perth WA 6004 T: (08) 6323 4155 W: kudeta.com/perth Opening Hours: THE DECK: Monday & Tuesday: 4pm-late Wednesday-Friday: 11am-late Saturday & Sunday: 8am-late
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JACOBY’S TIKI BAR
EMPLOYEES ONLY, HONG KONG Following the success of the Singapore venue, Employees Only opened their fourth establishment in Hong Kong this year. Led by a dynamic team of Employees Only New York co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic, his Singapore-based partners Joshua and Sarissa Rodriguez Schwartz, general manager Rachel Tow (previously of Employees Only Singapore, Employees Only New York, Wallflower, The Breslin, Sunset Beach) and beverage director Owen Gibler (formerly of Mother’s Ruin and Pouring Ribbons), the venue was awarded Best New Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Bar Awards Hong Kong. Venture through a mysterious fortuneteller’s lair and you’ll find this beautiful 3,000 square feet, art deco inspired venue. The stylish old-world interiors include an elegant curving bar that leads to an enticing main dining room. There is also a private dining room and “Lover’s Corner” booth for those looking for somewhere a little more private. As first and foremost a cocktail bar, the drinks adhere to Employees Only New York’s original tenet: “To offer flawlessly executed cocktails and delicious elevated food, served in a beautiful space without any pretense.” Address: 19 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong T: 852 2468 2755 W: employeesonlyhk.com Opening Hours: Daily: 6pm-4am
This year Sydney got its first true tiki bar. Jacoby’s, from the crew behind Earl’s Juke Joint, opened its doors on Enmore road and has been transporting patrons back to the glorious Golden Age of Tiki ever since. Hidden behind the old shop front of Anna Thai Takeaway you’ll find this mysterious, tropical treasure. The bar is inspired by the genius of David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive etc.), with the intimate space dimly lit and crammed full with tiki artefacts and antiques. Take a seat at one of the small tables or on the plush lounges and take your pick of their fruity and delicious tiki cocktails. All the rum classics are on offer as
well as a few innovative house twists, and most are served in authentic tiki mugs. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there’s Jamaican Red Stripe Lager on tap, along with cider and Hawaiian beers from Kona in the fridge. Soak up sweet tunes, from Link Wray to the Dead Kennedys, and relax in a touch of paradise right in the heart of Sydney’s inner west. Address: 154 Enmore Road, Enmore NSW 2042 W: facebook.com/JacobysTikiBar Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 5pm-12am Friday & Saturday: 5pm-1am
MJØLNER Before the long winter months were upon us, the Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Boilermaker House and The Roosevelt) gave Sydneysiders Mjølner, a Viking themed bar and restaurant serving hearty fare and top-notch drinks. The décor is inspired by chic, contemporary Scandinavian design with Viking trimmings. Eat like one of the Viking Gods at the decadent Asgardian feasts of Valhalla and select from one of the four bird, fish, beast or vegetarian options on offer each evening. The choices are mainly whole animals cooked or carvings, but there is also a big focus on cured meats. Such cuts are kept in old tobacco kilns that have been converted into cured meat fridges, giving the charcuterie an incredible smoky taste. No Viking feast was complete without a drink in hand, and Mjølner delivers a strong cocktail, wine and whisky offering. At the time of the venue’s opening, there were 400 whiskies inhouse and that number has since grown.
Address: 267 Cleveland St,Redfern NSW 2016 T: 0422 263 226 W: mjolner.com.au Opening Hours: Tuesday - Thursday, Saturday: 5pm-12am Friday: 12pm-12am Sunday: 12pm-10pm
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100% imported from Italy Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or head to www.maltshovel.com.au
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COCKTAIL CLUB A
s we’re now in peak season for spritz cocktails, this edition of Cocktail Club features the refreshing, bubbly cocktail with a twist.
ARANCIA SPRITZ INGREDIENTS: • 45ml Sweet vermouth • 60ml Fresh orange juice • 60ml Prosecco • 60ml Soda water METHOD: Add ingredients to a large wine glass, filled with ice and stir GARNISH: A slice of orange and edible flowers GLASS: Large wine glass
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° DRINK °
ROSÉ & PINK GRAPEFRUIT SPRITZ INGREDIENTS: • 90ml Rosé wine • 30ml Fresh pink grapefruit • 30ml Cranberry juice • 15ml Pink grapefruit syrup • 60ml Soda water METHOD: Add ingredients to large stemless wine glass, add a large scoop of ice and stir GARNISH: Slices of pink grapefruit and strawberries GLASS: Stemless wine glass
WATERMELON SPRITZ INGREDIENTS: • 45ml Rosé Aperitif • 30ml Fresh grapefruit juice • 15ml Watermelon syrup • 60ml Soda water METHOD: Add ingredients to a large wine glass with a scoop of ice and stir GARNISH: A wedge of watermelon and fresh mint leaves GLASS: Large wine glass
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BEACH BREEZE SPRITZ INGREDIENTS: • 60ml Rosé Aperitif • 45ml Cranberry juice • 30ml Pink grapefruit juice • 10ml Strawberry syrup • 90ml Rosé Champagne or sparkling METHOD: Add ingredients to a tall glass, filled with ice and stir GARNISH: Sliced strawberry and cocktail umbrella GLASS: Tall
RUBY ROSÉ SPRITZ INGREDIENTS: • 90ml Rosé wine • 30ml Rosé Aperitif • 30ml Soda water METHOD: Add ingredients to a large wine glass, filled with ice and stir GARNISH: A slice of pink grapefruit GLASS: Large wine glass
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° FEATURE °
lot happen, for better a e se d an lot a h ug ar tenders go thro ons of a bar tender. si es nf co to in lve de e or worse. Here w the cur tain of their nd hi be ek pe a ke ta e . Totally anonymous, w g within the industry tin da d an s er ov ng ha pet peeves, gr ipes,
You hate it when a customer orders a…
A large number of whisky sours for last call, especially when you don’t have egg white prepped. What is your biggest pet peeve in the industry?
Bar tenders who are wasteful when peeling fruit. A five-year-old could manage more than one twist from an orange. Who is your industry crush?
Dave Mitton - If a silver fox and Smokey the Bear had a man-child… What spirit or drink would you like to see make a comeback?
How many shifts do you think you have missed or called in sick because you were hungover?
One. I couldn’t walk straight without bumping into the walls so I figured it wouldn’t be great to rock up to work like that. Hangover remedy?
Hydralyte and Panadol before bed and a bananachocolate smoothie in the morning. Biggest fail when bar tending?
Slipping down a flight of stairs with a tray of drinks. 50 °
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A POSTCARD FROM LYNCHBURG, TENNESSEE. FUNNY HOW WE NEVER GET ANY ‘RETURN TO SENDER’.
EVERY DROP FROM A SINGLE SOURCE, LYNCHBURG, TENNESSEE.
PLEASE ENJOY EVERY DROP RESPONSIBLY
JACK DANIEL’S AND OLD NO.7 ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS. ©2017 JACK DANIEL’S. TENNESSEE WHISKEY ALCOHOL 40% BY VOLUME (80 PROOF). DISTILLED AND BOTTLED BY JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, LYNCHBURG, TENNESSEE.
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BLOOD ORANGE LIQUEUR
CELEBRATING THE ORIGINAL AND NATURALLY INTENSE FLAVOUR OF SICILIAN BLOOD ORANGES Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur is the worldâ€™s first blood orange liqueur. At 40% ABV, Solerno is an invigorating spirit that is both vibrant and zesty, yet smooth and luxurious, for an indulgent flavour that really lingers. In the true Sicilian lifestyle, Solerno can be enjoyed as an effortless Italian-inspired aperitivo, or to add bold flavour to modern interpretations of classic cocktails.
AVAILABLE THROUGH WHOLESALERS, OR CONTACT WILLIAM GRANT & SONS FOR INFO
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