TEQUILA & MEZCAL
AGAVE SPIRITS ARE INCREDIBLY VERSATILE – LEARN HOW TO USE THEM TO BEST ADVANTAGE ON YOUR COCKTAIL LIST
OUR GUEST COLUMNIST TALKS ABOUT THE SPIRIT TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
EXPAND YOUR EMPIRE
SUCCESSFUL BAR OPERATORS SPILL THE BEANS ON HOW TO MOVE BEYOND YOUR FIRST VENUE AND WHAT MISTAKES TO AVOID
TEQUILA Distilling some of the world’s best agave spirits is no easy task – Herradura’s master distiller Maria Teresa Lara shares her secrets
PLUS: VERMOUTH – WOMEN IN BARTENDING – THE ESPRESSO MARTINI – SPICED RUM
bars&clubs FOR BAR PROFESSIONALS WHO WANT MORE
NOW WITH GREATER REACH THAN EVER 9
REASONS WHY VODKA IS INTERESTING AGAIN
THE AUSTRALIAN VENUES MAKING WAVES AROUND THE WORLD
REASONS WHY VODKA IS INTERESTING AGAIN
THE AUSTRALIAN VENUES MAKING WAVES AROUND THE WORLD
MARVEL Bildo Saravia talks tequila
MARVEL Bildo Saravia talks tequila
PLUS: JAPANESE WHISKY • SYDNEY DISTILLERY ARCHIE ROSE • OPERATOR HAMISH GOONETILLEKE
PLUS: JAPANESE WHISKY • SYDNEY DISTILLERY ARCHIE ROSE • OPERATOR HAMISH GOONETILLEKE
DIGITAL MAG FOR TABLET + MOBILE
TOP SHELF DRINKS FESTIVAL
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he last few months have been pretty tumultuous in the bar industry. With Sydney and now Brisbane being put under the squeeze of lockout restrictions, Melbourne is suddenly looking into expanding its licensing rules for small bars in an effort to create a truly global city. Then we have the anti-alcohol lobby who believes that taxing the bejesus out of booze will mean that people will drink less of it. Hmmm. It’s an interesting way to look at how society views “youth culture”. Multiple surveys have found that those above the 1835 bracket, who live outside of major metropolitan areas, are all for lockouts. How is anyone surprised by this fact? It has no impact on their life so why would they care? All they see are the incorrect stats being shopped by a government that is seemingly determined to destroy Sydney’s reputation – unless the visitors are here for blackjack of course. For those who are less across the more ridiculous details of the whole shitshow, here is a rundown. NSW Premier Mike Baird took to social media to defend Sydney’s controversial lockout laws and all but rule out changes despite the fact a review is still to happen. The reaction to his post was as swift as it was scathing. Using Facebook as the platform to defend the lockout laws, Premier Baird wrote that alcohol-related assaults had decreased by 42.2 per cent in Sydney’s CBD since the laws were introduced – he then commented that there was a “growing hysteria this week about nightlife in Sydney”. Following the post, the premier copped it. Matt Barrie responded, writing: “I am glad you finally found your social media logins... 84.9% agreed that you have destroyed the city’s reputation, small businesses, jobs or Sydney’s social & cultural fabric... and only 6.4% agreed with you.” The Keep Sydney Open group, which is campaigning against the laws highlighted key parts of the city’s entertainment precinct that are now “soulless”. “Mike, we all have the goal of making our streets safer, but unfortunately you are touting a curfew as the only way to achieve a reduction in anti-social behaviour.” As well as facing an almost instantaneous and mostly negative social media response, Mike Baird has been criticised for singling out particular statistics and moulding them to suit his government’s agenda. The criticism was swift and even from within the Premier’s
own public service, with Don Weatherburn, director of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research saying that the Premier was incorrectly quoting statistics and cherry picking convenient numbers. With the combined forces of Sydney’s hospitality industry and members of the public turning on the Premier, venues began to spread the hashtag #LockOutMikeBaird. New South Wales deputy premier and justice minister Troy Grant has appointed former High Court judge the Hon. Ian Callinan AC QC as the chair of an independent review of the effectiveness of Sydney's lockout laws. Callinan, a retired Justice of the High Court of Australia, will lead the evidence-based review of the 1.30am lockouts, 3am last drinks, 10pm take away liquor laws and the periodic licence fee system. Because some old bloke from another state definitely knows what is going on in Sydney’s nightlife. Oh and Premier Mike Baird also said that “it is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city,” so the results of the review seem to already be set. Queensland’s Labor government successfully passed its Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Amendment Bill. The new laws mean that, from July, Queenslanders will not be able to purchase alcohol after 3am. Last drinks will be called state-wide from 2am, while venues in designated nightclub precincts will be able to serve alcoholic drinks until 3am. A 1am lockout will also be imposed on venues, although that will not come into place until February 1 2017. Steve McDermott, of Statler & Waldorf, expressed his shock, saying that he feels “betrayed by the Queensland government, in particular the Premier.” A survey by global events and entertainment network The Socialites has revealed that the majority of people believe the liquor legislation is “unjustiﬁed”. The survey had over 23,500 respondents and asked for people’s views on the whole spectrum of the lockout laws – check the News pages for a complete breakdown. Unsurprisingly, every question came back with answers massively skewed toward the rules being unjustified. Unlike a lot of other surveys on the subject, this one had a majority of responders from the CBD of Sydney – those directly affected by the laws. No big surprise that they are all a little annoyed to be being punished for the sins of a very few idiots who think punching-on is a good night out. Cheers,
Stefanie Collins Editor, b&c
CAB YEARLY AUDIT PERIOD ENDING 30TH SEPTEMBER 2015.
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26 TEQUILA MIXOLOGY
As versitile as vodka, according to those in the know, it’s time to embrace agave in your repertoire.
ESPRESSO MARTINI The modern classic that will wake you up, then fuck you up.
All about the trending category and why you need to be across it.
All the latest industry news.
PREMIUM TEQUILA Why your top shelf needs to be properly stocked with quality products.
Everything you need to know about this incredibly popular category.
DISTILLER PROFILE Meet the world’s only female Master Distiller of tequila.
COLEMAN’S ACADEMY By women, for women. We chat to Paige Aubort about her not-for-profit program.
Steve McDermott on creating a pub with soul in Brisbane.
The new, the revamped and the rebranded venues opening around the country.
The expert bartender weighs in on the trends you need to know right now.
Experts weigh in on how to go from operating one bar to a slew of venues.
The innovative whiskies that you need for your back bar.
NEWS VIBE THE BARS, THE EVENTS, THE THE DRINKS, DRINKS, THE THE PASSION BRANDS
CHARLIE AINSBURY TAKES OUT WORLD CLASS AUSTRALIA The World Class Cocktail Competition Australian final for 2016 has been won by Charlie Ainsbury, co-owner of Sydney’s This Must Be The Place. In a tough competition, Ainsbury proved to have the winning formula – no surprise given that he was also the Australian winner in 2014. The talented bartender told b&c late last year that he was entering the competition again because he felt like he had unfinished business at the Global Final. “I essentially just wanted to give it one more shot because I think I’m going to regret it if I don’t,” said Ainsbury, at the time. “When I got to the top six, as soon as they announced the winner, my first thought was ‘I’ve got to do it again’.” On his new win Ainsbury commented: “I am proud, humbled and honoured to be representing Australia on the global stage once again.” The World Class competition is notoriously tough, with the final 25 competitors put through multiple challenges including a speed round and a challenge inspired by Ketel One, and an on-trend bottled cocktail challenge. The winners of the individual rounds were: ‘Bottled Cocktails’: Andrea Gualdi from Maybe Frank, Sydney ‘Against the Clock’: Kai Moore from The Gresham, Brisbane ‘Culinary Cocktail Companions’: Edward Quatermass from Maker, South Brisbane ‘Kettle One Craft’: Jack Sotti from Boilermaker House, Melbourne Charlie Ainsbury will now travel to the Global Final in Miami to try his hand against the best bartenders from around the world.
ANDREW BENNETT WINS BACARDÍ LEGACY AUSTRALIA In a tough, live grand final showdown, Andrew Bennett took out the final stage of the Bacardí Legacy Australia Cocktail Competition with his drink, The Seventh Art. A nod to Cuba’s rich cinematic history, The Seventh Art was chosen as the best by the three judges on the night – consisting of previous winners Alissa Gabriel (2015) and Fred Siggins (2014), along with the Bacardí Global Brand Ambassador, Dickie Cullimore, who was fresh off the boat from supporting the reigning 2015 global winner, Franck Dedieu, on his world tour with his cocktail, Le Latin. Cullimore announced the winner, stating that he could easily see any of the three drinks taking home the global crown in San Francisco. “The quality of competition this year was exceptional in Australia – all three competitors did an astounding job,” he said. “After working with Franck for the last year, spreading the word of Le Latin around the world, I can see that The Seventh Art has the potential to be a Bacardi Legacy Global classic.” From The Classroom in Perth, Bennett impressed the judges with his drink and his marketing strategy, negotiating brand partnerships with Cobs Popcorn, Village & Event Cinemas, and getting his cocktail made on television not once but twice with appearances on the Today Show and The Living Room. Next up, Bennett will present his drink in San Francisco, against 46 other competing nations at the Bacardí Legacy Global Competition. Bewtween, winning the Australian final and competing at globals, Bennet has engaged in two more months of promotional work to convince the judges that his cocktail has the ability to stand up against the classics like the Daiquiri and the Cuba Libre.
SYDNEY’S CARGO BAR & LOUNGE IS UP FOR GRABS It has been announced that iconic Sydney venue, Cargo Bar & Lounge, has been put up for sale through the Ray White property group. The nightclub is not, as has been reported, being shut down. Owned by The Keystone Group since 2000, the venue is a well-known fixture of the Sydney bar scene and the King St Wharf entertainment precinct. According to The Keystone Group, they have undertaken a “strategic review” of their portfolio of assets. The review was apparently sparked not only by the recent sale of the Newtown Hotel to Colonial Hotel Group, but also through “interest” in the site. According to executive chairman, Richard Facioni, the review’s outcome led to the board of The Keystone Group deciding to “release some of the significant capital” the group have invested in the King Street Wharf precinct and to “reinvest that capital into new growth opportunities.” Facioni went on to say, “The group is being presented with a number of exciting opportunities across the country, including Melbourne where we currently have no presence. The sale of Cargo would allow us to accelerate some of those growth plans.” Additionally, John Duncan, managing director of The Keystone Group told b&c that the lockout laws had not influenced the group’s decision to sell as the venue has continued to trade strongly throughout its 16 years of operation. Duncan added that he believes the recent development of Barangaroo “is great for the area”. “The growth of the precinct has only been positive for King St Wharf as a whole, getting more people down to that end of the city to make it a new dining and drinking hub,” Duncan says. While the recent sale of the Newtown Hotel was due to an unsolicited approach from another hotel group, the sale reinforced the group’s strategic decision to focus on its core growth businesses including its successful wine bar and restaurant brands. Cargo was The Keystone Group’s first asset and has been in action since 2000, operating successfully for more than 15 years now.
SURVEY SAYS: LOCKOUTS “UNJUSTIFIED” A survey by global events and entertainment network The Socialites has revealed that the majority of people believe the liquor legislation introduced in NSW in 2014 is “unjustified”. The survey, which had more than 23,500 respondents asked for people’s views on the ban of take-away alcohol after 10pm, no shots, doubles or pre-mixers after midnight as well as no entry to venues after 1.30am and last drinks at 3am. And every answer came back massively in favour of the rules being unjustified. 75 per cent of those who responded said the ban of the sale of takeaway alcohol was unjustified, with 53 per cent saying there should be no ban at all. 39 per cent said the law should set a later time, with 58 per cent of those suggesting midnight would be a better time for takeaway sales to stop. In terms of the ban on shots, doubles and pre-mixers after midnight, 58 per cent said this law was unjustified and 53 per cent saying there should be no ban at all. 28 per cent said that the ban should be later, with 2am being the most popular revised time. The NSW licensing changes also saw venues in Sydney’s CBD entertainment precinct banned from allowing patrons entry after 1.30am and this had by far the biggest response of unjustified, with 84 per cent being against the rule. 69 per cent added that there should be no lockouts, while 24 per cent said the ban should simply come in later. And of that 24 per cent, 54 per cent agreed that 3am is the best lockout time, which means venues could allow patrons entry until last drinks. Regarding last drinks, 64 per cent said 3am was not a fair last drinks time, with 51 per cent saying there should be no limit and 26 per cent saying it should be later, with 5am the preferred time. NSW Premier Mike Baird has come under fire for his handling of the lockout debate and that dissatisfaction is reflected in the survey with the government’s rating for its handling of the situation being 1.43 out of five. The survey also asked respondents to give views on other factors regarding the liquor licensing and issues surrounding late-night entertainment. One of the most notable results is that 92 per cent said that public transport should run all night, hinting that many see aggravation regarding how to get home as a factor in late-night violence. The survey also agreed that any reduction or removal of the laws must be substituted by higher patron penalties first, with possibly a higher police presence. The fact that The Star casino and the new Barangaroo development as exempt from the legislation has also drawn criticism in the survey, with the majority of respondents saying that the laws should apply to all venues, although 74 per cent said that venues should be able to apply for exemptions. The changes to New South Wales liquor licensing were brought in in 2014 and former High Court judge Ian Callinan QC is currently conducting a review, which is expected to be released later this year.
ARCHIE ROSE REVEALS PLANS FOR THE NEW YEAR The Archie Rose Distilling Co. celebrated its first birthday, unveiling its first casks of aged rye as well as some other surprises. In an extremely eventful first 12 months Archie Rose has laid down over 300 casks, turned over 3000 distillery tours and picked up several awards – including a master medal in the inaugural Distillery Masters competition. And as founder Will Edwards revealed there is still a lot more to come. “We couldn’t have asked for a better and more rewarding first year of operation,” Edwards said. “It’s a credit to our amazing team and the hard work we have invested over the last few years to make Archie Rose a reality. Most importantly though it’s down to the way Sydney and Australia have embraced the distillery, our tours, the Archie Rose Bar and of course our gin, vodka and white rye.” He added: “As far as whisky goes, we’ve got around 280-odd casks of single malt now laid down, and about 73 casks of rye. And with the gin and vodka as well, which was really the goal for year one, we’ve managed to get in available nationwide, which is a big thing for us.” Edwards also revealed that the distillery is planning to release some new products next year. Prior to the announcement, Edwards revealed to b&c that distillery production manager Dave Withers has been studying rum distillation through the prestigious Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh Scotland, and has been dedicating himself to sourcing the highest grade molasses that can be found in Australia – no easy task given the potential costs involved. The process will also present some unique logistics issues – cold chain storage is just the beginning – according to Edwards, however the distillery has managed to navigate potential problems and is looking forward to beginning production on a unique rum product, and potentially a limited supply of rhum agricole (a cane juice-based style of spirit).
AUSTRALIAN DISTILLERS WIN BIG IN SAN FRANCISCO The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) has been judged for another year, with more than 1700 spirits submitted, making it the largest field in 16 years of the competition. There were multiple Double Gold Medals handed out with West Australian rum proving a favourite with the judging panels – both The Grove Experience and The Hoochery Distillery were awarded the prestigious titles for their Spiced Rum and Spike’s Reserve 10 Year Old Ord River Rum respectively. Four Pillars Gin also continued its winning streak, picking up its second Double Gold Medal in three years for Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin. There were plenty of other Australian winners with Hippocampus (pictured) taking home a gold medal for its gin that is just three months old. The distillery’s vodka also picked up bronze medal, with distiller Alex Poulsen ecstatic with the result. “What’s awesome about the SFWSC is to see how your spirit stacks up against other spirits from around the world,” he says. “It’s one of the biggest competitions of its kind so for our gin to receive a gold medal from a blind panel of industry experts is humbling indeed.” Also snagging a gold medal for its gin was Archie Rose in Sydney, with the distillery also picking up a silver medal for its White Rye. McHenry Distillery brought home a medal of each colour from San Francisco, with the McHenry Navy Strength Gin, McHenry Classic Dry Gin, and McHenry Barrel Aged Gin picking up gold, silver and bronze respectively. Ironbark Distillery also snagged four medals, with its 313 Dry Gin taking silver, 313 Dry Wattleseed Gin taking bronze, the 4 Week Barrel Aged Moonshine taking silver and the Crystal Clear Unaged Moonshine also being awarded bronze. In a statement on Facebook, the distiller stated that “this is testament to the work we put in to making spirits that showcase what craft distillers in Australia are doing, and proves that our craft industry can compete on a world stage.” Dobson’s Distillery also snagged two medals, a silver for the world-first Sumac Gin (which is made using the terpene pinene extracted from sumac instead of juniper) and a bronze for the New England Dry Gin, with the distiller noting on Facebook that the team is “suitably chuffed”. New Tassie gin distillery Poltergeist also picked up medals for both it’s gins with a gold medal for the Unfiltered version, and a silver for the Filtered spirit. West Australia’s resident gin slingers at The West Winds confirmed that they awarded a “gold and a couple of silver” through their portfolio of gins – they were also the first Aussies to ever bring home Double Gold on multiple occasions. And brand new tequila folks, Sesión took home gold for the Mocha Tequila as well as a silver for both their Blanco and Reposado, making it a medal for every product they distill.
HIPPOCAMPUS CREATES A GIN Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery in WA has launched its first batch of gin. Distiller Alex Poulsen (pictured) opted for a classic style gin using juniper, citrus, coriander and angelica root. “After perfecting our vodka, I was keen to experiment with botanicals to create a traditional style gin with a bold juniper character. I had been playing with the recipe in my head for a couple of years so it didn’t take too long to finesse it into something we were really happy with,” he says. The distillery has also opened its doors to the public. The small space which overlooks Kylie, the copper still, provides information on and tastings of Hippocampus spirits as well as serve classic cocktails, local beers and bar snacks. The company see the distillery and bar as an opportunity to educate people on its hand-crafted distillation process while also offering a small space to relax and enjoy some drinks.
4 PINES BROOKVALE BREWERY EXPANDS The team at 4 Pines has extended its brewery to include a bar built out of a 1960 Dodge truck sourced and attempted to be driven from country Victoria (apparently an epic fail as it lasted a mere 20km before the engine blew up). Nevertheless the truck made it and now houses 21 taps of 4 Pines beers, including an autumn selection: Coffee Porter; Welsh Ale; Fresh in Season IPA No. 2; Organic Wet Hop Ale; Citrus Pale Ale; Cinnamon Red Ale; Coconut & Pineapple Saison; Oatmeal Stout; Russian Imperial Stout; English Barley Wine; Hoppy Bock; Black IPA; Aussie Pale Ale and Schwarzbier. Currently open Friday evenings and Sundays, 4 Pines has actively chosen not to open to the public on a Saturday night. Instead, they’ve developed One for the Community, which welcomes local charities, sports and community groups to host private events at the venue. It is run as a not-for-profit evening with the cost of beers, food and operating expenses covered in the ticket price with all other profits going directly to the group. On nights where a One for the Community event is not on, The Brewery Truck Bar is open to the public to book their own private events. From June, The Brewery Truck Bar will begin showcasing local creative talents on a Thursday night, giving local musicians, artists and photographers a platform to share their creativity.
24-HOUR LICENSING FOR MELBOURNE SMALL BARS News Corp has reported that Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is supporting Melbourne bars in their push to have 24-hour licensing approved. In stark contrast to recent lockout laws in Sydney, Brisbane, and potentially also in Canberra, Cr Doyle is quoted as saying that he supports judging smaller venues and those that serve food on their merits, should they apply to have their hours extended in the early morning. This announcement comes off the back of all-night public transport being instated around the city of Melbourne, making what the Lord Mayor was quoted as calling a “real opportunity” to offer small bars the chance to extend their hours and create a 24-hour city. Cr Doyle did caution that this would not signal a return to the “(unrestrained) sale and consumption of alcohol”. Currently only 120 venues are licenced to trade past 1am. The Association of Liquor Licensees’ Melbourne secretary, Nicholas Albon, is also quoted in the article as holding Sydney up as a shining example of how to destroy a thriving night-time economy, saying “What we’re seeing with Sydney is one of the great cities in the world shut down”.
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THE NOBLE HOPS The Redfern rum-soaked small bar known as The Angry Pirate is in the midst of a rebirth, and will soon be opening its doors as a beer-lover’s paradise.
ngry Pirate co-owner Peter Groom is teaming up with new business partner Joe Wee to create a destination venue in the up-and-coming bar scene of the inner Sydney suburb, Redfern. “We’d been running The Angry Pirate for a couple of years and my business partner is moving off overseas, we had a look around and we decided to put it on the market, and then we met Joe and in the beginning it was looking like a straight transaction, but the more we got talking together we basically fell into step,” says Groom. “He was like ‘I have this idea’ and I thought ‘that sounds like a fucking cool idea’ and very quickly we just started marching in the same direction.” And that direction just happens to be craft beer. “Ideally we will make this place a destination for discerning beer drinkers, but we also want it to be a neighbourhood bar,” says Wee. “So the idea is to create a venue that is accessible to everybody – and 200m from the train station, it’s an ideal spot.” Wee goes on to add that the urban revival of the Redfern area is working in their favour – however he and Groom are also happy to fly a little under the radar. “We don’t want something that stands out too much. We’re going for something quite industrial looking and very basic – brick walls, no crazy furniture,” says Wee. Groom concurs, saying that they are aiming to preserve the intimacy of the original.
“Coming on from what The Angry Pirate was, which was this vibe of dimly lit smuggler’s den sort of thing, and the transition and exposing the brickwork, the bar is going to maintain that intimacy, but it will sort of metamorphosis into the next rendition,” he says.
WHAT’S NEW There will be 10 taps of rotating beer, with at least half the real estate being reserved for local breweries – a conservative number given the ambitions the duo have. “We can only fit ten taps, we tried to get as many as we can,” says Wee. “The issue is that the venue is so small we don’t know how much beer we can push in the Redfern area.” However, they are confident that given the thirst for beer in the area, the bar will attract a large number of local and not-so-local customers. “I know that we’re giving the people in this area something like The Local Taphouse, whereby if you live round here and into Zetland and Alexandria and Waterloo, you don’t have to schlep all the way over to Darlinghurst or to Newtown – you can just come here and try some interesting and tasty beers,” says Groom.
LOCAL TAPS Wee explains that the plan is to have a focus on inner west breweries with their mates at Batch, Willie the Boatman and Young Henrys and the rest, all at the top of the list when it comes to kegs. And their beer plans don’t stop there.
“We’re going to have brewer tap takeovers and more, particularly for the Inner West brewers because Pete and I know them pretty well,” says Wee. “And we also want do some collaboration brews with them so that we can do our own local beer.” Groom is particularly excited to create a local brew for their suburb. “As far as we know there is no one brewing a Redfern beer – Newtown can have the [Young Henrys] Newtowner, but Redfern needs a Redferner or whatever we decide to call it,” he says. “It’s very exciting. Certainly for me. Out of the two of us, I’m the one with the hospo experience – creating cocktails and infusions and so on – before The Angry Pirate, during The Angry Pirate, and now, and it’s really exciting for me to have met Joe and be working with him and be part of the new Noble Hops, because Joe comes with all of this brewing experience that I think is really exciting and really interesting.”
INTERNATIONAL FRIDGE In the fridge, the boys say that the list will extend to 20 or 30 interesting international and Australian brews that will also be continuously rotating. “Not so much a core range but more crazy stuff,” says Wee. “It gives us a bit more freedom but also people will think ‘oh they have something that I haven’t seen before’.” Groom says that they have high hopes for the bar, given that
there was a trend toward beer even when it was still the Angry Pirate – particularly with their female clientele. “One of the things I found really, really, interesting, when we had The Angry Pirate we saw so many ladies coming in and drinking craft beer and taking a real interest in brands like The Grifter and Stone & Wood and others,” he says.
COCKTAIL LIST While the cocktail list in The Noble Hops will be reined in from what it was during its Angry Pirate Days, Groom says that he is keen to experiment with beer. “We’ve got a couple of ideas up our sleeves with sort of ‘marrying’ drinks, like beers in cocktails and that sort of thing. But we don’t want to show our hand too much, we want to keep a few things to ourselves. “Looking at how well certain things went previously – I know a lot of people did this but we did baconwashed bourbon and we spiced our own rum which was very, very popular – we’ll be taking aspects of that. I’ve been having a little bit of a look at using hops and those sorts of things, particularly with the darker beers that we can really do some fun stuff with,” says Groom. 125 Redfern St, Redfern, NSW thenoblehops.com
NEW, REFURBISHED, REFITTED & RESTORED VENUES NOW OPEN AROUND AUSTRALIA.
CRAFT DRINKS BAR TO OPEN IN SYDNEY LOS VIDA OPENS LA CANTINA Popular Mexican haunt Los Vida, in Sydney’s Crows Nest, has launched a new bar inside its current venue with a focus on all things agave spirits. La Cantina is a private bar set on the top floor and is modelled on the intimate Mexican drinking joints known famously as cantinas. Co-founders Octavio and Pablo were both born and raised chilangos – Mexican slang for residents of Mexico City – and they’re passionate about spreading the “Mexican way of life”. In keeping with the agave focus, the bar has an impressive tequila and mezcal collection alongside an exciting cocktail offering. And for those who want to go one step further, the bar has its Tequila and Mezcal Sommelier on hand to guide customers through the drinks list. With the current interest in tequila and mezcal in Australia, the sommelier is well-versed in production process and stories behind the families that produce the spirits. The bar will also offer a weekly “Mexican trio”, a handpicked selection of artisan tequila and mezcal blends that are to be drunk according to a unique drinking ritual involving orange wedges and beer or sangrita chasers. The design of the bar mimics all the contrasts of Mexico itself with dim lighting, pink neon signage, dark interiors, street art and a tribute wall to Mexican boxing legends. Along with fellow co-founder and director, Mark Dopson, the group now operates four venues and will be opening two new more venues this year, including their first interstate site in Melbourne. 419 Paciﬁc Hwy, Sydney NSW (02) 9439 8323
The team at Cake Wines has re-developed a building in the Sydney suburb of Redfern, and opened a new cellar door and Australian craft drinks bar. The cellar door which opened in early March and offers customers the full range of Cake Wines as well as a small number of Australian beers and spirits. The bar is operating from Wednesday to Sunday, from 5pm until midnight (from midday on Saturday and Sunday) although licensing restrictions mean that customers cannot take wine away with them. However, they are able to order at the bar and have their products delivered to their home in two hours’ time. The cellar door serves drinks, cheese and meat platters, plus the brunch offerings on weekends, with seating for around 90 people. 16 Eveleigh St, Redfern NSW
BEER DELUXE LAUNCHES IN SYDNEY’S KING ST WHARF The Armada Hospitality Group, has launched its first Beer DeLuxe venue in Sydney, situated in one of Sydney’s hospitality hubs, King St Wharf near Darling Harbour. There are currently four other Beer DeLuxe venues, two in Melbourne (Federation Square and Hawthorn) and two in regional New South Wales (Albury and Wagga). Having taken over the Sydney site in December, the Armada Hospitality Group was quick to renovate the site and have it open within a couple of months. Beer DeLuxe King St Wharf offers a beer menu that includes 150 beers on tap and bottled that changes seasonally. Currently the taps include offerings from plenty of local craft brewers. 9 Lime St, Sydney NSW (02) 9262 1727
t’s the cocktail that everyone knows, made in the top cocktail bars all over the country and even in tiny pubs in strange outback locations. The Espresso Martini is the definition of a modern classic cocktail. Invented within the last 30 years, and living on in the hearts of drinkers everywhere. Interestingly, the birth of the Espresso Martini is pretty easy to trace – unlike almost every other classic cocktail that has multiple superhero-style origin stories. While there may be some pretenders to the throne, it is well accepted that the cocktail was invented by the legendary bartender Dick Bradsell in the 80s in London. His famed “vodka espresso” – once also called the Pharmaceutical Stimulant and now almost always known as the Espresso Martini – was invented in Fred’s Club in 1984 when a supermodel – rumoured to be Naomi Campbell herself, though some people prefer to name Kate Moss as the culprit – requested a drink with that now famous phrase ‘wake me up, and then fuck me up’. Now Bradsell was not one to kiss and tell, so we’ll never know for sure who ordered the drink, however it became a pivotal moment in cocktail history. And while ordering an Espresso Martini might get you a look of distain in some international bars, Australians have never relinquished their love of what is sometimes considered a bit of a naff drink. Blame it on our co-loves of caffeine and booze – our Italian immigrant influx of the 50s meant we were into our lattes long before the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world – but the combination of fresh espresso, vodka
and sugar syrup has become a cultural icon.
MESSING WITH A CLASSIC The Aussie cocktail scene also has some inventive takes on the classic. Melbourne and Sydney’s Eau De Vie serve up a molecular version called the Espresso Zabaione. It offers a choice of vodka, tequila or rum, stirred down with coffee and maple syrup, then layered on top with a saffron and vanilla mousse that is super chilled with liquid nitrogen to create a frozen cap. Tequila in an Espresso martini is becoming more common too with The Noble Experiment in Melbourne offering a version that uses the extra aged tequila Herradura Anejo and a shot of premium coffee straight from the machine. Australian bars have also begun to move away from fresh espresso, with the development of cold drip coffee available on demand. Tim Philips, of Bulletin Place and Dead Ringer, uses single-origin cold-drip coffee is his bars’ versions of the classic, with a recent menu at Bulletin Place dedicated to Bradsell featuring a Pharmaceutical Stimulant made with white rum, cold brew coffee and agave nectar.
PERFECT YOUR OWN Little Drippa supplies venues like EDV, VIC; 1806, VIC; Opera Bar, NSW; and Lost Society Bar, WA; with perfectly consistent cold drip coffee for the perfect Espresso Martini.
GLASS: Martini INGREDIENTS: • 30ml Vodka • 20ml Double Drip coffee liqueur • 5-10ml Sugar syrup • 30ml Little Drippa METHOD: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a martini glass. Garnish and serve. GARNISH: Three coffee beans COMMENT: Most traditional recipes include a small measure of coffee liqueur, here the Double Drip can be substituted with Kahlua or similar.
THE PASSING OF A MASTER The international bar industry has been in mourning earlier this year after the passing of cocktail legend Dick Bradsell. Responsible for the creation of classics like The Bramble and the Espresso Martini, Bradsell was almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of the London cocktail scene – working in some of the most notorious bars of the Soho scene in the 80s and 90s. While his Vodka Espresso is well known, it was The Bramble that really helped make his name initially. According to the history books he was inspired by his childhood memories of picking blackberries on the Isle of Wight. Paul Wootton, publisher of b&c and a former editor of CLASS magazine in the UK, remembers him well. “Dick usually shunned the limelight but his influence on the UK’s bar scene and beyond is immeasurable,” Wootton said. “His cocktail creations, which are now consumed all around the world, are a lasting legacy but his humility, sense of humour, dedication and professionalism left a lasting mark on anyone who had the good fortune to work with him. He was the consummate bartender, a master of his art. He had such grace behind the bar. Watching him work felt like a privilege - it was mesmerising.”
s tequila continues to rise in sales ranks, there has been a shift in customer perception of what tequila is and what it can be. So what exactly is premium tequila and how is it set apart from the rest? According to Alex ‘Happy’ Gilmour, manager at Tio’s Ceveceria in Sydney’s Surry Hills, what makes a tequila premium, is very simple. “What is important is taste – obviously – and production method. I don’t give a rats about marketing,” he says. “One of my favourite tequilas is famous because of its production method – they’ve openly admitted to using diffusers in Herradura Antiguo Reposado and its dope. Again, it’s simple and tasty and that is all I care about.”
KNOW YOUR PREMIUM PRODUCT Gilmour is a self-confessed tequila nerd who is also studying the art of distilling his favourite liquid on the side, and he’s also pretty clear that sustainability is a key factor in premium brands. He believes that bartenders should know what brands are actively involved in the community in Mexico.
“If you’re talking about the things you like to drink and the things you want to put in your glass, you should be asking how they’re made,” he says.
CONVINCE YOUR CUSTOMERS While Gilmour says that the number of customers requesting premium products is climbing, it isn’t yet a case of people name dropping brands when they order. He believes it is often because their idea of tequila as a premium product can be clouded. “You often have to work around people’s perceptions. When people used to come into Different Drummer in Glebe they would say, ‘I would like a really nice whisky’, so I would say ‘let’s try something a bit different’ and they would say ‘that’s delicious, it’s much sweeter than I’m used to…’ and I would say, ‘yeah, it’s called tequila’,” he says. “So that was how I dealt with it for a long time. It’s the same here when it comes to people asking for smoky whisky, and we always recommend mezcal, so that it starts a conversation. There isn’t so much brand calling, but definitely an openness to try. It’s also very price point dependent. $17 is the magic number to get them over the line. $15 is golden, $17 is a little harder.”
“There are good tequilas out there to get people back onto tequila, because coughing and spluttering after a shot isn’t just a bad look for RSA, who actually wants that to happen?” – Alex Gilmour
According to Octavio Gomez-Haro, co-owner of Los Vidas, avoiding premium tequilas because of price points is damaging to everyone. “You’re giving a false entry point – when people get to taste one that they can buy for just four or five dollars verses something you’re paying 12 dollars for, it’s sometimes hard to justify the price point to a regular consumer,” he says. “So I would suggest avoiding cheap expressions – except maybe in a frozen margarita. In the end you will just get people who have a bad experience and there is no sustainability in that, it becomes a roadblock for drinkers. Getting people to be brave enough to move past a bad experience is hard, and if you give them something that has a low quality in production and price point, well, it really just shouldn’t be done.”
TOP TIP: TO SHOT OR TO SIP? Alex Gilmour: I can’t say a definitive answer because I don’t think that people shouldn’t shoot tequila. I don’t see why not? You’re talking about spirits that have such an ingrained personal history for people. Everyone associates tequila with getting ridiculously drunk and being debaucherous and some of their best nights out ever. But for me, if you want to have a quick drink, there’s nothing wrong with shooting tequila. It’s about flavour profile and if you like tequila you are going to drink it. A shot can be perfect. I drink a sipper of tequila in the shower on my birthday every year. Everything has a time and a place. But still, all of our staff offer either a shot or a sipper to every customer – then that gets them curious about what a sipper is. Some of them for the price point, you just wouldn’t shoot them, and others are so delicate you lose the nuances in the shot. At Tio’s we’re not focussing on stopping people from doing shots, we’re just focussing on education.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Since starting with the company in 1987, Maria Theresa Lara has worked her way up the ranks at Casa Herradura, one of the world's leading tequila producers and the last remaining tequila producing hacienda on the planet. We spoke to her about her career, her love of tequila and the work that goes into being the world’s only female master distiller of tequila. How did you get started in distillation? I started my work at Casa Herradura in January 1987 in quality control and quality assurance. In 1999 I began my activities in the distillation process, as it is the heart of production for tequila quality control. Working directly with the operators of this process (distillers and guardavinos), I learned a lot from them and so started the verification process, developing procedures, and training staff so all our operators now work to the same strict regulations. Why do you think we need more women in the industry? I feel we can be more analytical, and we fall in love with what we do. It is also important to recognize the capacity of women in all activities and how little opportunity is given to them within our industry, politics and administrative posts here in Mexico. What is a typical day for you? I check the quality of the agave, yields and production efficiencies. I also spend time looking at lab results for both the analytical and sensory measures. I work closely with the Process Quality Control Department on new product developments. A large portion of my time is spent working directly with customers from all over the world who are participating in the Herradura Double Barrel Reposado program. I am responsible for all production and packaging for the brand, as well as being proudly Master Tequilera. My work is definitely not routine, every day I learn more and grow my tequila knowledge. What is the hardest part of being master distiller? It’s a great responsibility because I represent the quality of all Herradura products and have to, with my team, ensure the highest possible standard for all our tequilas. I am responsible for working with customers for tastings – sometimes the team like my guidance, which makes getting a vacation a little tough! But my staff are always very nice about it. What is the best part of your work? It is the relationship I have with all the staff, for
me that’s the best part and the most important. I can honestly say that of all the things I’ve done in my life, nothing is more fascinating than tequila. By age 30 I was working at Casa Herradura and I am proud to belong to this team, my work at Casa Herradura is the best part of my life. How is the tequila industry tracking? The tequila industry is recovering with respect to what we have been seeing in the last three years. Our industry is always at the mercy of Mother Nature, for example recently there was a snowstorm in the highlands and the CRT [the tequila regulatory agency] has begun to monitor the possible effects on plants that are one to three years old. What is the perfect way to drink a tequila? For me the best way is neat in a proper Riedel glass, which was designed to appreciate the aromatic notes and sensory characteristics present in tequila. You have to taste it with small sips (kisses) from the glass, properly taste it and get to know the organoleptic sensations that it contains. But it is important to respect the way each consumer likes to drink their tequila, because at the end of the day every palate is different – some people like it mixed, with food, on the rocks. In short, every consumer should enjoy it how they like. What makes a good tequila? Extreme care in each manufacturing step. It is essential that the agave has time to properly mature; that its hydrolysis, fermentation, distillation, maturation is carried out with attention to quality while always remaining true to the heritage and production traditions of each casa. It is very interesting to see how passionate our operational people are about their positions – each makes their job their full focus and they are so driven to create a quality product, it is inspirational. That is what makes a good tequila – passion. Tequila really is the best drink in the world. Translated from Spanish.
e v e t S
t t o m r e D Mc
What happens when you take an operator whose background is in small bars and give him a pub to play with? Lots of awards, and a pretty killer venue, that’s what.
hile most people are familiar with the grumpy old Muppets that pass judgment on everyone from afar, the name of the famed duo also graces the front doors of an award winning gastropub in Brisbane. Statler & Waldorf picked up the ALIA award for Best Pub in the country in 2015 and for good reason, the amazing array of food paired with opportunity to either play Cards Against Humanity (If you look closely at the promo material for the venue there is an image of the game with the “Anuses for eyes” card clearly visible, which gives you an idea of the sense of humour of those in charge) or take part in one of the famed ping pong tournaments. Co-owner Steve McDermott is having to get used to the idea of chatting about his venture in public – at the recent Pub Leaders Summit he was quizzed about all aspects of the awardwinning venue as well as more specifically on the food offering that has made Statler & Waldorf one of the venues at the forefront of the evolution of the nightlife scene in Brisbane. Just don’t ask about the lockout laws, they’re making McDermott excited to vote. McDermott got started in hospitality when he was 17, leaving school after securing a food and beverage apprenticeship at the Hyatt Regency. “And that was it,” he says. “I thought I would do that until I figured out what I actually wanted to do. And I just ended up staying in the industry.” So how did he end up running the best pub in Australia? He was trying to open a small bar. “We found the place on Caxton St when we were searching – mine and my business partners’ background is more cocktail bars and hotel bars and things like that,” he says. “But we found the space and we liked the look of it. Gastropubs hadn’t really taken off then so we thought that we’d take a shot.” And the rest, as they say, is history. After some intense negotiations over the price of the venue, of course. “We were actually really lucky,” he says. “To buy the pub didn’t actually cost that much and there were four of us that put money in so we managed to cover a lot with our own savings.” McDermott went on to explain that he and his partners had a very successful negotiating trick up their sleeve too – no more money. “We couldn’t really negotiate because we didn’t have any more money,” he says. “They kept coming back and saying ‘how about this much’ and we were like, ‘nah, we don’t have that’ so it worked out really well for us. That’s how we got it. You can’t go higher when you don’t have it.”
LACK OF DESIGN AS A DESIGN FEATURE
With cash on the tight side, McDermott and his partners made use of the good bones of their freshly purchased pub, not so much designing it to their liking, as stripping it back to the style of venue they wanted. “In all honesty we just took a lot of stuff away – there was bunting and crappy promo stuff everywhere, and an old Red Bull fridge on the bar top,” he says. “We pretty much stripped it back and put some old pubtype furniture in there – old wooden chairs, we build tabletops ourselves – but it was a pretty minimal effort. I suppose as far as design goes, it was pretty basic and went as far as a new lick of paint and just accentuating the character of the building.”
DON’T BE AFRAID What was the most important lesson learned in the process? Back yourself and trust your judgement. Did you? Most of the time. So, anything to avoid? In all honesty you learn from your mistakes, so it’s all pretty valuable experience, especially seeing firsthand when you do something and it doesn’t work, then figuring out how to fix it so I think just trust your judgement and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. As long as it doesn’t cost too much? You remember it more when it costs more. When it costs you money it really sticks in your head, you think ‘well, I won’t be doing that again’.
“You have to give people time to warm to you. I think in the drinking game, people have a lot of loyalty and you’ve got to wait for people to give you a go by breaking their loyalty.” TOP TIP: YOU WON’T HAVE TO ASK FOR ADVICE
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
“In all honesty I think we had too much advice and were listening to a lot of people. Everyone is pretty eager to tell you what to do when you’re opening a venue but I suppose, if you have a concept – stick to it. Stick to your formula, because everybody has an idea about how they should run a pub. I get advice every day. At least once a day I get someone saying ‘you know what you should do…’ and I’m like, ‘please, tell me’.”
As well as fighting to separate themselves from the shadow of the previous, not-so-well run institution that had been in place at his new pub, McDermott ran into some interesting lost-in-translation moments when trying to convince punters that gastro and pub in the same sentence was not a terrible idea. “The challenge was getting people to give gastropub food a go. Explaining to people what a gastropub is, was a real challenge,” he says. “I mean when you’re trying to get someone to eat something, with Australians especially, they hear the word ‘gastro’ and they think of a stomach infection. It’s the French word for stomach so it doesn’t even translate well – stomach pub, it doesn’t even make any sense,” says McDermott. Thankfully the food, and a swathe of excellent reviews got people over the line.
FOOD MATTERS The menu is a modern take on pub classics, with seasonal produce, local when it’s better, ethical where viable, bread baked in-house, handmade pasta, and honey sourced from the rooftop hive. “I think the food factor has a lot to do with where we are located. A lot of the businesses are aimed solely at the football crowds. Now, the seasons only go for 30 weeks a year so there is a lot of time where there isn’t going to be games on. That means we really need to give people a reason to come to us. So we just started out focussing on really good quality pub-inspired food, but not taking any shortcuts. Trying to make everything in-house if we could and still offer it at a reasonable price – just trying to build something on Caxton Street that doesn’t rely on punters going to the football,” says McDermott.
ADAPT TO YOUR DRINKERS “Because we’re a small independent business we wanted to feature other small independent brewers. The target wasn’t necessarily to focus on craft beer, just to focus on good Australian beer and it sort of ended up this way. We did originally have a mix but the smaller independent brewers were more popular than the bigger brands with our clientele. So in a sense the customers made the decision for us.”
GOD IS IN THE DETAIL “Make sure that you haven’t got any weak points. A good example I’ve always used is the fact that after a meal, I like to order an espresso and I’ve always found it amazing how many top quality restaurants have crap coffee. So you’ll have a fantastic meal, everything was great and the last thing, which costs $3, tastes like shit. It’s the last thing you have before you get the bill and it’s like ‘oh’. So not overlooking anything and just constantly re-evaluating to see what you can do better.”
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H Noted cocktail historian David Wondrich has commented that “bartenders are taught to treat vermouth like toxic waste”, but times are a changing. So if you haven’t rediscovered this mixology classic, you really should.
istorically, vermouths originated in northwest Italy and southern France, and are traditionally wines that have been doctored with herbs and other botanicals, then lightly fortified, usually with unaged brandy. The name itself derives from the word “wormwood” and while its methods of creation have been refined over the years, wormwood is still the defining botanical of this classic aperitif. Luca Capecchi, owner of The Commons in Sydney, is a massive fan of all things vermouth and knows quite a bit about its history too. “Before it became a major player in the craft of the cocktail, vermouth had always been consumed neat,” he says. “Although vermouth’s commercial origin dates back to 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano began marketing his aromatised wine in Turin, the addition of botanicals in wine appears to date from early Greek times, even though it was perfected later on by the Romans who introduced a wider range of botanicals.” Throughout its long history, vermouth has considered a “tonic” and a cure for all sorts of maladies – everything from minor illnesses to life-threatening infections. “Vermouth started as the Italians’ cure for malaria,” says James France, of Vanguard Luxury Brands. “Cinchona bark was infused into wine then herbs and sugar were added to make it palatable.” That said, there was definitely more than one use for vermouth, even back in the day. “I strongly believe that some ‘recreational’ consumption occurred way before Carpano set up shop under the portici of Piazza Castello in Turin,” says Capecchi.
COCKTAIL CLUB While it was the 18th century Italians who created a vermouth culture, and sipped it straight as an aperitif, the 20th century saw an explosion of vermouth with its inclusion in pretty much every classic cocktail of the era. “You can comfortably say that vermouth revolutionised the cocktail and enabled the creation of masterpieces like the Martini and the Manhattan,” says Capecchi. “I don’t always want to refer to my origins, but I guess we can all agree, that a Negroni represents the perfect balance of flavour with its bitter-sweet-dry symphony.”
VERMOUTH REVOLUTION Thankfully, the vermouth renaissance has well and truly hit Australian shores, and not just through the reinvigoration of the classic cocktail. “It’s growing strongly but from quite a small base,” says France. “There’s a lot of interest in the category. It has been
WHO MAKES WHAT & WHERE In general terms, France produces a lighter, dry and white vermouth style, while the Italians go for red, spicy, Torino-inspired vermouths. However, all the well-known commercial vermouths are proprietary formulas. That means they have unique botanicals and flavour profiles that distinguish them from each other.
MORE THAN JUST A CLASSIC MIXER Capecchi: Innovating means respecting the tradition and aspiring in the future to be part of it. I always say it at every vermouth class I hold, think about the whole range first. Personally, I think vermouth bianco goes very well with white spirits: gin, tequila, pisco are my favourite picks, while I think vermouth rosso is more versatile and could easily be matched with almost anything. I admire bartenders that want to highlight the vermouth itself without marrying it with spirits and are capable to craft a cocktail that truly expresses the flavour perception of that wonderful botanical maceration. Obviously vermouth suits well a pre-dinner cocktail but not necessarily. Italians have always a soft spot for drinking something with a little snack before dinner but it’s really hard to export our beloved aperitivo overseas. I must admit I always try, at The Commons we constantly feature a vermouth cocktail and canapé combo. We also cure Sicilian olives in extra dry vermouth to add a special touch to a dirty martini, which is so popular nowadays. Two of the most popular vermouth based drinks currently featured in our cocktail list are an Oscar.697 Vermouth Bianco based one which we marry with elderflower cordial, pink grapefruit sorbet, prosecco and a touch of vodka and a twist on a classic Martinez that features Oscar.697 Vermouth rosso, tequila reposado, rhubarb liqueur and Boker’s bitters.
“Vermouth will bind the flavour of the ingredients in your drink to provide balance and texture, it can also add a touch of sweetness.” – James France heralded as the next big thing for years now but we are finally seeing this actually come to pass.” Capecchi says that he is happy to have seen a wave of new producers appearing in his home country and breathing new life into the category. “I pleasantly discovered with a trip back home in 2011 that a little vermouth renaissance was taking place and many artisanal producers were coming up showcasing different styles, some strictly ruled by the origins of this beautiful liquid and some a bit more innovative,” he says. Which means big things have been hitting the international market as well. “The US and UK markets embraced this silent revolution a bit earlier than Australia, as is always the case, but I have to say that I’m feeling a great buzz in Australia about it,” says Capecchi. “I still remember when I arrived in Australia in 2004 and I ordered a Negroni in a bar and the bartender looked at me like I was coming out of the Jurassic. And what’s happening now? It’s one of the hottest drinks in town.” b&c
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX Try some non-classic vermouth cocktails by Luca Capecchi
NOLET SORBET Glass: Champagne flute Ingredients: • 45ml Ketel One Vodka • 30ml OSCAR.697 Bianco Vermouth • 1 Scoop of pink grapefruit sorbet • 10ml Elderflower cordial • 70 ml Prosecco Method: Build in a glass. Serve immediately. Garnish: Grapefruit piece.
DON MARTINEZ Glass: Fancy coupette Ingredients: • 50ml OSCAR.697 Rosso Vermouth • 40ml Don Julio Tequila Reposado • 1 Bar spoon Zucca Rhubarb Liquor • 2 Dashes Boker’s bitters Method: Shake all the ingredients with ice. Double strain into the glass and serve. Garnish: Lemon twist.
PH 1300 DRINKS
THE GLENLIVET FOUNDER’S RESERVE
M O R F S E I K S I H W E V A H T S MU
The latest innovation from The Glenlivet is a contemporary expression of a classic single malt and a unique tribute to George Smith’s vision to create the definitive Speyside malt. At its heart is the balanced, smooth and fruity flavour profile that underpins The Glenlivet portfolio. It is skilfully complemented with a creaminess and sweetness from the addition of first-fill American oak casks. NOSE: Delicate aromas of citrus fruit, notably sweet orange. PALATE: Sweet, fruit notes of zesty oranges and pears, with a hint of candy, toffee apples. FINISH: Long, creamy and smooth.
D N U O AR HE T LD R O W THE GROVE EXPERIENCE SINGLE MALT WHISKY The third release of Single Malt Whisky from The Grove Distillery CASK #007. Cut to 52% ABV and made from single malted Australian barley and aged in single first re-fill ex-Bourbon Cask. A unique release of hand bottled, labelled and numbered bottles. Non-chill filter, non-adulteration. NOSE: A light golden syrup over Baltic pine, fruit peel, fresh figs and amaretto with a hint of coconut. PALATE: Rum baba marmalade, sweetness, tangerine orange and a touch of vanilla. FINISH: Medium, dry, with a touch of damask rose and slightly salted porridge.
JAMESON CASKMATES IRISH WHISKEY Two heads are said to be better than one, hence this whiskey emerged from a conversation between Jameson’s head distiller and the head brewer of Cork’s Franciscan Well Brewery, Jameson Caskmates has been finished in stout-seasoned whiskey casks. While the triple distilled smoothness is very much intact, notes of cocoa, coffee and butterscotch confirm the stout influence. Caskmates is a head-turning, modern Irish whiskey. NOSE: crisp orchard fruits, like green apples and pears, mild pot still spices. TASTE: Subtle touch of hops and cocoa beans, marzipan and charred oak. FINISH: Long and sweet with milk chocolate and butterscotch.
STARWARD’S WINE CASK
CHIVAS REGAL EXTRA
In a world first, Starward’s whisky is matured wholly in Australian red wine barrels. Melbourne’s “four seasons in one day” draws the most out of these premium barrels as the spirit inside expands and contracts in the city's unpredictable climate. Australian Shiraz casks have also been individually selected, lightly toasted, then steamed, not charred, to retain the penetration of wine into the wood. AROMA: raisins, bananas and a touch of balsamic lead to clove, toffee and nougat. PALATE: red berries, hints of cinnamon and savoury, spice driven notes. FINISH: A long, dry and tannic finish.
Taking its inspiration from James and John Chivas’ pioneering blending skills Chivas Regal Extra uses whiskies matured in sherry casks along with some of Chivas’ rarest malts. The whisky picks up a deep amber colour and rich and sweet flavours in the casks, while the rare malts impart deep flavours. A whisky for those who are looking for something more out of life. NOSE: Ripe pears and melons, with creamy toffee and milk chocolate. PALATE: Rich with sweet pears in syrup, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, vanilla caramel, and a hint of sherry nuttiness. FINISH: Long, rich, spiced fruitiness with lingering sweetness.
GUEST COLUMN BY FRED SIGGINS
ustralian distilleries are nothing new, with excellent malts like Lark coming up on 20 years of production. But Tassie is still a long way from where most of us work, and Bill never looked to bartenders to influence his craft, but, rather, further afield to the traditional whisky makers of Scotland. Now though, urban distilleries like Starward, Archie Rose and Melbourne Moonshine are flipping the script, allowing Australian bartenders to get in and get involved from the very beginning. From special, on-premise only bottlings of Starward selected by panels of bartenders, to barrels of Archie Rose claimed by venues from the minute they flow from the still, our booze will soon include a whole range of customised flavours you’ll never find on the shelf at your local bottleshop. Don’t be surprised to see spirits designed specifically for particular cocktails (rather than the other way around), and venues taking over distilleries for a day or a week to create their own batches from the very beginning. And just like a tailored suit always fits better than something off the rack, it’s a trend that can only mean good things for those of us who work with, and drink, spirits in Australia. In the world of whisky, our lack of strict regulation and our ability to experiment on a small scale will certainly lead to more non-
traditional whisky styles. Think never before seen mash bills, and ageing programmes like Belgrove’s peated rye and Melbourne Moonshine’s (yet to be released) port-cask-aged corn whisky. It’s also nice to know that with stores of old stock dwindling from the Hebrides to Hobart, as demand continues to rise, we’ve got some pretty special stuff of our own on the simmer. Stuff that is specifically designed to age quickly in the hot mainland sun. Aussies are also getting involved in whisky production internationally. The Melbourne-based team from Pure Scot now own the Bladnoc distillery, for example, so you can be sure we won’t be fighting for an allocation when the single malt hits our shores next year. They’re also encouraging bartenders to mix and experiment with their unique blend – another huge trend in the whisky industry that’s helping bring liquid gold to a whole new generation of drinkers. If gin’s more your thing, there’s now an opportunity for all bartenders to make their own. Archie Rose and Four Pillars spring to mind as distilleries where you can create your own custom blend of botanicals. Imagine being able to say, “I really think my Negroni spec would work well with a saffron heavy London dry,” or “my finger lime oleo gimlet would be great with a whiff of eucalyptus in the gin,” and then just going and making it. Well now you can. Go forth and multiply.
SPIRITUS OBSCURA Our ever-increasing access to the amazing array of spirits created across the planet has given us the ability to create endless shades of flavour. No longer restricted to the primary colours of traditional spirits and liqueurs, we’re starting to see cocktails as an exercise in balance and complexity rather than blunt and aggressive flavour. A few products in particular are set to make their mark as they become more common on Aussie back-bars and cocktail lists.
PISCO Unlike other clear brandies, this outstandingly diverse, un-aged grape spirit from Peru is made with fermented grape juice (not just the stems and skins left over from winemaking), wild fermented, and distilled to proof in tiny copper pot stills. Made from a variety of grapes and in a variety of styles, its utility behind the bar goes well beyond the simple pisco sour. From the massive floral hit of an Italia perfect for fresh summer cocktails to the rich and unctuous after-dinner sipping style of a Mosto Verde, there’s a lot to be said for this ancient and delicious spirit. And as the Peruvian food trend continues to sweep the world, it’s safe to assume the corollary native spirit will follow.
MISTELLE Mistelle is another great forgotten style that deserves our attention. These traditional French drinks comprise unfermented grape or apple juice fortified with brandies from the same region. Largely unknown internationally, these unique little gems are ripe for the plucking. Bartenders discovered the epic potential of sherry a couple of years ago, and with similar complexity and the advantages of a low ABV, the cocktail skies are the limit for mistelle.
Try Pinneau, made from Cognac and grape juice, Floc de Gascone fortified with Armagnac, and Pommeau made from unfermented apple juice and Calvados. Also pop into Romeo Lane in Melbourne to see the amazing things Rita and Joe are already doing with these fascinating and ancient fortifieds.
IRISH WHISKEY The revival of the Irish whiskey industry is one the greatest riches-to-rags-to-riches stories is history. Once the preeminent (and quite possibly the very first) whiskey producer in the world, Ireland’s industry was devastated almost to extinction by war, depression and prohibition. But as the world rightly realises that whiskey is the nectar of the gods, there’s been a huge surge in available brands, styles and producers of ever-increasing quality. For those of us who knock tins for a living, the low cost and mixability of Irish whiskey is a boon. As more brands become available in Australia, expect to see it take a proud place on the cocktail list as well as the whiskey shelf.
A top-quality rum from Mauritius infused with a tropical, floral, spicy bouquet.
The Australian obsession with all things Mexican J is still a strong current in our bars and restaurants. CM As the interest in tequila and mezcal settles in, more obscure agave spirits are coming out of their MJ ancient hiding places to grace us. Raicilla is one – CJ a spirit so alive with agave flavour it nearly jumps CMJ out of the glass. Traditionally made on unlicensed stills in coastal south-west Jalisco, Raicilla has N recently been bottled and marketed internationally for the first time by brands like Venemosa. With a huge whack of natural acidity, it’s more balanced than many spirits and represents the next major step in our appreciation of all things agave. b&c
Exclusively imported by
For more information contact Cerbaco Distribution on 03 9646 8022 or cerbaco.com.au
TEQUILA & MEZCAL
e v a g A AGENDA
As the rise of tequila and mezcal continues, it’s time to move beyond shots and really consider how you can get agave spirits working for you and doing some heavy lifting on your cocktail list.
hile it helps to be a specialty bar, like Tio’s Ceverceria in Sydney’s Surry Hills, according to general manager Alex “Happy” Gilmour, there is plenty of fun to be had regardless. “People look at vodka and think easy, and look at tequila and mezcal and get scared,” he says. “It has as much versatility as vodka, but the difference between the vodka and tequila is that the vodka will taste like something else, whereas the tequila pairs with a taste.” He goes on to explain that mixing tequila means using the acidities and the citrus notes – especially with a blanco tequila – and either complementing it with more citrus or pairing it with something completely different like coffee, roast chocolate, or almonds. Ben Marshall, who works for island2island (distributors of Jose Cuervo and 1800 tequilas) and tends bar at Sydney's Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, says that the robust flavours of tequila offer a unique end result in cocktail creation. “It has the ability to replicate a white spirit which is delicate and light, as well as the darker spirits which are full-bodied and oaky.” And as Octavio Gomez-Haro, co-owner La Cantina, points out, while the spirits have complex tasting notes, they don’t lack mixability. “You can find sweet notes, spicy notes, earthiness, smokiness – so if you go for citrus base or a fruit or vegetable notes, the flavour of each of those will change a lot,” he says. “It gives bartenders an opportunity to be more creative and make drinks that taste very different.”
BEETROOT, CARROTS AND KIWI. NO, REALLY. While plenty of flavours work well with tequila and mezcal, the classics are classics for a reason, and a great place to start when building a cocktail list. “Traditional flavours that work well are grapefruit, citrus in general, chilli, hibiscus and rose petal,” says Marshall. Citrus is a pretty big focus in Mexico, just look at their national cuisine. “I think straight away if you focus on the classics, so margaritas with lime, which has a lot to do with Mexico, because in Mexico we put lime into pretty much everything,” says Gomez-Haro. But it also doesn’t have to be boring. At Tio’s, Gilmour says that their cocktail list has a focus on fresh fruit, but with a “stylised Mexican angle” to keep on theme. “So we’re using a hibiscus syrup for our mezcal sours, because instead of putting sugar syrup in it and it coming out looking like any other sour, it comes out bright pink,” he says. “The mezcal that we use is also not super smoky, it has a taste of the smoke coming through but it doesn’t have the kick to it. We use it because of price point but also because it is entry level mezcal to showcase to people that there is something different.” But for those looking outside the box, there are plenty of other flavours to be played with in the spectrum of different tequilas and mezcals. “Some of the more off-beat flavours are ginger and watermelon. Anything really, just be creative,” says Marshall. “Just be careful not to lose the flavour of the tequila in the drink – it’s a delicate spirit.” Gilmour stresses how important it is to use fresh produce – but make a syrup, make a shrub, make something that will preserve the flavours for a bit longer and allow your venue to really punch out drinks with ease. “We’re using strawberries and rosemary in our Matalan Swizzle right now, and it kind of stands up in its own regard but does freak people out if they have never had it before,” he says. “Kiwi goes with any spirit that has vegetal notes. It really balances it out – so you can pair it with orange juice for the touch of citrus, then with the tequila use a touch of Averna. It is a very easy cocktail to make step by step and to tailor for your venue style.” Gomez-Haro points out that even in Mexico, bars are focussing on the potential of earthy flavours. “More recently in the latest wave in Mexico when bartenders are mixing they try to keep it really earthy – so beetroot works really well and then you can even stretch to flavours like carrot, especially in winter when you might use a reposado or anejo tequila or, in mezcal, a pechuga.”
TEQUILA & MEZCAL
Luke Jones, Asia-Pacific sales manager for Finest Call and Real Cocktail Ingredients, has seen a lot of margarita trends come and go, here is what he’s seeing around the world right now. “Traditionally when discussing margaritas we find that lime especially in Australia is being effected by the rising costs of fresh fruit, as well as diversification in flavours, so we’re finding that lemon is becoming a more popular base fruit flavour for a margarita. Internationally, the same direction is being taken, however in America we have seen the growth in orange-based margaritas especially on the west coast. We are also seeing more herbal-infused margaritas, especially with the rise of Asian-fusion outlets – lemongrass, chilli and ginger margaritas are a great example. Or for a twist on a classic, try a Key Lime Pie Margarita by simply making a classic margarita and adding coconut cream.”
NOT SO CLASSIC COCKTAILS
Alex Gilmour walks you through how to take a classic an put an agave spin on it. “I honestly believe that any classic cocktail can be changed using tequila or mezcal. A Red Hook, a Southside, a daiquiri (which is essentially a margarita, just different). I think mixing tequila and mezcal together works really well too, and it’s a fun one for me. The Sazerac is a classic rye cocktail coming out of New Orleans, so using the two together we do our house Sazerac. It’s a mezcal version that uses three parts mezcal to one part tequila – an unaged mezcal for the smoke and the punch, then using an aged tequila for the back palate, really sort of smoothing it out – as well as both Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters, then a dash of agave syrup to really bring out that sweetness. It’s something that a lot of people, particularly the purists, won’t play with but it’s not that hard to make – a Sazerac in all honesty is not that hard to push through because you only need four things. You don’t need eccentric bitters or juices and stuff like that. Our house Old Fashioned is a tequila Old Fashioned. And it’s delicious, with agave syrup, chocolate bitters, and anejo tequila. We’ll change it up and do something different on the next list, but it will always have tequila. The other one that is really good is a Last Word, it tastes great with mezcal as well. This is the fun part. With a Last Word, give it some depth with an anejo tequila to give it some spiciness, which pairs really well with Chartreuse – you can use ingredients that are really common in medium-high end bars.”
NO MIXING, YOU HEATHEN There are two sides to every argument, however, there are a few expressions that really should be left to just being sipped with respect. “Anything extra anejo, or even just anejo should be sipped. But it’s arguable,” says Marshall. “That said, boutique, small batch highend tequila is a no-no. Do not mix it.” Price point can also create an issue. “I always encourage people to try the spirit on its own, to sip it and savour it,” says Gomez-Haro. “From a sustainability perspective, with some of the rarer types of agave, do not put them in a cocktail. Besides, it becomes too expensive.” Gilmour says that he can see both sides of the argument with the rare expressions definitely a case of sip only. That said, he also notes that there are some bars that have pushed the envelope and got away with it. “There are some bars that have brought in age statements from the 1950s so they can make a drink the exact way that it was made back then – like the Savoy or the American in Paris,” he says. “But they have the money to be able to buy something that expensive and the ability to sell it despite it being so expensive. And there was a cocktail a few years ago called the Millionaire’s Margarita that was Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Anejo, the Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary Edition, and finger lime juice, and it’s like $85 a cocktail or some similar ridiculous price.”
y g o l o x Mi Jose Cuervo reworks some modern classics, while Alex Gilmour shares three of the mezcal cocktails that have been ﬂying out the door at Tio’s.
JOSE CUERVO: THE SPIRIT OF MEXICO
he spirit of Mexico is captured in a bottle of Jose Cuervo. With more than 250 years of history, Jose Cuervo has remained true to its origins, while evolving into the world-class tequila it is today, drawing on the same experience, craftmanship, and recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Since 1758, Jose Cuervo has been crafting tequila from the largest agave holdings in the world, grown in the central Mexican town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. And just as Champagne can only be made in France, as of 1974, the Protection of the Denomination of Origin, the Mexican law that oversees the protection of tequila, declared that in order for a spirit to be called "tequila" it had to be made in certain states of Mexico, including Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. Jose Cuervo’s quality and provenance shines through in each bottle, from classic expressions to the cornerstone of many of the world’s most loved cocktails. The portfolio includes two of the most highly regarded mixing tequilas available – Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver and Jose Cuervo Especial Silver, hand-crafted by Maestro Tequilero Don Luis Yerenas, Jose Cuervo’s longest serving employee. “One of the things about the development of Jose Cuervo Silver was that it was a pioneer that really opened up the market, not only for Jose Cuervo, but for everybody,” he says. “The tequila was always consistent. It was always a fine tequila, it was always clean. It was proposed to the market as a complete drink that could be used for a shot and, because of its sweet flavour, great for mixing any type of cocktail.” It’s this versatility with cocktails that makes Jose Cuervo’s silver tequilas so outstanding. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is a 100 per cent blue agave silver tequila. It is irresistibly refined, with a special process being implemented when bottling to conserve its flavour and finish at freezing temperatures. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is ideal served from the freezer as a crisp, smooth, frozen shot, while also mixing across a versatile selection of popular cocktails. Jose Cuervo Especial Silver is a true silver tequila and the very epitome of smooth. With notes of caramel and fresh herbs, it has an excellent balance of sweetness and alcohol and velvety finish, appealing to those who are looking to shake things up with something unexpected.
Café De Minas
Presented by Re’al
CUERVO ESPRESSO MARTINI GLASS: Martini INGREDIENTS: • 45ml Jose Cuervo Especial Silver • 15ml Coffee liqueur • 15 ml Sugar syrup • 30ml Espresso coffee METHOD: Shake with ice, fine strain into glass, garnish and serve immediately. GARNISH: Coffee beans
GLASS: Old fashioned INGREDIENTS: • 60ml Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver • 30ml Fresh lime juice • 15ml Agave syrup METHOD: Shake with ice, strain into glass over fresh ice, garnish and serve. GARNISH: Lime wedge
Two distinctive flavours from the Re’al Cocktail Ingredients range have been listed at the World’s Best Bar, the Artesian in London. Agave Re’al and Coco Re’al have made such an impression on Assistant Head Bartender, Simone Caporale, that he has introduced both products onto his cocktail menu at the Artesian.
GLASS: Coupette INGREDIENTS: • 30ml Mezcal gin • 45ml Coconut Horchata • 4 dashes Chocolate bitters • 15ml Pedro Ximénez sherry • 10ml Agave syrup • Dash of Egg white METHOD: Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake. Add ice and wet shake. Fine strain into a coupette, create garnish using a coffee art template and serve. GARNISH: Cinnamon powder
Agave Re’al is used in various cocktails, from classics such as the Margarita and the Tommy, as well as the Instant Crush, which is a blend of dry sherry, Tequila, watermelon and timur pepper. The Artesian also replicates the taste of chocolate from the pre-hispanic period (when the first ever European tried it in Mexico, 500 years ago), by blending Agave Re’al with cacao, water, miscal vermouth, chipotle and different spices, and serves it warm with real gold nuggets.
CAFÉ DE MINAS
Re’al Cocktail Ingredients Launch at The Artesian
GLASS: Coupette or wine glass INGREDIENTS: • 30ml Coffee-infused mezcal • 30ml Lime juice • 25ml Agave syrup • 10ml Apricot brandy • 1 dash Angostura Bitters METHOD: Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Fine strain into glass, garnish and serve. GARNISH: Three coffee beans
Simone Caporale, Assistant Head Bartender at the Artesian, says: “Every bartender looks for a starting product, which has an application that allows you to create the drinks you have visualised in your mind. The Re’al Cocktail Ingredients products are giving us great support in terms of both consistency and quality.
MATALAN SWIZZLE GLASS: Highball INGREDIENTS: • 30ml Mezcal • 45ml Strawberry and rosemary puree • 15ml lime juice • Soda water METHOD: Build the first three ingredients in the glass. Add ice and stir down. Top with soda water and more ice. Stir to mixed, garnish and serve. GARNISH: Red straw and a rosemary sprig
DISTRIBUTED BY SOUTHTRADE INTERNATIONAL (02) 8080 9150 email@example.com
COLEMAN’S A new program aimed at educating and supporting women in the bartending industry is quietly making waves in Sydney.
aunched in September 2015, Coleman’s Academy is the brainchild of awardwinning bartender Paige Aubort, and its sole purpose is to facilitate the advancement of female professionals in bartending. The not-for-profit organisation runs monthly forums that are run by women, for women – something that, according to Aubort, the industry was in dire need of. “The gender inequality in the industry is quite obvious. Not in the fact that it’s a really sexist industry, but in the fact that you’ve got maybe one in every 40 bartenders is a female and when you progress into management or full-time cocktail bartending it’s very rare,” she says. “It’s not easy to make contact with other women. It’s a lot easier for men when they’re surrounded by other men in their bars, so they can just look to their left and their right and they have their friends. “To find someone that you have common ground with is great. It gets so lonely. No matter how much you love the boys and no matter how much they are your family, you still want to turn to someone on your right hand side and be like “oh my god…” So I think it is finding people that relate to you more and all the pressures that come with this kind of work.”
WHY COLEMAN'S ACADEMY The impetus to take the plunge and create a networking and support system came from a variety of frustrations that Aubort was facing in her own career. “I had been expressing my frustrations at where is the networking, where are the communications, the female friendly competitions – why isn’t there more out there to encourage and support women?” she says. “When there are so few
JENNA HEMSWORTH AND LIND SAY ROGERS HAVE BOTH PRESENTED TO COLEMAN'S ATTENDEES.
WOMEN TO THE FRONT
“Ultimately I wanted to create something that 20-year-old Paige would want to attend – so the idea came from that, to create a really safe environment.” women in this industry, there are so few things to support what we’re working towards.” Getting to a place where she was comfortably settled in her own career, Aubort says that she decided to set aside some time to work on a passion project, outside of work. “I had attended something called All About Women at the Opera House, and it was amazing, I have never walked away from something feeling so inspired. And ultimately I wanted to create something that 20-year-old Paige would want to attend – so the idea came from that, to create a really safe environment. I’ve always like the idea of education and I’ve always been a fan of not-forprofit – I didn’t want to make money from this.”
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
PAIGE AUBORT BEHIND THE BAR AT THE LOBO PLANTATION.
“It’s not easy to make contact with other women. It’s a lot easier for men when they’re surrounded by other men in their bars, so they can just look to their left and their right and they have their friends.”
The mentoring program Aubort has developed is working toward a number of goals including connecting senior and junior members in mentoring relationships; educating its members in all things bartending – including the role of women in the industry; discussing procedures, methods, projects and policies for female bartenders; and inspiring women to take their bartending careers to the highest possible level. Aubort is a strong believer in the fact that women in any industry need support to face potential backlash from standing up and making their voices heard with regard to issues that affect them personally. “It’s really important because in society in general women can often be shamed for either having quite strong voices or opinionated voices. “Especially when they’re calling out instances that could potentially leave some scars or leave some marks – people being like “Oh I wouldn’t hire her, she’s got an opinion about ‘this’”. Or “I don’t want to hire her because she might cause a fuss later”, or “I don’t want to hire her because she can’t take a ‘joke’”, you know. “I think it’s sad because in these instances where women speak out and say “hey that guy was a fucking asshole” or “that guy was sexist”, or “this stuff happened to me so I wasn’t hired here”. “This stuff happens so often that women have to stop and think about whether or not they’re willing to put out that opinion because in the end it isn’t the person that did wrong by them, it’s the person complaining that gets blamed.”
INDUSTRY REACTION Unsurprisingly, the organisation, and its events have garnered support from women across the board.
“The reaction as a whole has been incredibly positive – there hasn’t been anything bad. From beginner bartenders to career bartenders to the women who are older and now own their own bars, they’re grateful and they’re so appreciative. I think that is because the women in this industry are supportive, and loving, and kind, and it’s not just for the fact I was doing a project on my own, let alone that it was to benefit other people, they were always going to be supportive,” says Aubort. Aubort has been footing the bill for the sessions, and with costs running into the thousands it isn’t easy. Add the reality that a lot of brand teams have very few female staff members themselves, and there is a bigger hurdle. “I was going to these really big companies and saying “hey, I want you to use Coleman’s as your platform – I just need you to show up with a woman from your company, ideally a brand ambassador, and they need present one product in your portfolio”. And the number of people who were like “We don’t have someone like that”. They don’t have a female staff member or a single female in the state that can come and speak about a product. It’s so fucking shit.”
THE FUTURE While Coleman’s Academy is still very much in its infancy, Aubort has big plans for the organisation, saying that she would love to take the concept internationally, though that may be difficult as she has chosen not to monetise the business model. “It would be amazing to, say, take three of the best Australian female bartenders and take them over to New York or London and do sessions. That would be awesome. When I look at it, I think I could have made money off this, but it’s just not my priority. So the progression is going to be a lot slower than if it was my sole business.”
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY Aubort is also a realist, noting that there is only so much that can be done if women aren’t willing to do the hard yards to get into the industry – it may be an amazing one to work in, but it is also a tough one. “I think the industry is as welcoming as you want it to be. And if women aren’t applying for the jobs and aren’t willing to do the extra shifts and the physical labour then that’s an issue,” she says. “It’s not an easy job, but would I like the industry to progress so I can see more of an equal bar representation? Yes. b&c
Spiced rum is a rapidly expanding category in Australia and with plenty of ﬂavours and options available on the back bar you need to know how to best capitalise on consumer interest.
ccording to Kyle Melnyk, CEO Stolen Spirits AU/NZ, increasingly adventurous consumers are driving the thirst for new flavours. “The market is premiumising and there is a global trend toward flavouring and other innovations in spirits – this all points perfectly toward the interest and growth of the spiced rum category,” he says. There is another factor too – Aussies love rum. Heck, our economy used it as a form of currency once upon a time. James Irvine, who keeps bar for the Swillhouse Group, says that the popularity of spiced rum is undeniable.
“As a category, if my stats are correct, spiced rum is actually the largest growing spirit category in Australia in terms of sales and consumption. The reason why, I think, is because Australians have always been rum drinkers. We love rum – we’re one of the largest consumers of dark spirits in the world,” he says. “I guess the category of rum, having that more user friendly aspect of spicing, it’s a lot like a mulled wine – that’s how I like to explain it – it’s got more flavour incorporated into it. We go through a truckload of it.” According to Hamish Goonetilleke, Chief of The Rum Diary Bar in Melbourne and
TALKING POINT: KNOW YOUR SPICES Kyle Melnyk: Typically a spiced rum will have strong vanilla, cinnamon and cherry flavours and this would be your sweeter spiced rums out there. The most unique flavour in our rum is the smoke element. We get this through a process called pyrolysis, where American hardwood is burnt at a very high temperature to allow us to capture the best notes of the wood with naturally occurring notes of caramel, vanilla and toffee. The smoke is then cooled through a water bath to capture extracts in a usable form. Hamish Goonetilleke: We started with the standard ranges of spice products such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, orange, ginger, coffee and vanilla but now have moved into more interesting spices such has Australian native spices (experimenting with wattle seed, pepper berry, native mints, cinnamon myrtle and star anise myrtle) plus Tonka beans. We also experiment with different sugars such as Demerara as well as exploring different vanilla beans (not all vanilla is created equal).
creator of the newly launched The Rum Diary Spiced Rum, the strength of spiced rum is its variety. “Spiced rum as a category is hugely diverse – there are no boundaries and no rules for producers, so that means that there are many different flavours which different producers are choosing to focus on,” he says. “It’s about exploring and experimenting with different spices and bases to create interesting interpretations.” And it’s the familiarity of these flavours that makes the spirits so palatable – vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, coffee, cloves are all familiar from desserts and comfort foods. Add rum, and you have a winning combination.
IT’S SO DAMN EASY TO USE The flavours and added sugar in spiced rum mean that it is so easy to blend into twists on classics and even entirely new recipes. As Melnyk says, be adventurous, it won’t let you down. “Spiced rums are all different, so the same principles of cuisine apply – it’s about flavour matching and balance,” he says. “Stolen Spiced Rum has a bold, smoky flavour so lends itself best to classical dark spirit and whiskey-based cocktails.” At the other end of the spectrum, are the spiced rums that work well in classic fruity concoctions – like tiki cocktails, says Goonetilleke. “Taste the individual spiced rum product and call out the key flavours, use them to complement what you’re mixing it with,” he says. “Rum Diary Spiced Rum pairs wonderfully with apple and fruits because of the heavy clove, cardamom and cinnamon.” Addam Winkels, manager of The Rum Diary Bar, believes that spiced rum is so versatile because it covers a wide range of purposes in a single drink. “The addition of the sugar and the multitude of flavours that spiced rum can encompass, means that while you can use an amaro and a sweet vermouth in the same drink, you could use a rum that has all those flavours,” he says. “You can use more of the base spirit and boost the flavour that you’re already using.” Ben Luzz, owner of Savant Spirits (and co-owner of Gin Palace) also loves his spiced rum, and praises its usefulness in a cocktail repertoire. “It’s like the dark spirit version of gin really,” he says. “It’s already got two of the three key parts to most cocktails – strong and sweet – all it needs is the sour of which lime is the classic match. As it’s already got spice to boot you don’t need to mess around too much with syrups or complicated add-ons.”
MAKING NEW RUM DRINKERS Melnyk reckons simply giving a taste can be the converting factor. “We reckon the first taste should be simply over ice and just watch the look on their face, it still gets us excited to see the reaction,” he says. However, as Irvine points out – you need to know what it tastes like as well. “Try everything and describe to the customer what you think it tastes like and what you’re getting,” he says. “Anyone can read a tasting note. But if you can personify what you think, you can add to someone’s enjoyment.” And try adding a touch of the “yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum” to your chat, without turning it into a history lecture. “For customers I also love to speak about the sordid and wonderful history of rum and where this relatively new evolution has come from and why the spice and the base work so well,” says Goonetilleke.
TALKING POINT: HISTORY Addam Winkels: Spiced rum came about through creating an efficiency, there was no way of transporting herbs and spices from certain countries to others so they were using rum as a preservative. So a lot of spiced rum cocktails that you see feature vanilla or have a big caramel profile.
COCKTAIL TIPS Winkels: The less sugar added the better. But the versatility of the sugar and the vanilla, which is one of those heavily used products in spiced rum, means it can kind of go with anything – any flavour character really. All spirits mix well with it, it’s just about finding the right amounts and balancing everything out. Irvine: It’s such a versatile product. You can drink it on ice, you can drink it mixed – we sell a lot of spiced rum and fresh apple. We go through about two tonnes of apples a week in our venues, and all of that is in highballs and most of it is with spiced rum. I think rum will always have the holy trinity of citrus, sugar, and rum – basically a daiquiri because that is the essence of the holy trinity. I wouldn’t necessarily put spiced rum in an actual daiquiri, but a rum punch, definitely. Goonetilleke: I love spiced rum in bold tiki drinks – Mai Tai, jungle bird, and of course a zombie because the flavour punches through.
WHY DON’T YOU TRY Melnyk: One of our favourites is using Stolen Spiced in an espresso martini. The smoky flavour complements the coffee so well and gives a really unique but familiar flavour. Winkels: The one that we have featured recently is the So Fresh, So Green and it has 1.5 ounces of house spiced rum, 10mls of sugar for balance, 15mls of lime juice, and a whole fresh apple and just a dash bitters on the top for the aromatics, not enough to ruin the bottom of the drink. It’s nice and sweet and has all the good qualities that a good sipping drink should have. Irvine: If you want a killer rum cocktail – raspberry, citrus, spiced rum and a dash of egg white – that is something I make a lot of when someone says ‘um… can I get something with rum… a little bit fruity… a little bit sour’. It’s just a Spiced Knickerbocker and it’s definitely a go-to of mine. Luzz: A dark and stormy with spiced rum is hard to beat as a long drink. Hands (and cocktail books) down. It has classic spice matches with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg obviously. I've also used mace powder which sits in the cinnamon family but is even more amazing as it’s a by-product. Use beurre noisette for a nutty Hot Buttered Rum. Or pair it with absinthe – its botanicals are a perfect match with spiced rum, or if that’s too much try using toasted fennel seeds or star anise.
SMOKE YOUR MARTINI STOLEN SMOKED ESPRESSO MARTINI -
45ml Stolen Smoke Spiced Rum 15ml Coffee Liqueur 30ml Little Drippa / fresh espresso 10ml Coconut Syrup 10ml Agave Nectar Pinch of salt
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice, double strain, serve in martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans.
THE SMOKEY FLAVOUR OF STOLEN RUM GIVES THE ESPRESSO MARTINI A DEPTH AND FULL BODIED FLAVOUR THAT ISNâ€™T ACHIEVABLE USING A TRADITIONAL ESPRESSO MARTINI RECIPE. USING NATURAL SWEETENERS AND A PINCH OF SALT COMPLEMENTS THE WHISKEY-LIKE FLAVOUR OF THE RUM. STOLEN RUM is now available in Australia with Think Spirits - firstname.lastname@example.org STOLENRUM.COM - FACEBOOK.COM/STOLENRUM INSTAGRAM @STOLENRUM #STOLENRUM
EXPANDING Y We locked ﬁve bar experts in Applejack’s (very cool) new basement bar Della Hyde and refused to let them go free until they had spilled all their secrets about the big jump from owning one bar to operating a squadron of successful venues.
YOUR EMPIRE The Panel
• Jared Merlino: The Lobo Plantation, Kittyhawk, Big Poppa’s • Mike Enright: The Barber Shop, Gin & It (pop-up), The Barber Shop Barangaroo • Anton Forte: The Baxter Inn, Shady Pines Saloon, Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice, Restaurant Hubert • Hamish Watts: Bondi Hardware, The Butler, The Botanist, Della Hyde, SoCal • Ben Carroll: Bondi Hardware, The Butler, The Botanist, Della Hyde, SoCal
PICKING YOUR MOMENT BC You know you’re ready when you find the right site. And you’ve got the cash. JM Property really dictates your moves, especially in the current market. You can be eager and ready to open that second venue but if you don’t find the right site it’s really difficult. AF For me, it was when I was bored. When we start to get bored, we’re like ‘well, what are we going to do? We need to do something else’. When we had filled the place up with taxidermy [Shady Pines] and there was no more taxidermy around nearby we were like ‘oh, ok’. ME From my side it was more about what deal we could get. Site is very important as well and we’re always thinking about the area.
FINDING A NEW HOME JM Location is definitely key and depending on what you want to do – everyone will have an idea of what they want to do for the next venue, they might not have a theme but they have an idea – is what you choose. With Kittyhawk, opening soon, I always wanted to do a much bigger cocktail bar, a monster cocktail bar, and when that location popped up it was a hotel licence, was a pub, in the back of my mind I didn’t know what the theme was going to be but I had an idea and you just have to consider, will that idea work in that location and can it survive – look at the rent, look at all of that. Pull every site apart that comes across the table and see if it will stack up and work for the right amount of time and the right amount of investment. You have to be in there all the time too, in a 60 pax – if you want to pay yourself out of it, you have to be in there all the time working it. It’s hard – the lockouts put you in a bit of a corner right now when you’re looking at existing sites. Once one pops up we’re all of us all over it and then it’s a matter of who’s willing to pay what and how quick you’re willing to move on something. It’s a difficult market. BC Location, that is definitely one, and making sure the site has a bit of character to it. You can always build character in but it helps a lot if the venue has character before you move in there. But what comes first? Theme or site? AF I reckon both. And I think a deal too. Having a space that’s already got a license and a DA is imperative. To go through a whole DA process is a nightmare and no one really wants that. So snap onto anything that is a good deal, that already has a licence, already got services, toilets, electricity, those are big pluses. Something that is really important to us is scale as well. Finding the right size is really hard and it’s got to have all the nuts and bolts as well. It’s hard to make good money on a bar that is 60 pax and under. You can do it, but you’ve got the same staff as you do in a 120 pax bar. HW We did Bondi Hardware from nothing. We’ll never do that again. We knocked it over in about six months, which isn’t too bad.
SPEAK REAL ESTATE SPEAK
ME Getting a rent free period is really important, you don’t want to be paying rent before you open the doors, shit happens, but a really good rent free period, and sometimes they will offer a contribution as well, to the fit out. That can sway a deal and obviously help you to build what you want to build. HW Be careful with a contribution clause though as they often sting you on the other end with rent. And don’t get emotionally attached to a venue either. We did that with Bondi Hardware. You need to be strong enough to let it go and walk away. If you’re ready to walk then you have always got the upper hand in a negotiation. But if you fall in love with it and you’re not willing to let it go, then they’ll smell it and it’s over. JM I think we’re all really fluent at reading real estate proposals now because we’ve all looked at so many. I remember when I first started – real estate people aren’t the easiest people to deal with and it can be really confusing. Go out and ask people, I’ve had quite a few people bring me deals and you know it takes experience to work things out – what does that rent free period equal for you? What are your terms and what are your options? When is your market review and when does it come up? All of those things for people who haven’t looked at them a hundred times, they go ‘the rent is really cheap’, yeah but you’ve got a market review in two years and you’re in the middle of a hotspot so it will triple. Sometimes it’s really hard but it’s an amazing industry to be in and when people come and ask me to look at things I generally always help them out. Take your time. Kittyhawk took us five months to sign the deal, and you have to be prepared for it to cost you a lot in legal fees and even to get to the point where you let it go, it can cost you five to 10 grand and you have to let it go. But you have to be smart. Take your time and seek the right advice. A lawyer and an accountant are your best friends. BC If you’re a first time operator you usually don’t have the sort of credibility to negotiate with the landlord but as you get a reputation, the landlord wants you. They want a long term tenant in there and they know you’ve done other venues so they’re willing to negotiate a bit harder. Our first venue, Bondi Hardware, has not nearly the same deal that we’re doing now when we open venues because we were nobody back then.
IS ANYTHING ORIGINAL? HW The way we have always done it is that we’ve always built venues that have played off our strengths. All of our stuff is based around things that we know and things that we do well. The back end for all Applejack venues all seem to run a bit the same for the nuts and bolts. Similar service philosophy, our staff, the food, so while all the venues are unique and different in their own way, the way they operate is essentially the same. So we base our themes around something that will work loosely in that model. We do stray away as much as we can and sort of challenge ourselves and make sure we keep it interesting. AF We think of a place we would like to go that doesn’t exist and try to create that. With Frankie’s we thought ‘why isn’t there a late night rock and roll bar?’ it just seemed obvious. With Baxter we wanted to do a fancy whisky bar. With Shady Pines it just seemed like obvious. And with Hubert, the same. Our concepts aren’t really original, they have been done a million times, but we like to really delve deep into the concept and flesh it out as much as possible and try and I guess, pay homage to that concept and do it as well as we can. But definitely places we like to go. Places we want to hang out in. JM For me all three venues are just things I like. I opened Lobo because I love rum. That’s essentially all it is. With Big Poppa’s, love cheese, love wine, love hip-hop. So it comes from me wanting to build stuff that I love. I’m not saying that everyone will love it, but if you do it well everyone likes different elements of it. And I’ve always wanted a cocktail bar where I can go and sit and listen to hip-hop. So it’s more from what I like, and what do the people around me like. We all enjoy hospitality, what do we enjoy the most about different places, then bringing it together and seeing if it will work. And when you get down to it, the places that are successful are the places that really think about the detail – how does it look, what about the light, how does it sound, what is the difference between your drinks and the drinks next door. You start with a concept. With Kittyhawk, it weaves and ducks and comes up and down until you land on a product you’re happy with, but it’s about the detail. BC Basically we just create places where we would like to go and get drunk ourselves. ME We’ve gone down this whole gin road for a couple of reasons. When I was back in my Merivale days I talked Justin [Hemmes] into turning one of his bars into a gin garden which he did in a fairly half-arsed attempt, so I always wanted to do it, and even the barber thing, the way I came at that was I feel like the bartender and the barber have a lot of similarities – the tooling and the history – and the history of gin is so interesting, I wanted to go all in. It took us a while to get there because we didn’t have the funds to open the bar that we wanted to originally. So then with Gin & It, I took an old cocktail that I’d found, and it took me ages to find the name of it, but I thought once that pop-up closes, I’ll have 200 gins to go back into The Barber Shop. So it was about being quite resourceful in terms of creating a temporary project.
GET CREATIVE ME My new bar was a different kind of proposal. With the pop-up down at Barangaroo the first licence was an event licence and it was a 10-month deal and so it was a no-brainer for us – not much input by us, bit with a lot more gain. So then for us to go into Barangaroo permanently was to do an actual barbershop. Barbers can take the same amount of money – if not more, after P&L on a 60 pax – and so I thought, well I’ll just cut all that out and I’ll just do an actual barbershop. It’s licenced as well and it’s a funny licence because you have to have only three drinks per person and you can only have a drink if you’re having a service. The limitations are a lot, but you can drink whatever you like.
BUSINESS PARTNERS AF No losers. If you can’t sit down and have a drink with them and have the same ethos around hospitality and the same ideals in life, I don’t think you should be in business. It’s a good idea to make it clear from the start what everyone’s expectations are in the partnership and what everyone is going to be doing. And work out how your company is going to look at hospitality and the venues. You need to have a clear identity and know what’s important to the company and everyone has a clear idea of what their role is within that company structure. BC You’ve got to be willing to also have a fight with them and then be able to go and have a beer with them and make up. Hug it out. It’s great to have a partner and be able to bounce ideas off each other and throw around different concepts and things like that. JM You have to look at hospitality the same. It’s really hard because a lot of people think that they want to be involved and that they want to own a bar. But, do you share the same vision? Are you doing it because you’re passionate about hospitality and you really want to build something that people will enjoy, or are you doing it because you think you’re going to make 20 grand a week and it’s going to be a cash cow for you? ME It’s good also to have different strengths, one of my business partners is really good at numbers so I give him all the shit stuff to do and I do all the fun stuff. It’s good to have that balance though. One of my business partners has been made silent because it wasn’t working out, so he is sat there somewhere, and the other guy is really chilled out and I can stress out and get all worked up – so he is a calming person for me.
GET YOUR CASH TOGETHER HW Just keep everything really lean. We just didn’t pay ourselves very much the first couple of years and we still don’t pay ourselves too much. We just make sure that all the money we are accumulating is staying within the business and spend your pennies wisely and hold onto some cash if you can, do things on the cheap and before you know it you’ll have a bit of money there and the cash builds over time. But invest in the right areas, we replaced every glasswasher we ever bought in our first three venues in the first six months. The important thing we have found is knowing where not to spend money. If you’re talking to designers and they want to put a brass strip around the edge of your tile detail that no one will ever notice, and that is where you save your cash but you invest in good quality equipment that will save you a lot of money in the long term. BC If you don’t have the cash don’t do it. You don’t want to get yourself in too much debt and have the bank knocking on your door – that is the last thing you want. Definitely keep your designers on a short leash. JM Everyone always starts with a budget and it’s doing your research as much as possible. You know what you have to spend and you have a site and think ok, can I get away with it. And it’s hard to figure out what that site’s going to cost before you sign the deal, because you need to it lock up and then you have to sort of work your way back. With Big Poppa’s we’re doing that at the moment. The deal is done so now we’re working through what fridges are going to cost – do we go new or do we have to get second hand? And it’s a matter of knowing your limitations and working your way back. And also if you’re setting up a business, the back end systems are all the same for all your businesses so you know what your targets are, you know what your wages have to be – it’s doing all that financial planning at the beginning and thinking this is where it has to be to repay the debt in x amount of time. If you don’t work out milestones to work towards, it could be humming but you will take four years to pay back what you should have paid back in two. Sometimes though you run out of money and you make deals with yourself: we’ll get that second-hand washer but once we have the turnover we’ll work off cash flow and fund upgrading. Sometimes you just have to get the doors open, but it’s hard because sometimes you don’t know until you sign a deal and you start costing things. On your second one it is different because you roughly know what you spent last time but you just need to do it. You go and get all new fridges and it comes out 15 grand more expensive and you think ‘fuck’ but you want them because you know it is going to change the space and the way it works, so you just do it. ME You don’t want to over spend on something, dependant on the return you will get on it. You look at some venues around the world and you think, fuck, this place must have cost an absolute mint. Are they ever going to see the money back? If they even want to see it back depends on who they are. AF Know that if you buy shit stuff because it’s cheap, it will break. I think financially, if you don’t have the cash for it, don’t do it. Because you need to buy all your back of house stuff, and that is all fucking expensive. You also need to pay three to six month deposits to your landlords, which can be massive and then on top of that you have tables, chairs, etc and everything has to be good quality. And the thing is, with a good venue, everything has to be cohesive and look good. And for it to look good and look cohesive, it’s going to cost a lot of money. That said, I guess we have spent the most money we ever have on a venue at the moment, and I don’t know what the results are going to be, but hopefully it pays off.
KEEPING ALL THE BALLS IN THE AIR HW We have a very small HQ team and we have guys that are focused on individual facets of the business. So Ben and I are purely focused on operations and we split that into channel management, so some people report to Ben and other people report to me. I think it’s important that people are focused on specific things. And lots of communication. Keeping the comms up really high and making sure you’re having regular reviews and chats and keeping everyone motivated and challenged. BC
JM Benchmarks and KPIs. And set them at the beginning. Don’t open and then say ‘I wanted it to be here’ or whatever. Logistically, you have to say to each team ‘this is what you’re intent is’ and definitely employ legends. It’s people that are 60 per cent of what we do. We might build venues but that is nothing unless the people are there. Invest in good people and empower them to run it. Share your vision. With communication, we have a regular meeting every week and review every number from the previous week and we talk about the good and the bad. If you’re all constantly working on the vision. ME Have a structure and keep people in certain roles so that they know their responsibilities and they demonstrate an element of leadership. If they know what your expectations are and then I think it’s a pretty simple process through growing teams from there on in.
KEEP THE PRESSURE DOWN JM For people going in for round two, there is a lot more pressure on HAMISH WATTS your second venue than there is on your first. Expect pressure, especially if your first venue kicks goals. The next one, they are sitting there and waiting and that is what I am feeling right now. People are going to come in and they’re going to look at every detail and see how your drinks come out and what you’ve done differently. You’ve got to make sure that you have a plan. Give yourself the time to get feedback – have soft launches and ask for honest BC We employed a dickhead once. We learned our feedback. Get it right before you open to the public because the public can be lesson pretty quickly. assholes. After two not so much but the second one is critical for your whole plan. JM Yeah, employ legends and avoid dickheads. AF We felt like, when we were doing our second one, we were like ‘did we just fluke it?’ You’re looking around thinking ‘does this look shit? Is this a bad idea?’ That’s HW Don’t over capitalise, I guess is the biggest one. Spend an amount of money that is commensurate to what we did. We were like, fuck. the amount of money that you’re going to be making. HW You get super paranoid about your first bar because you’re spending so much time on your second one. You start thinking that you’re taking your eye off the ball. AF We’ve had a lot of failures but you look back on them and you think, I know it’s clichéd, but when you You have to be really confident that when you’re ready to move you have a first class look back, they’re important or a learning curve or team in the original venue. just funny. Some of the major fuck ups you just think ‘oh my god’. I don’t think you can compromise and go for second best. You have to believe in your vision and stick to your plan and not be dissuaded by naysayers or negative influences. JM You’ve got to be ready to move quickly and have all your ducks in a row. You’ve BC As long as you’re learning from it. We’re still got to be able to pull a deal apart pretty quick and see whether or not it’s going to be young and doing what we want to do and love to do viable for your idea and what you want to do with it – what’s the rent? How long’s the and we’re going to fuck up occasionally. As long as term? What’s the license? Is it a restaurant? If it’s a licence where people have to eat you’re learning and moving forward and you’re not that changes your model very quickly, things like that. But yeah, you can’t fumble your bankrupt. way though. ME Creative freedom is really important. We’ve done this pop-up with a huge building company and they have changed the goalposts on us a lot of times and we don’t have 100 per cent creative freedom, and I think that’s really important. If you are going to collaborate and you don’t have that, it isn’t meeting ME Know what audience you’re targeting. Make sure you’re in the right area to target that audience, but know who your customer is. I’ve always had a clear vision on who my your vision and it all breaks down from your side ideal customer was at The Barber Shop and I felt like I just nailed it – it’s so important. because you’re not completely capitalising on what you could do.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
HAVE YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
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16-17 July 2016
ROYAL EXHIBITION BUILDING, CARLTON GARDENS, MELBOURNE
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Now in its 12th year of publication, Bars & Clubs has become a showcase of what the industry has to offer, covering the current trends, idea...
Published on Mar 11, 2016
Now in its 12th year of publication, Bars & Clubs has become a showcase of what the industry has to offer, covering the current trends, idea...