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AMERICA The history, craft and quality of American whiskey.




MANAGING DIRECTOR Simon Grover PUBLISHER Paul Wootton pwootton@intermedia. EDITOR Stefanie Collins EDITOR-AT-LARGE James Wilkinson jwilkinson@intermedia. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Cover: Simon Taylor (Cover shot on location at The Clock, Surry Hills) NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Mark Ryu (02) 85866123 GENERAL MANAGER SALES – LIQUOR & HOSPITALITY GROUP Shane T Williams stwilliams@intermedia. GRAPHIC DESIGN Ryan Vizcarra PRODUCTION MANAGER Jacqui Cooper PUBLISHED BY The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd ABN 940 025 83 682 41 Bridge Road, GLEBE, NSW Australia, 2037 Telephone: 02 9660 2113 Fax: 02 9660 1883



hat makes a great bar, well, great? And more importantly, what makes a great bar successful? It was the question we put to our very first round table and they ran with it in a typically verbose manner – one thing about the bar industry, you guys are never short on an opinion about anything. And apart from a bunch of unprintable expletives, a few “oh my god don’t print that” moments” and more than a little bit of good-natured ribbing between friends, there was a lot of great advice about what makes a great bar – from the intangible to the tangible. These are a few of my favourite (printable) parts that we couldn’t quite jam into the feature: BARS THAT ARE INSPIRATIONAL Michael Nouri: I think what the guys at Bulletin Place did to start off that simplification of the bar was really important and it was great. It came at an important time where so many bars were going overboard. They just brought it right back down to a core essence. Russ McFadden: I think the stuff that Jonathan Downey has been doing for 15 years since the late 90s, it is pretty de rigour now, you see it in a lot of bars, like what Swillhouse is doing – the quality of the service and the staff. Toby Hilton: Fit out-wise I really like Callooh Calley, what they did when they first set out was really cool in what is a really awkward space. Locally I still love Lobo Plantation for that instant feeling you get when you walk in and you walk down the stairs. Jeremy Shipley: I’m lucky I get to go to northern California a bit, and they have venues with long bars and all the produce from the local area is out on top of it and that is where the guys pick everything. I think it’s really nice that things aren’t clean and neat and regimented. Emily Lloyd-Tait: For sheer moxie – Bar Americano. Who looked at that space and went “this is a good idea, definitely keep doing this”? It’s astonishing that some people have that vision to see a space and go “I can put the bar in here” before they take it on, and it does actually work.

ON KEEPING YOUR BAR LIVELY Russ McFadden: It’s one of the most awful sentences to hear: “are you open?” Toby Hilton: You know something is wrong. Michael Nouri: All you hear is the juicer running in the background. *makes juicer noises* ON TAKING BAR THEMES TO THE EXTREME Toby Hilton: Stick to it, even though while you’re doing it you’re thinking “what are we doing? People are going to laugh at this”. When we were building Frankie’s I was like “what are we doing?” But then it made sense. Because the boys stuck to it and now when you peek in through the doors and there are 400 people swinging off the rafters you’re like: that makes sense. ON MENU HUBRIS Michael Nouri: The menu was way too wordy – everything had a touch of apricot or a hint of angel’s tears. And I don’t mean to offend anyone but if I see the word “umami” on another menu, I’m probably going to lose my shit. Explain that to me exactly – what exactly are you throwing in there to make it “umami”? – and really make me feel it because I’m like, goddam bro, your ego is too much. A MEDITATION ON DOOR STAFF Jeremy Shipley: It’s hospitably 101. You’re going to hate a place if they piss you off at the door already. That policy is really important. Michael Nouri: I think I was only ever let into Hugo’s once. There’s that pyramid of stairs and there’s the queen at the top. And you know they’re looking down upon you. Toby Hilton: They’ve clocked you 20 stairs down and just gone: nah. Michael Nouri: The security guard has seen you from around the corner, I’m dressed to the nines and feeling there is no way that I’m not succeeding tonight. And then some dude with a pair of torn shorts and a singlet walks straight up the stairs and I’m standing there and they’re like “sorry mate private function”. On a final note, enjoy your Christmas period. It’s always crazy and busy and over the top but then there is the respite of January – see you then. Cheers,

Stefanie Collins Editor, bars&clubs






DISCLAIMER This publication is published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the "Publisher"). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher's endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. COPYRIGHT (C) 2015 - THE INTERMEDIA GROUP PTY LTD.

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Delve into the history of America’s signature spirits and see what all the fuss is about.









All the latest industry news.

The newest beers, ciders, wines and mixers.


The trends and the products to carry you into 2016.



When it comes to rum, age is important.

Thinking of entering? You should, and here is why.





OPENINGS The new, the revamped and the rebranded venues opening around the country.


OPERATOR PROFILE Ben Luzz on celebrating Gin Palace’s 18th birthday.







Why you need to be across the brands as well as the flavours.

Expert advice on how to make your bar perform successfully.

Why the top shelf stuff deserves a space in your bar's fridge.

All about the classic aperitif that is named after a WWI machine gun.


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The latest spirit releases for your back bar.











MARVEL Bildo Saravia talks tequila


MARVEL Bildo Saravia talks tequila









editorial: Stefanie - advertising: Mark - | 0404 803 356


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NEW SUMMER COCKTAIL TREND: PISCO WITH pisco on the trend radar for summer, The Pisco People has launched a new distribution company focusing on the South American white spirit. Founded by Josie Healy, The Pisco People is a boutique distributor, wholesaler and online retailer, importing piscos from four of the best bodegas in Peru – Viñasde Oro, Pisco Portón, De Carral and Cuatro G’s.

The portfolio also features a range of styles within the spirit, including single variety Quebranta and Italia styles, the Acholado style – which is a mix of two or more grape varieties – and the super-premium Mosto Verde. The national spirit of Peru, pisco is a white spirit that is distilled from eight grape varietals and is made in specific regions, under strict Peruvian guidelines and with no colours, flavours or even water added after distillation. Healy travelled extensively through Peru and Chile to source the right products, building

LIQUOR LICENSING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW HAVING hosted a free event on 21 October to assist new and potential entrants to the hospitality industry, the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) has now posted the session online. Available to everyone, it discusses in depth the processes involved in applying for, transferring or amending a liquor licence in NSW. The two-hour long workshop – called Liquor Licensing 101 – aims to give viewers a complete overview of the liquor licensing application process, including everything they need to know to get started in the industry. Topics covered included council DA/zoning; compliance best practice; correct liquor licence categories for particular business activities; and the most common mistakes made by new industry entrants and how to avoid them. The link to the vodcast of the workshop can be found at

relationships with producers. Healy is collaborating with brand ambassador Daniel Monk, award-winning mixologist and manager of Fitzroy bar The Rum Diary. To officially launch its products in Australia, The Pisco People is running a ‘Dare to Pisco – Getaway’ – competition for professional bartenders to create their own cocktail ideas. The overall winner will be sent on an incredible trip to Peru. Head to professional.topshelfshow. to find out more about how to enter the competition.


NEW FOUR PILLARS DISTILLERY IN a former Yarra Valley timber yard Four Pillars gin has found a new home for their German sister-stills Wilma and Jude, just over an hour drive from the Melbourne CBD. The Distillery Door is open to the public, with all five Four Pillars gins for tasting and sale, a long copper bar serving paddles of G&T three ways, and the opportunity for visitors to build their own Negronis, all served alongside “really good nuts and olives”, and marmalade on toast. Out the back is where the magic happens, with Wilma (the 450L Carl still) and her sister Jude (the 600L still), soon to be joined by a baby sibling Eileen (weighing in at a teeny 50L) who will arrive early 2016. The latter two stills means that Four Pillars will have the capacity and flexibility to be more creative with its output, not only producing the Rare Dry, Barrel Aged, Spiced Negroni and Navy Strength gins but also a host of other “experimental and occasionally random gins”.

NEW SMALL BARS GET A BOOST IN SYDNEY SYDNEY’S inner west is set to become even more small-bar friendly, with Leichhardt Council proposing to adopt changes that will make it cheaper and easier to open venues in the area. According to the council, the move has been planned to help boost activity and “build the night time economy” around Leichhardt’s main streets. Already a major restaurant destination, the suburb’s council has faced criticism in the past over its parking policies. However, according to Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne, the changes may see the parking levies of up to $30,000 eliminated for new bar operators in areas designated as ‘recognised shopping precincts’, as well as the streamlining of development approvals. The mayor went on to say that by promoting small bar openings in “existing shopping corridors” – for example along Darling Street, Booth Street, Norton Street and Parramatta Road – the council is trying to create a precinct-style development of the area rather than the opening of large single-venue developments like pubs or clubs. Subject to NSW Planning Department approval, the policy changes supported by Leichhardt Council include simplifying the development application process for small bars (classified as licensed premises with less than 60 patrons) and making it easier for restaurants and cafes to convert to small bars without the need for council approval by making these types of ‘change of use’ a type of ‘exempt development’.


We chatted to Natalie Ng and Krystal Hart about why it’s important for women to be more visible in the bartending industry.

Why is it important for women to get involved in competitions? Natalie: Competitions are good because they raise your profile and open up opportunities, depending on what you want to do in the future. Krystal: We’re quite passionate about getting female bartenders involved in competitions. As a female bartender, it’s really important to feel like you’re supported. What can be done to bring more women into bartending? Krystal: I’ve never been a fan of dividing the sexes and to be brutally honest I think saying “she’s done well as a ‘female’ bartender” is doing the complete opposite. It should be more about providing equal opportunities. We’re trying to focus on fostering a really good community and culture that encourages people to get involved. If I see any women engaging within the industry we’ll try to show them the right opportunities and make them feel supported. Natalie: As Krystal says it’s about keeping an eye out and going in and supporting them and reinforcing that we believe they have the skills to do it even if they don’t think so. I think sometimes it’s quite confronting because people feel that they’re not up to the standard, so it’s about changing their perspectives. Is there a change in the industry? Natalie: I think women are just taking charge now. Females bring a different aspect to a bar, you usually see a wall of men so a woman in the bar really changes the atmosphere of the whole place and gives it a new aspect which is really cool. Krystal: It’s so refreshing to see so many female ambassadors. Looking back I didn’t think that someone with my gender and at my age could be given an opportunity like I have. I think at the moment we’re seeing – like at Top Shelf – female bartenders that have paved the way, presenting information and sharing their experiences. It really does foster the belief that women are just as successful as men.



TAILOR YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK WITH ARCHIE ROSE ARCHIE Rose Distilling Co. in Sydney, is giving drinkers the chance to create their own gin, vodka and whisky through a web-based program developed to allow drinkers to try their hand at spirit creation. The program is thought to be only the second of its kind available to drinkers around the world. Designing a Tailored Vodka or Gin begins with selecting up to five of the distillery’s unique botanical distillates – the intensity of each is then chosen to create a unique flavour profile – and finishes with the personalisation of the bottle with a custom made label. The next level up from the botanical options, is the creation of a Tailored Whisky, which allows for the creation of a barrel of entirely unique whisky, with the added option of being present on site to assist in the actual making of the whisky. Almost every aspect is customisable – from the choice of single malt whisky or rye whisky, to the custom-made 20, 50 or 100 litre cask of any wood type the Archie Rose cooper has available (including new American oak, French oak, ex-bourbon, ex-port and ex-sherry). The levels of peat or smokiness are also customisable with a selection of peated or wood smoked malts, among others, available. The option doesn’t come cheap – prices start at $4000 for a 20 litre cask – however, the cask will have the creator’s name stencilled on it before it is stored on displayed in the rack in the Archie Rose bar until it’s matured. Head to professional.topshelfshow. to find out more about creating your own spirits for the back bar.

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A RANGE of specialty whiskies will now feature alongside the artisanal cheese offering in the Opera Bar’s Meat & Cheese room. Working in the current global trend for spirit and food matching, and building on the wine/beer and cheese matching trend in Australia, Opera Bar will be matching its range of Australian artisan cheeses with whiskies from all over the world. The team at Opera Bar has developed an intricate flavour matrix that’s specific to its whisky and cheese offering to ensure that there is a flavour match to suit everyone’s OPERA BAR taste preferences. For those who aren’t sure what sort of flavours they prefer, the specialist staff are on hand to help navigate the menu, while there is a rotating tasting flight option as well. The current whisky and cheese tasting flight on offer features Hakushu 12YO (Mount Kaikomagatake) with L’Artisan washed rind (Timboon); Nant Bourbon Wood (Tasmania) with Ashgrove Cheddar (Elizabeth Town); and Aultmore 12yo (Speyside), with Woodside lemon myrtle chevre (Adelaide Hills).

COOPERS GETS SPICY BUILDING on the burgeoning beer and food matching trend, craft brewers, Coopers Brewery has launched an Ale ’N Spice promotion aimed at the hotel and bar trade. As part of the promotion Coopers has created a guide to help bartenders and chefs match its range of ales specifically with the spices used in food dishes. Cam Pearce, Coopers’ national sales and marketing director, says that while there are no right or wrong answers when matching food and beer, the guide provides a useful starting point. Generally, the higher the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) in the beer, the more it will enhance the spices in the food. For example, Coopers Original Pale Ale with its IBU of 24 (mid-range) is perfect for enhancing heat without being too hot. While Sparkling Ale with an IBU of 30 (Medium to high range) is suggested to accompany mild, Asian inspires dishes full of ginger and garlic as it would give a hot dish a real kick. On the other hand Coopers Stout with an IBU of 40 (High range) works with sweet desserts full of apple and cinnamon.

MCA HOSTS FIRST EVER POP-UP BAR IT’S officially gin o’clock from 4 December as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) opens its garden gates to Sydney-siders. The museum is getting into the summer spirit with its first ever pop-up bar, with the Gin Garden set to be the “ultimate celebration of British eccentricity with a twist of antipodean flair”. The menu will be offering a range of creative cocktails featuring native ingredients and gin from Sydney’s own artisanal distiller Archie Rose – which utilises Australian botanicals in its gin. Museum of Contemporary Art Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, is excited for the launch of the bar, saying that the “Gin Garden will be a wonderful spot to enjoy a post-exhibition tipple, have a great conversation about contemporary art and make the most of Sydney’s balmy summer evenings.”




SOUR BEER IS THE BEST AUSSIE CRAFT BREW OF 2015 THE 2015 Craft Beer Awards have been run and won, and the results were an interesting change from the expected, with the top beer of the year a low ABV, soured ale from the well-known Feral Brewing Co. from Western Australia. The family owned and operated microbrewery took out Champion Craft Beer, as well as the Champion Wheat Beer, for their sour brew Watermelon Warhead. Made in the German Berliner Weisse style, the 2.9% ABV sour German wheat beer is infused with half a tonne of local Swan Valley watermelons before spending 12 weeks maturing in Chardonnay barrels to create a “fresh, spritzy and refreshing beer”. While sour beers are nothing new, the style has always lived in the shadow of the dominant, hop-driven trend for IPAs and pale ales in Australia. The US craft beer market has been producing a multitude of sour beers for some time now, and according to Chris McNamara, Executive Officer of the Craft Beer Industry Association (organisers of the awards) it is about time the trend spread to Australian drinkers, encouraging them to explore more craft beer – especially those who find hops are not to their taste.

QUEENSLAND RE-THINKS LOCKOUT THE Queensland government has backed away from some of its proposed liquor legislation after a backlash against the harsh restrictions. However, according to Our Nightlife Queensland secretary, Nick Braban, the proposals have come without any meaningful consultation with industry and other community groups involved in the management of entertainment precincts across the state. “Today we have seen a convoluted statement from the government, simply rehashing a policy which has no support from varied stakeholders across the state,” says Braban. “An 11th hour deal has been done with one sector of the hospitality industry, completely ignoring pubs, live music venues, small bars and nightclubs.” Obvious flaws in the plan have also been pointed out by the Just Let It Go Foundation, a harm prevention charity in Queensland. A statement from the group says that plans will simply see more intoxicated people on the streets, which will potentially cause the issues that the laws are supposed to be preventing, namely alcohol fuelled violence. To read more about the measures and the community response head to




We chatted to Christian Millett about how he achieved a small bar vibe in new venue The Mill House and how much Aussies love moonshine. How did you come up with the concept of the venue? Our building, Tomasetti House, was originally built as a steam flour mill by the Degraves family over 150 years ago. The building and the Degraves family have such great history and so many stories to be told, so we wanted to carry this concept through the venue and pay tribute to the history. What consulting occurred before the design was agreed on? Our biggest challenge was that we wanted to create a bar, restaurant and late night entertainment venue all in the one room. We needed to create a space that was warm and welcoming for lunch and after-work drinks but also be able to transform later in the evening. For over a year, we visited venues all over Sydney, Melbourne and the US to pull inspiration and see what works and what doesn’t. We then worked closely with Humphrey and Edwards Architects who have done some amazing venues in Sydney. They made our vision come to life, even better than we had hoped. The venue has a large capacity, how are you creating the “small bar vibe” within the space? We considered splitting the venue with a small bar at the front and main room for entertainment at the rear. But we went with the open plan option, building a large

front bar and some different seating sections, each offering a unique experience. We have lower seating in the front so people can escape the crowd and enjoy the small bar vibe. If you head towards the back, there are booths where you can get cosy while still being a part of the action of the DJ or live entertainment. Then we have the cocktail and bar tables if you really want to be in the centre of things, and the chef’s table where you can just sit and take it all in – from there you can watch the bar staff whipping up cocktails, see the hustle of the guys in the kitchen, people watch and check out what’s happening on the dance floor. Why the focus on moonshine on the drinks menu? When we were looking to build the drinks menu, we knew we wanted boutique beers and original cocktails, but we needed something really different to set us apart from everyone else. We met with Artisan Handcrafted who pitched a new line of moonshine that hadn’t yet come to Australia. It just fit our venue so well – new, unique and delicious, with a nod to history. We’ve been really surprised by the response to it. Apparently, Aussies love their moonshine.

How was the food menu developed and decided upon? Given our location on Flinders Lane, the food needed to be on point. We were lucky enough to find Chef Agustin Ortega. Coming from a fine-dining background, he took his delicious flavours and techniques and turned them into something a little more relaxed and perfect for sharing. With a Peruvian heritage and years of experience working in various parts of the world, his menu incorporates the ideas he picked up along the way. 277-279 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC (03) 9662 4002



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CONTAINER BAR REOPENS ADELAIDE’S first permanent container bar has revealed its new look, officially launching to the public. Located on Hindley Street, Laneway IV is the latest addition to make its mark on Adelaide’s expanding bar scene, with the fourth season of the bar now including a unique gin garden. Laneway’s offering of 12 boutique gins paired with unique condiments includes classic gin and tonic infusions and signature cocktails making the most of both the current gin resurgence and the re-invigoration of Adelaide’s bar scene. Local architects, Studiogram, are responsible for the new look and feel of the venue, with geometric art and industrial touches creating an entirely new space for locals to relax in. Laneway IV, 121 Hindley St, Adelaide SA (08) 7071 5768

CANNED MARTINIS, ANYONE? THE team behind Porteño have unleashed their inner Italian and opened a bar-slash-bistro to cater to all of Newtown’s charcuterie, cheese and martini needs. Continental Delicatessen is the work of Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joe Valore – the dream team who created LP’s Quality Meats – and it’s a cross between a deli, a bar and a bistro, with house-cured meats, fancy cheeses and a variety of canned goods that are churned out of their onsite cannery. The latter includes the house martini – or Mar-tinny – that has been doing the social media rounds. As well as looking cool, the martinis taste great and go well with the limited (but impressive) bar menu on the ground floor. The drinks are in good hands with ex-Porteño bartender Mikey Nicolian creating the list of recognisable cocktail classics and a solid wine list. Continental Bar and Delicatessen, 210 Australia St, Newtown NSW

CUTLER & CO GETS A SISTER MARION is a wine bar which has been created as a place for drinkers to pause for a moment or even for an entire evening. The work of Andrew McConnell, it is his fourth Gertrude Street venue so far and it is designed as a sister venue to the ever popular Cutler & Co. Ostensibly it is a place for diners from the cult dinner spot to have a preor post-meal tipple, however it stands alone as a venue as well. As to be expected, the main focus is wine with bottles sourced locally and from around the globe, with small producers and interesting blends featuring. The bar menu is set to be seasonal with smaller morsels or larger items to share, catering to flexible dining arrangements – think anchovy and lemon-marinated zucchini flowers, duck heart yakitori, or braised white beans with salt cod and grilled squid. Marion Wine Bar, 51-53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, VIC, (03) 9419 6262

SWAN GETS A DUCKLING SWAN Street in Melbourne's Richmond has a new wine and cocktail bar – The Ugly Duckling. The bar is located in a 19th-century, heritage-listed building. Fitted out by Melbourne design-firm Hecker Guthrie, the space features a custom-designed marble bar with the building's original glass atrium housing a seating area. Ex-Cookie bartender Nick Selvadurai is in charge of cocktails – with the menu including classics (try the Bartenders Handshake with Jameson Select Reserve, Grand Marnier, Punt e Mes, Fernet Branca, sugar and Angostura Bitters) and seasonal tipples (such as the Bitterball Bucks with Tanqueray 10, pink grapefruit juice, Campari spheres, and Champagne). There are also more than one hundred wines in the cellar, with a good range available by the glass. The food menu includes truffle potato crisps, handmade wine-infused chocolates by Ministry of Chocolate, and cheese and charcuterie boards. The Ugly Duckling, 238 Swan St, Richmond VIC, (03) 9429 1498

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FRENCH What do classic aperitifs and deadly war weaponry have in common? Well, quite a lot if you’re talking about a particular well-known Champagne-based cocktail…

I THE FRENCH 75 GLASS: Champagne flute INGREDIENTS: • 45ml London Dry Gin • 15ml Fresh lemon juice • 8ml Sugar syrup • Champagne Method: Shake the first three ingredients and strain into a chilled glass. Top with champagne, garnish and serve. Garnish: Lemon twist

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t’s not every day that a cocktail is created to honour the work of a machine of mass destruction, however that certainly is the case when it comes to the French 75. Created in the wake of World War I, the citrus, gin and Champagne concoction honours the French-made canon de 75 modèle 1897, also known as the 75mm Howitzer. The powerful 75mm field gun was said to have been impressive in the way it could cut through a line of troops with ruthless, deadly efficiency. So, obviously it was the perfect name for a well-balanced and elegant aperitif cocktail. According to cocktail legend, the name was thought to be appropriate for the fact that the drink doesn’t look terribly dangerous – with its citrus twist, presented in a Champagne flute – but it delivers a pretty powerful kick. Something akin to being shelled by one of the aforementioned rapid-fire weapons, perhaps. While the French 75 is perhaps a less well-known Champagne cocktail than the Bellini, it is just as refreshing, a lot more deadly, and perfect for summer cocktail menus.

BORN IN THE ROARING 20S (PERHAPS) As with most classic cocktails, the origins of the French 75 are shrouded in mystery and it was probably a confluence of events that led to its creation. What we do know, is that the recipe and the name were first used together in the 1920s, though similar drinks can be tracked to before that time. While the French 75 is often regarded as the only classic to have been birthed during the Prohibition period, there are a few problems with the chronology of this version of the story. According to what cocktail history geek David Wondrich wrote for back in 2012, the history of the recipe can be traced back to Charles Dickens’ visit to Boston in 1867. According to an 1885 article about the Parker House hotel, the famed author liked to entertain the “literary lions”


of the town with “Tom gin and champagne cups”. Wondrich clarifies that a Champagne Cup is “bubbly, sugar, citrus and ice” – and with gin added you have pretty much got yourself a French 75. So, really, the “creator” of the French 75 didn’t actually make a new cocktail, they simply appropriated it and gave it a new name. However, as Wondrich points out, the only thing that matters, is that once the combination of gin, Champagne, lemon and sugar became associated with the highly symbolic weapon it gained a new cachet, with novelist Alec Waugh calling it, “the most powerful drink in the world”.

It also should be noted that the French 75 bears no small resemblance to that most classic of cocktails – the Tom Collins. Simply replace the carbonated water with Champagne and you’re in business. Indeed, according to the recipe in Harry MacElhone’s book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, a French 75 is supposed to be served in a highball glass – not the Champagne flute it is currently served in. His notation would then put weight behind the theory that an effort to make the Tom Collins, served in a highball glass, even boozier played a part in the origins of the French 75. It should also be noted that the accepted origin legend of the French 75 has it that the drink was created by MacElhone at his namesake bar – Harry’s American Bar – in Paris in the 1920s. However, as Simon Difford notes in his Cocktails: The Bartender’s Bible, MacElhone credits someone else entirely in his own, aforementioned, cocktail tome. According to the Scotsman it was invented by a bloke who went by the name Macgarry and worked at the Buck’s Club in London. And in fact, it has been noted that in MacElhone’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, the 1922 edition, a French 75 involved a combination of Calvados, gin, grenadine, and absinthe. Regardless, the recipe as we know it made an appearance in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930 and remained a popular choice with fashionable drinkers well into the 50s. There is also some confusion as to whether the original recipe was supposed to involve Cognac instead of gin, which is the case in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury. And that brings us nicely to the next point.

SO WHAT DO YOU MAKE IT WITH? The simple elegance of the French 75 is hard to argue against – which is why it is a classic if we’re totally honest – with the combination of quality dry gin, classic French Champagne, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a hint of sugar creating a killer combination. The drink is almost greater than the sum of its parts, with the ingredients complementing each other rather than one standing out above the others. That said, as mentioned previously, later variations of the French 75 recipe use Cognac instead of gin – despite some people claiming it was actually the original spirit used in the cocktail – and it is easy to see why. The Cognac adds a level of complexity to the cocktail that would not have been easy to achieve with gin back in the day. Though perhaps we could hazard that with the rich variety of gins currently available on back bars there is plenty of space to create flavour variations without subbing in Cognac. For those looking to create something even more decadent – and perhaps the Silly Season is just the right time for it – the example to follow is that of Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans. Apart from neighbouring the historic Arnaud’s French 75 bar in the French Quarter, the venue serves the classic with a choice of top shelf Champagnes, depending on the particular flavour the customer is after. Apparently the Dom Perignon 2000 offers a “toasty, warm brioche” result, the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2004 plays well with the lemon juice for “citrus layers” and the non-vintage Bourgeois-Diaz provides a more wallet friendly alternative. b&c

T R A D I T I O N A L LY U N C O N V E N T I O N A L France isn’t just a country; it’s a state of mind. An attitude, a style, a culture. Uniquely crafted from grapes, realised through ten botanicals – including the rare vine flower – G’Vine gin is the quintessential expression of unconventional thinking, from grape to glass.

For Australian distribution visit or call +61 412 610 473 Drink Responsibly

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NUMBER? Rum has slowly and steadily been breaking away from the notion that it is merely a party drink. Spiced and aged rums have added to the category's diversity and popularity, giving the drink a prestige it previously did not have. Jacob Stern chats aged rums with the experts.


ged rum is proving itself to be an interesting category in the spirit world. While it’s slowly getting the recognition that it deserves, there are still lingering misconceptions around the drink, which are negatively affecting the manner in which it is consumed. For many years, especially in Australia, it has been seen as purely a mixer – a drink that doesn’t offer much beyond a rum and cola. Although it is true that rum is a great addition to many cocktails, it can also offer drinkers a diverse range of dynamic and exotic flavours. Allan Shearer, CEO of island2island, distributor of Angostura rum, has noted that Australia is beginning to catch onto the aged rum trend. He has seen that “consumers are starting to recognise premium rum as an equal to cognac and whisky” – a pleasing occurrence that is great for the entire rum industry. There are varying opinions when it comes to the best age to drink rum – opinions that are

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rooted in sound understandings of rum production processes. While some spirits, such as whisky and tequila, are bound by stringent codes and regulations, rum is largely free of such constraints. This leads to a far greater range of flavours, as producers have more freedom in the production process, and the choices they make when ageing and barreling.

YOUNG, OLD & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN Rums are widely considered to be on the sweeter end of the spirit spectrum, which makes sense, considering sugar cane juices are integral to their production. That doesn’t mean that dryer, less sweet rums do not exist on the market – nor does it mean these drinks are of a lower quality or repute. For John Georges, Master Distiller at Angostura, the equation is quite simple, “if you know how to ferment, distil and age cane sugar, then all of nature’s flavours are available”.

Rums are often produced in warmer climates such as the Caribbean and South America. The increased temperatures mean more liquid is lost to evaporation, or the ‘angels share’, but it also means that products mature more quickly and are ready to drink sooner. The loose restrictions on rum production has also resulted in cheaper labour and production costs, as many distillers opt to employ whatever capital is easily available to them. This trickles down to consumers and means that there are many quality aged rums available at a reasonable price. It is the range of flavours that has led aged rum from strength to strength in recent times, as producers become more experimental with their products. Dre Walter, Bar Manager at Lobo Plantation, says that he has “seen a move towards ageing rums in different barrels such as port, sherry and other wine varietals” – a move that has ushered in a smorgasbord of new flavours and colourings. Rums these days can offer the


RETHINKING RUM COCKTAILS MAPLE OLD FASHIONED Usually made with bourbon, this is the perfect cocktail to draw out the sweeter notes of your aged rum. The maple syrup captures those honey textures, and is perfect for any occasion. THE RUM PUNCH All good cocktails have a poem right? 'One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak' - lime juice, sugar syrup and aged rum. This is a steady combination for those lazy afternoons, keep it simple and enjoy. DAIQUIRI Dre from Lobo Plantation suggests that most rums work with this classic cocktail. He adds that "a splash of Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum to any daiquiri can make it pop". MANHATTAN This one is all about harmonious flavours. Chocolate and tobacco, honey and cinnamon, the choice of aged rum dictates the final taste. Go sweet or go dry, it should work in the Manhattan. A little bit of tinkering should get you a great, personalised, result. EL PRESIDENTE What screams rum more than Havana. Cuba and rum go hand in hand, much like this cocktail and every good bar list. Vermouth, grenadine and dry curaçao, complement most aged rums nicely – serve chilled on a steamy tropical night.

traditionally sweet notes of honey and caramel, yet can also steer into the territory of tropical fruits and tobacco – such is the multiplicity of the production process.

HOW OLD IS OLD? The big question, though, is does age matter? We all know older whiskies carry a greater prestige and a greater price tag; can the same be said for rums? The general consensus is no, rums are an entirely different spirit, and thus age uniquely. Where 12 years might be the earliest one would consider drinking some whiskies, it is at this age that many rums are in their prime. For Walter, rums get sweeter as they age, so he prefers “rums between 12 and 15 years of age as a maximum, as once they start getting towards the 21 and 25 year mark, they are almost too sweet” for his liking. That is not to say great old rums do not exist. Lobo Plantation offers an 80-yearold drop on the menu, and Walter agrees that once rums hit the 30-year mark they can offer a “luxurious woody characteristic” that the younger blends often lack. It is clearly a case of preference, an excuse to sample a good range of market offerings. Walter opines that younger rums “have a bit of spice to them, as they haven't had as much time to mellow and incorporate the flavours of the wood”. Ultimately it comes down to palate, regardless, there is a rum for all. Shearer, explains that “once consumers understand how ageing improves the depth flavour complexity of the rum, they more readily seek out and adopt” premium drinks into their








lifestyles. This expands the market and improves the image of rum, placing it alongside other spirits in terms of status and approval.

AUSTRALIA & RUM While the global aged rum picture is quite rosy, there are some suggestions that Australia still has plenty of catching up to do. In Walter’s mind “Australia should be more prominent on a world stage, but up until recent years it has been the laughing stock of the rum world”. He is concerned that the nation has a reputation for making bad rum, a reputation that needs fixing. Shearer thinks that once the Australian public becomes more aware of what rum has to offer, they will become more discerning drinkers and push Australian producers towards new frontiers. He admits that “as an aged, premium rum, Angostura is more niche in Australia at the moment”, but points out that it is experiencing strong growth, a great sign for the industry. Walter, despite his concerns, has seen improvements in recent years, acknowledging that Australian rum stalwarts Bundy and Beenleigh are “moving forward and producing some Australian rum that we all should be proud of”. Aged rum is undoubtedly on the up. That it is not shackled by regulation and history gives it potential that is close to limitless, especially with the flavour and production technologies of the modern day. Once rum’s old stigmas have been shaken for good it will see greater growth, and establish itself further in the minds of discerning Australian drinkers. b&c

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GINGERELLA GINGER ALE This ginger ale’s clean crisp and fiery kick comes from a unique blend of Fairtrade organic ginger, lemon, Fairtrade organic vanilla from Sri Lanka and sugar from India – and the taste of justice. The Forest Garden Growers cooperative is made up of 130 small family farmers who grow a variety tropical spices and fruit. The ginger is grown in the central and Uva provinces in Sri Lanka, without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers using traditional farming techniques. Distributed by: Karma Cola 0431 553 936

WILLIE THE BOATMAN OLD SALTY GOSE 5.0% ABV An old German beer style from Leipzig, Gose is an unfiltered wheat beer made with 50-60 per cent malted wheat, which provides a refreshing crispness and tang. This Gose has a low hop bitterness and is slightly sour and salty – yes, it is supposed to be salty – with honey and malt notes. With a sweet nose and some mineral notes, this mildly carbonated beer is perfect summer drinking with its refreshing flavour and light mouthfeel. Serve with green apple marshmallows on the side. Distributed by: Willie The Boatman 0413 514 026

TEMPLE NEW WORLD ORDER AMERICAN STOUT 6.5% ABV It’s everything you could want in an American Stout. It’s blacker than the night and has a dense, fluffy and creamy head with an aroma of molasses, tobacco and fresh berries. It has a full bodied palate with roasted malt and coffee notes, followed by the distinctive spicy, and earthy citrus flavours from the American hops added in the whirlpool. Distributed by: Temple Brewing (03) 9380 8999

4 PINES WEST COAST RED RYE IPA 7.3% ABV Rye’s popularity in distilling bourbon conjures up images of banjo wielding rednecks straight out of Deliverance. Fortunately this beer couldn’t be further from that disturbing scene. This 65 IBU India pale ale is, according to the brewery, more of a cool Californian breeze straight off the north Pacific, this bold but adorable love child of California dreaming and pet sounds showcases a harmonious balance of grapefruit hop character, candy-like sweetness and high-alcohol warmth. Distributed by: 4 Pines (02) 9976 2300

CUVÉE ‘R’ DE VEUVE FOURNY EXTRA BRUT 12.0% ABV Passionate about their land which has been cultivated by their ancestors since 1856, the Fourny family produce Champagnes from grapes grown in the premier crus of Vertus, a village located in the south of the prestigious Cote des Blancs. The immaculate fruit is gently pressed and fermented in small oak casks. As the juices are transformed into wines, they rest quietly in the underground chalk cellars until the following spring. The wines undergo ‘battonage’ or lees stirring to encourage the lees to release some of their lovely aromatics. The result is opulent, complex, creamy, and terrific with food. Distributed by: De Bortoli Wines (02) 6966 0100

MATUA SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 13.5% ABV This 2012 Single Vineyard Chardonnay comes from the Matua Marlborough block in the heart of the Wairau Valley. This is a vineyard that has been nurtured carefully. The fruit was hand harvested then whole bunch pressed directly into barrel. Using wild yeast fermentation the high quality juice went through a slow ferment. Aged for 10 months in a mix of old and new French barriques, the lees were stirred every two weeks to add texture and richness. Distributed by: Treasury Wine Estates (03) 8533 3000

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With the Gin Palace in Melbourne celebrating its 18th birthday this November we chatted with Ben Luzz about how the industry has changed and the benefits of truly investing in your staff.


lot has changed in the 18 years since Gin Palace opened its doors with just 30 gins on the back bar in 1997. Apart from the fact there are now around 250 gins on that same back bar the venue has lived on through a multitude of changes in legislation, drinking habits and the cocktail culture revolution. “There were no bars, there was no laneway culture in Melbourne, no alfresco dining or drinking either – everyone just drank in dark

pubs,” says Luzz. “And gin was so naff. Vodka was king and gin was that thing that your grandma drank.” Despite there being a multitude of reasons why it should not have worked, the iconic venue flourished. “It was going against the grain a bit,” he says. “But it opened with a bang and was full of people drinking martinis and Champagne until three o’clock in the morning. Every night.”


Luzz says the drinking culture of the day was still deep in a 1980s hangover with Long Island Ice Teas and Cosmos and Grasshoppers the order of the day. “The cocktail culture hadn’t found its feet and drinking martinis was still pretty foreign,” he says. “Now we’ve found that our gin and tonic menu, just the really basic classic, is going through the roof.” Each gin and tonic served in Spanishstyle stemmed glasses – that greatly resemble goldfish bowls – and every gin is paired with a specific tonic and a range of botanical garnishes to enhance the experience. “We brought in the menu two or three years ago,” says Luzz. “We had been suggesting different tonics to customers for a while. To get them thinking about the different brands – so then we had people starting to come in and start asking for an American gin with Fever-Tree tonic for example.” Until seven years ago, Gin Palace had forgone the traditional idea of a cocktail menu, instead sticking to a list of seven martinis, however it was time for a change. “We start talking to our local fruiter – who has been doing our fruit and veg for 18 years – and he is telling us what is in season, what is coming up, what is going to be good. So then we just start tinkering around. It’s fairly hands on.” While Luzz has stepped away from cocktail creation duties at the venue he is proud of the fact that the seasonal cocktail menu is a collaboration between the managers and the staff. “We’re a socialist regime rather than a dictatorship,” he says.

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MAINTAIN THE (CUSTOMER SERVICE) RAGE While things haven’t always been rosy for Gin Palace, Luzz maintains that staying true to your product and maintaining its quality throughout the troughs is vital to the longevity of a venue. “It’s about having a really great whole product,” he says. “For us it is providing really good customer service.” Luzz believes that while having knowledgeable staff is vital, it is more important to have staff focused on creating a great experience for customers. “It’s about creating an atmosphere that people want to leave their couch for,” he says. “One that they want to put their iPhone down for, and want to sit there and engage with people and enjoy themselves in an environment that is very comfortable and that is open late where they can have really great service from happy, smiling staff who are very knowledgeable. That’s the nuts and bolts of it.” One of the most common issues with venues is deciding how to face a downturn in trade – for Gin Place it was brought on by the combination Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the implementing of laws banning smoking indoors. “Vernon [Chalker] said ‘it needs help’,” says Luzz. “So I just sort of came back and reminded everybody of the history of Gin Palace and what it was about, because I think it had lost its way a bit. And there were still people out there with money after the GFC and lots of places didn’t have smoking areas, so it was about getting the guys to refocus on customer service, on the product, on the history and just making sure that every person who walked through that door just had the best time.” And that had just the effect Luzz and business partner Chalker were after – the venue was reinvigorated without losing the original vision of the venue in a panicked effort to become relevant again. “We had a bartender, who is around six foot six, and a really big personality with it, she was on the door every Friday and Saturday and every person who came in the door she would make sure they came in with a big smile on their face,” says Luzz. “It was just about making sure that everyone – from the moment they walked in, to the moment they walked out – had a really memorable experience. And we just clawed our way back.”

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INVEST IN YOUR STAFF In an industry that has so many different facets in a job description it can be difficult to find staff that mesh well with the ethos of your particular venue, and that is something that is true for Gin Palace. Though they must be doing something right – Trish Brew is the current manager of Gin Palace and she has been there for six years. Her predecessor was there for seven and a half. “At a minimum our staff stay for maybe two years,” says Luzz. “It’s almost unheard of in hospitality. It’s incredibly hard to find great staff. When we find someone amazing in all of those ways we hold onto them and do everything we can to facilitate their staying with us.” Clearly what is going to work in terms of staffing in one venue, isn’t going to work in another due to different styles of bars and service, which is something that Luzz freely acknowledges. And while it may seem an impossible task to find someone with the requisite skills and personality to suit a particular venue, Luzz stresses that at Gin Palace, they are willing to wait it out. “Sometimes we’ll wait for months, short staffed, because we don’t want to just take the next person who walks in through the door,” he says. “We want to find that right person who fits with the venue and fits with the staff.” So how does the venue keep their staff once they find the Holy Grail? In short, they do everything they can to help them build their skills and their careers – from constant training to educational trips, to amazing group holidays. “Trish flew to Laverstoke Mill to see the Bombay distillery which was pretty amazing,” he says. “We have a three day staff party – it’s the only time we ever close the bar – and we go away and stay in a three storey mansion with a pool and a spa and alcohol and food. It’s great.”

MAKING THE INTANGIBLE A REALITY “There’s a lot of simple things that people tend to forget. Just the real basics – lighting, music and temperature. Keep it a warm environment physically but also have that intangible warmth that comes from the staff and finding the right people. We always focus on trying to find the right people – old school hospitality focused staff that are warm and welcoming. We want people who will sit down with you on the couch for 20 minutes and talk about gin or talk about you. So there is a tangible warmth and an intangible warmth and I think a lot of venues forget that – the intangible.”

HIS BEST ADVICE: “Spend a lot of time formulating a great idea. Don’t just jump off the cliff with your first idea. If you’re a young bartender start thinking of ideas. I’ve got pages and pages of ideas that I look at now and think ‘god that is so stupid’ but you need to go through those processes and throw out ideas or realise that someone else has already done your great idea. And don’t be afraid to go against the grain – buck the trend. That’s what gets attention.” b&c




GLASS: Coupette INGREDIENTS: • 50ml Angostura 7 Year Old rum • 30ml Fresh orange juice • 15ml H by Hine VSOP Cognac • 15ml Orgeat syrup • 10ml Fresh lime juice • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters






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METHOD: 1. Measure rum and add to the shaker. 2. Squeeze orange juice and add to the shaker. 3. Add Cognac to the shaker. 4. Add orgeat to the shaker. 5. Squeeze lime juice and add to the shaker. 6. Dash in the bitters. 7. Add ice. 8. Shake well. 9. Fine strain into a chilled coupette. 10. Garnish by floating a flower on top. 11. Serve. GARNISH: Frangipani flower According to Jimmy Irvine: The Scorpion originated from a small bar in Honolulu simply called “The Hut”. The drink's original recipe has been adapted and interpreted by bartenders over time, whether it be served long, down or as the famous communal punchbowl serve: The Scorpion Bowl. This drink was most famously adapted by Trader Vic and even he had multiple recipes, which means there are too many versions to mention that have been published over time. However, we can give a nod to one of the original tiki masters, this recipe appears in Victor Bergeron’s Trader Vic’s Cocktails which was published around 1946.

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This is a unique release of “huge batch”, “not craft or artisanal” vodka. Described as “flying in the face of small-batch, hand-made, artisanal spirits, Schitski is made in huge uncaring batches, around the same time every morning”. “The vodka created for bartenders who hate vodka”, it comes with its very own pre-fabricated tale: “Legend has it that Schitski vodka comes from the bowels of Eastern Europe in the now defunct Eastern European kingdom of Schitberg. Once lorded over by King Schit, sadly this kingdom no longer exists. But his legacy lives on in Schitski vodka. Mass-produced with the purest effluent from the River Schit, and flush-distilled once (or twice if the first flush is unsuccessful), Schitski vodka brings back pungent memories for the descendants of King Schit (the little Schits) who are fond of saying that their vodka smells like Schit and tastes like Schit.” DISTRIBUTED BY: VANGAURD LUXURY DRINKS 1300 DRINKS

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When the excavations at the historical Shene Estate in Tasmania began, the conservators found hundreds of Dutch case gin bottles, literally lying where they had been cast off the balcony by the landed gentry back in the day. Poltergeist Gin is not only created with a blend of local botanicals (pepper berry and lemon myrtle) and traditional botanicals – in the London Dry style – but also comes in two versions, “a true spirit” (filtered) and “unfiltered”. While it is ostensibly the same gin, the two versions have very distinct flavours and the unfiltered version – designed to be sipped over ice – packs a bit more of a punch. DISTRIBUTED BY: SHENE ESTATE 0408 020 007


Blind Tiger Organic Gin is distilled in small batches and is a “complex, yet elegant and aromatic” gin. The company has sought out only the most sustainable organic

botanicals for use in Blind Tiger Organic Gin, with juniper berries, coriander root, angelica root and summer savory all featuring in the botanical profile. The coriander root enhances the citrus characters of the juniper and imparts a subtle earthy character while the angelica root adds an aromatic musk note. The summer savory herb completes the botanical mix and contributes a subtle “mint-like, peppery character”. The botanicals are distilled in a traditional small gin still to create an aromatic infusion that is blended with an organic wheat spirit. DISTRIBUTED BY:


This certified organic 100 per cent rye malt spirit is a collaboration between Frédéric Revol, owner and master distiller at Domaine des Hautes Glaces, and Xavier Padovani – director of Experimental Cocktail Club. The distillery is located in the French Alps on an organic farm, and

uses no cold filtration or additives. The nose is fruity and delicious, with plum, pear and lychee, alongside herbal notes of juniper and mimosa. The malted rye rolls sweetly on the palate and has dried fruit (almond, cashew nuts), pink berries, pepper and cloves. The finish has more powerful spice with cayenne pepper, nutmeg, gentian and liquorice present. DISTRIBUTED BY: CERBACO (03) 9646 8022


After six years resting in barrels, the next Tasmanian single malt whisky has launched onto the market today with an extremely limited run of bottles. The work of distiller Damian Mackey, Mackey Whisky is the state’s only Irish-style whisky currently in production. The unpeated and triple distilled spirit was made by traditional methods in a copper pot still before being laid down in 100 litre port cask barrels. According to the distillery, the triple distillation produces a


distinctive smoothness not found in other whiskies, and is also a nod to Damian’s Irish heritage. DISTRIBUTED BY: MACKEY WWW. MACKEYSDISTILLERY.COM.AU

MICHTER’S 6 AMERICAN BOURBON Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon (aka toasted bourbon) is finished in a second barrel for three to four weeks. The secondary aging barrels have been toasted but not charred. The toasted bourbon has a nuttier flavour with notes of marshmallow and a campfire smokiness. Conversely the Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye is a Kentucky Straight Rye, that is bottled at barrel strength – 54% ABV in Australia. Michter's believes this yields a richer, smoother product with butterscotch and cinnamon and a hint of cherries featuring on the nose, and a dry oaky spice on the finish. DISTRIBUTED BY: VANGAURD LUXURY DRINKS 1300 DRINKS



Described by whisky connoisseurs as “The Beast of Dufftown” for its rich and powerful flavours, Mortlach is launching a new variety, the Mortlach Rare Old. Complex and bold, this whisky is superbly structured and well-balanced. Incorporating fruit and floral notes, the Mortlach Rare Old is a balance of sweetness and dryness. Powerful and unique in flavour, Mortlach is a ‘best-kept secret’ among those in the whisky know, with previous limited quantities on-sale being snapped up quickly by enthusiasts. Now, after decades being used by blenders in some of the world’s finest Scotch whisky blends, Mortlach is being given time to shine as a luxurious malt in its own right. DISTRIBUTED BY: DIAGEO (02) 9126 7000


One of the world’s only gin based on agave. It is made from 100 per


cent Espadn Agave, which lends it a smooth, velvety texture to the nine classic gin botanicals. Fermented in small wooden vats and triple distilled in copper-pot alembics, some of the ingredients are macerated in the copper still pot, while others are hung in a large tea-bag in the steam head, depending on the volatility. With aromas of juniper, coriander, and fennel, it has a balanced mid palate of smoky Espadn agave complemented by flavours of orange, angelica and nutmeg with an anise finish. DISTRIBUTED BY: QUITTIN' TIME (02) 9525 8668

JP WISER’S LOT 40 9 SINGLE COPPER POT RYE WHISKY Column and pot distilled and 100 per cent rye. It has the spiciness and fruity-floral nature and is aged five to nine years in virgin oak barrels. Master distiller Don Livermore says that bartenders love it because there is a spice to it for cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. The



distillery believes that Canadian whisky as “the most innovative whisky category there is” as there are fewer rules. DISTRIBUTED BY: PERNOD RICARD (02) 8874 8222


To celebrate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, Jack Daniel’s has released Sinatra Century. The rarest limited edition yet, the 100 proof whiskey has been exclusively matured in 100 especially hand-crafted ‘Sinatra’ barrels. Deep grooves are cut into the interior of the barrels to expose the whiskey to the toasted oak which lies beneath the char line. It is the unique combination of both charred and toasted oak that results in unprecedented bold flavours and smoothness. Each bottle comes with a unique and previously unreleased recording of Sinatra playing live at the Sands Hotel in 1996. DISTRIBUTED BY: BROWN-FORMAN (02) 9764 8777

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solid knowledge of liqueurs is never going to go astray in a bartending repertoire. They’re building blocks for bringing a range of flavour and texture aspects to any cocktail. In regular terms a liqueur is a distilled spirit that’s been flavoured with fruit, herbs and spices, cream and many others but as Anthony Edge, business development manager at Artisan Handcrafted, points out they can be the little element that can add a whole different flavour to a signature drink. “Liqueurs bring substance and flavour,” he says. “They are the wheels of a good cocktail. When using liqueurs you can be super creative in terms of structure, balance and you can bring a whole new concept to an otherwise standard drink.” However, apart from just being able to pick and choose from the flavours, there are a few other aspects to liqueurs that it is key to have a handle on, to take your cocktail making to the next level. As Natalie Ng, from Sweet & Chilli, points out, regardless of whether or not two liqueurs may have the same base flavour, every brand’s version differs. “The sugar content is slightly different, and how they make it is different as well,” she says. “It’s really important to familiarise yourself with the brands and not just the flavours that are available to you.” While shrubs and vinegars have been quite popular recently, liqueurs have always been the traditional method available to bartenders when it comes to adding balance to a drink. “If you’re looking at your balance of flavours on your palate, it’s obviously things like sweet, sour, bitter, strong, and weak,” says Ng. “So your sweet element can either be cordial or sugar syrup, or you can go the traditional route and use a liqueur. They make great balancing agents for your cocktails.”

d i il qu A likely

There are a huge number of liqueurs on the market, we look at why you need to be across the range and how you can up-skill yourself behind the bar.

THAT SUGAR TREND There is a bit of push and pull in the industry right now with the rise of calorie counts on cocktails and every second person trying to cut down on refined sugar. Obviously the alternative is flavoured spirits – like vodkas – that have the benefit of bringing flavour without the added calories. But there is always some debate about how effective they are – and given their higher alcohol content, they introduce more calories regardless. “We’re trying to stay away from sugar laden drinks these days but a liqueur is quite a good way to balance a cocktail and bring an element or flavour to the drink that you’re trying to create,” says Ng. Here is where the knowledge of different sugar levels in different brands comes into play – if you know them you can create balance with lower and higher sugar ingredients.

EAT LOCAL AND FRESH The “locavore” trend has hit cocktail making in a big way with seasonal ingredients, however, not everyone works in a bar down the road from a mango farm in the tropics, or near a blood orange orchard in the cooler climates. That means that even some seasonal ingredients can be out of range – unless you want to charge $50 for a cocktail. Liqueurs should of course be top of mind in these instances. “Liqueurs are a really good way to bring in non-seasonal flavours,” says Ng. “Say if blood oranges are not in season but you really want to use the flavour, Solerno Blood Orange is on the market for you. It’s a really good way of accessing things that won’t necessarily be in season.”

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TAKE CONTROL As Ng points out, good bartenders like to control as much as possible about their drinks – which means getting into the nitty gritty. An easy way to do so – and one that is quite common in the industry – is creating your own liqueurs. There are a myriad of benefits beyond the ability to list something as “house made� on the menu. “If you’re making your own you can control the sugar to alcohol ratio, which is quite important,� says Ng. “And that way you get to put your own spin on it as well. Bartenders, especially in Australia, can get creative. We have so many native ingredients that you can’t find anywhere else in the world – Tambourine Mountain Distillery used to do every flavour you can think of.� Ng goes on to list some of the ingredients she has seen out in the trade and that she herself likes to use, including lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, wattle seeds and more. “It’s so awesome to see people using those ingredients,� she says. As an added bonus, the alcohol and the sugar function as preserving agents, making sure that your new ingredients will last a long time on your back bar. “It goes back to the drinks trend where everyone is trying to be very green and avoid wastage and this is a great way of keeping something for a long time,� says Ng. “As a liqueur it’s a great way to add sweetness and flavour into a drink without wasting anything or being stuck without something out of season.�

THINK OUTSIDE THE SHAKER While adding cocktails to a recipe is all well and good, there is more than one way to skin a cat, metaphorically speaking. Edge’s suggestion involves busting out that old ice cream maker of your grandmothers that is stashed in the garage. “A little known fact about liqueurs is that they are fun to make sorbets and ice creams out of,� he says. These can then be floated in cocktails, or even frozen to spoons and served alongside a drink to add some theatre to your creations.

GET EDUCATED EDGE: Read and learn about the liqueur elements in what makes it unique compared to the rest. Then, experiment. Play around and be adventurous, it’s trial and error that helps you learn. Be proactive and attend training classes, most suppliers hold regular events. NG: To learn more about liqueurs Difford’s Guide is a great starting place for everyone – it’s online and very accessible. There are also plenty of books out there on liqueurs that you can definitely read. And if you ever wanted to know how to make them or even the science behind how they’re made there is a book called Liquid Intelligence that will tell you every way to infuse flavour into a drink, whether it is just making something super sugary or a full liqueur – it has all the ratios and instructions in it. b&c

The Best Cream Liqueur Ever!

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WORLD Why enter World Class? There are plenty of great reasons – and they’re not even all about winning. We chat to four previous winners about why you need to be involved in 2016.


anging out in an enormous mansion in one of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs has a certain glam factor to it – even if you have been up since five in the morning to get your hair done – and previous Australian World Class winners Jack Sotti, Tim Philips, Luke Ashton, and Charlie Ainsbury are making the most of the sunshine. These bartending elite are happy to chat about how they think World Class has impacted their careers for the better, all while they’re sipping virgin cocktails, changing outfits and getting photos shot. For Philips, co-owner of the inimitable Bulletin Place and now Dead Ringer, winning the Global World Class Final 2012 was about so much more than the fiscal reward he reaped at the time.

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“At 24-25 I was still undecided as to whether it was an industry that I wanted to stay in for the rest of my life,” he says. “The amount of training that goes into bartenders – especially in emerging markets like Indonesia – in these competitions shows them that it is an industry that they can be in for life. And it also raises the bar in established countries – like the UK and Australia – so bartenders are having to get better and better as the standard gets higher and higher.” Philips believes it drives professionalism in the industry that goes far beyond simply crowning a single winner. “It helps 15,000 bartenders every year realise that this industry is for real. It creates this incredible community that gets bigger and bigger every year,” he says.

On a more personal level, the 2015 Australian final winner – and potential re-entrant – Jack Sotti says that he never realised what he was creatively capable of, until he was pushed to his limits. “You don’t really push yourself. I mean you write menus and stuff, but until you get very specific briefs and you’re in a competitive environment and you have to pull everything out of the bag,” he says. “You never realise what you can do, until you do it.”

GET IN THERE… AGAIN This year the Australian competition could have a few familiar faces fronting up to try their hand at World Class one last time, with Charlie Ainsbury, the 2014 Australian winner and co-owner of This Must Be The Place, throwing his hat in the ring.


“I essentially just wanted to give it one more shot because I think I’m going to regret it if I don’t,” he says. “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’.” Ainsbury says that there is a lot to be gained from re-entering the competition, even before you might make it to the Global Final. “People can prepare you so much for it but you really have no idea what to expect. And once you get there, as much as you’ve heard about it, it’s completely different and your nerves are on fire,” he says, “Then you see the judges for the first time, if you’ve never met them before, it’s so daunting and you’re scared. But then you build a rapport and you discover that they’re just people.” He reasons that having knowledge of the competition gives previous competitors a bit of an advantage because they are more familiar with what the judges want and what they’re looking for. Smart bartenders will take advantage of that.

WHY ENTER? For those who haven’t trod the boards before, what exactly is it that World Class offers? According to Luke Ashton, 2013 Australian winner and co-owner of This Must Be The Place, plenty. “World Class is by far and away the thing that has propelled me forward the most in my bartending career,” he says. “Irrespective of winning the actual competition the process you go through and being creative, challenging yourself, and finding new techniques – it all feeds into other aspects of your bartending career as well and just building that network of people is invaluable. It’s just not something you can get outside of that competition environment.” For Sotti, it’s also about growing a network that can be drawn upon. “I met people from Sydney and Brisbane – places I don’t often mingle. So to get to that point and have 25 bartenders all under one roof is really fantastic,” he says. “Right up until they announced my name I wasn’t bothered either way, I was just excited to be there.” While the competition is notoriously tough, according to Philips, that should be seen as an advantage rather than a barrier to entry. “It’s shown itself to be the world’s biggest cocktail competition, also probably the world’s hardest to win,” says Philips. “It gets harder and harder every year. All those things can be quite off putting on paper for people looking to enter, but it also has the highest reward. So the esteem and the fanfare that comes around winning it is amazing and it can change your life.”

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT According to Philips, the winner is not necessarily the person who is the best bartender on paper.




“That might be controversial but I would say that while a certain amount of talent has to be had, the bartenders who put in the most work are the bartenders that end up doing well.” Philips explains that paying close attention to every aspect of what you’re being judged on, and maximising potential points in each category is the key to winning. That and knowing your serves inside out. “Make sure that your concept, your drink and your ideas are so roundly polished and practiced that it becomes second nature to make that

drink and make that spiel, as it would any of the cocktails that are on your bar list,” he says. “That’s kind of the mistake that a lot of bartenders make – just through motor memory we get so good at making classic cocktails and cocktails from our lists night in, night out that we don’t put the same amount of practice into our competition drinks. So it seems very foreign going up onto a stage and making this drink, making this serve, because you just haven’t punched 50 of them out before.” From the judges’ side, Ashton says that common mistakes they see are bartenders not reading the brief properly, or not preparing sufficiently when it comes to their chat. “The best place to start is just to be really detail focused because if you’re going to do well in the competition you need that high level of attentiveness,” he says. “We always talk about the fact that it is 50 per cent what is in the glass and 50 per cent is what goes into the thought process and how it is conveyed to us. If we’re anticipating a drink being delicious based on the thought process behind it, well we’re in a better place than when we’re presented with bad chat then being presented with a great drink.” Ashton says the judges are more interested in sincere ideas rather than seeing someone blindly following trends or using techniques that are solely designed to impress. “The more personal you can make a cocktail and the more of a story there is behind it, the much more interested we are in tasting the drink and getting excited about it,” he says.

WHAT DO YOU GET IF YOU DON’T WIN? In short, you get invaluable skills that will translate directly into your day to day career – skills that are tough to develop outside of a competition arena. According to World Class ambassador Chris Hysted, the challenges are set up to keep the competitors at the forefront of new developments. “We try to set up a lot of the challenges to match current consumer trends,” he says. “All are designed to not only equip bartenders with a set of new skills but also ensure the cocktails they are challenged with are of interest to their customers.” Additionally, by upskilling competitors, World Class Australia ends up with the strongest competitor to represent the country at the Global Final. “Over the course of the year we try and test them on every aspect of what they do – so it’s not just about speed or creativity or food matching,” says Hysted. “As it goes on it might be about celebrating a certain occasion and that then will culminate in the competitors having what it takes to succeed on a global level.” b&c Entries for World Class 2016 are now open. Visit

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What makes a

GREAT BAR? We gathered some of the best in the industry – from bar group operators to managers to brand ambassadors to a bar journo and a PR expert – to find out what exactly goes into pulling all the threads together into a cohesive and successful bar operation.


• • • • • •

Emily Lloyd-Tait, Time Out Bars Editor for Sydney Meg Smith, SideCar Toby Hilton, Swillhouse Michael Nouri, The Exchange Jeremy Shipley, Solotel Russ McFadden, Bar Manager of EDV Sydney

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STAFF MN Your staff have to be so multitalented. People don’t get the engagement factor. They don’t understand the observation – a lot of people still have their heads down at a bar because they think they’re just bartenders. They forget that they’re everything else as well. It comes down to being able to read a guest, being able to engage with them and initiate a conversation and take the lead.


THE X FACTOR MN The thing for me that sets it off is the initial impact – there’s times when I’ve travelled back home to Lebanon and walked into a place that is literally at the bottom of a cliff, with some rickety tables that are barely standing and they’re serving stuff out of watermelons. Not anything of any major quality but everything about what they have done is completely genuine, it’s completely sincere. You can feel insincerity when you walk into a venue that is trying too hard. TH It’s more of a feeling than looking at a place and thinking ‘Oh they’ve got it right'. It’s a feeling when you walk in. and everything aligns – the music, the ambience, the lighting, the people, the door staff. JS You can spend millions on a fit out but if you don’t get the basic elements right – even a greeting from the bartenders – it’s not going to work. That whole familiarity thing is really important. There was this famous restaurant reviewer and everyone always asked him what his favourite place was and he said that it’s not the Rockpools or the Tetsuyas, it’s a little bistro where he knows what he’s going to get and he has a favourite dish and there was a couple of guys behind the bar who would come and say g’day. It’s one of those things that can really make that experience – just that little bit of familiarity.




MN I’ve always loved the Time Out Neighbourhood Bar award. Because that means that it is an extension of your living room and there is something to be said about that, it’s really cool. There are so many bars that can fit into that category and that’s a wonderful accolade to be recognised for. ELT It changes the standard as well. You’ve got bars like Bulletin setting the yardstick at a super high level, but a Summer Hill wine bar isn’t trying to be Bulletin, however they are still absolutely rammed every night because it’s a place in Summer Hill where you can drink wine, eat cheese and have a nice time. That is all they aspire to and they do that well. It’s spot on.

TH It’s a fine line as well, because you have a bar team and you want them to create energy and you want them to have fun but you want them to include people on the other side as well. Sometimes it goes too far the other way and there is a lot of energy behind the bar but they’re not paying enough attention to the people on the other side of the bar. If you go into a bar and you’re not getting acknowledged because they’re having too much fun, straight away you just think “Nah”. RM You need that balance as well with the team. There is no point in hiring a whole team of your super nerdy mixologists or out-there heavily tattooed and bearded guys. You need to have a good balance. It’s fine to have someone that’s really focused and a little bit nerdy and possibly slightly ignorant and it’s good to have an out-there person, even if they’re not that skilled. ELT From a customer point of view, the energy level point is a good one because getting it right for the right time is tough. There are some big venues but you can walk in when it’s quiet and you’re excited because you have it to yourself and you know you’re going to have a good time – you don’t need it to be rammed to the gills. But then some venues you walk in and you think “oh no – are you open? Should I leave?”

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KEEPING CUSTOMERS TH It’s tough. You have to keep your standards high and what you open with, your standards with your staff, and you get that right and you’re busy for the first little while. If you keep doing what you’re doing and keep the bar high and keep the product good and keep evolving and changing – if you can do that, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stay busy.

MENU JS In my opinion, long gone are the days of just making a really nice cocktail. There are so many more elements to it. How many people are on their phones doing this and that on social media – it’s got to look good, it’s got to be nice glassware, it’s got to have engaging colours or garnish. What EDV does is a great example – beautiful glassware, amazing garnishes and amazing tasting drinks. That whole camera thing is now a big part of what we do. MN More and more people are educated now so venues can risk sounding condescending by trying too hard and treating their customers as infantile. Any education that needs to happen should be at the bar, not at the book. The book is there to entice and engage.

JS You need to be true to yourself. Some people read reviews and that is the be all and end all. Bloggers can come out with these broad statements that are potentially read by hundreds of people. Then people, bartenders and bar owners, read that and think, “Oh my god I’ve got to change that”. But you’ll end up deviating from what you set out to do in the first place and I think it’s a really important thing to not worry about. MN People make panicked decisions. The second something slows down for a day, they freak. And it’s usually people who are new to it. So they’ve got a generally good concept – it’s never going to be perfect from the get go – but if you make a rash decision based on “Oh my god it’s quiet this week”, you’re screwed. There is no consistency and no trust. ELT That’s the fun part – when the gloss has gone off it and it’s gone into the long service arena. We go back and we re-review it and we try to tell everyone “This is still awesome”. And often the response is “But this one is shiny” and we’re saying “But this one is good and I feel like that is a better thing”. TH When you look back to Bayswater, I think the reason they were so successful for so many years was because they were consistent. You knew what you were going to get: amazing service, amazing fit out and you could sit at the bar and chat to the amazing bartenders and they never really changed. They were just Bayswater and you knew what you were going to get. That’s really important.

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MS I just don’t want to spend an hour reading a menu. People want to get a drink and they want it to be simplified and they want to know what is in the drink, if there is something that is familiar to them. I think menus are really changing from when they tried to tell you how your cocktail would make you feel. “It’ll make you feel like you’re running down a country road with a five year old child with a handful of daisies”. I don’t need to know that.


TH it depends on the venue but less is definitely more these days, there is nothing more frustrating than someone coming into a venue, flicking two or three times through the menu then just kind of putting it down and saying “Just give me a bourbon and coke please”. RM At EDV we have 47 signature drinks. EDV has got that sort of different way of looking at it. Yes the menu is super extensive but it is broken down and it is about that interaction as well. We would never ever let anyone sit there and just read the menu. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. It’s about making sure that your staff are capable of guiding them – which is why we have bartenders on the floor not just floor staff. Also, there are also a whole lot of ingredients in drinks that just don’t need to be listed because people don’t know what they are and you’re going to end up with a lot of drinks that don’t move because of that. ELT With menus, there is also the need to not be a dick when someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Smart menus have multiple access points. Bulletin does the thing where they draw the glass – it’s just a little symbol but it immediately says: that’s short, that’s long. So customers can decide what they want from that. Some places do a summary at the bottom, like “refreshingly sour” – that is two key words that someone who doesn’t know what they want can latch on to and think “Cool, I’d like that”. Then the next access point is classics – people can think, well I know a little bit about those cocktails. Then you can get creative on the next tier for the people who are at that point. But those smart menus, no one feels excluded and no one feels like a dope for not knowing what the ‘rules’ are or how to conduct themselves ‘properly’.




AND TOBY HILTON RM It’s hospo 101. Too many venues that you walk into you literally have to get to the bar before someone will acknowledge you. I’ve gone to a venue where I was sat at the bar for ten minutes before anyone offered me a menu or said hello. It should be a matter of seconds – as soon as they walk through the door.

MS Then there is the element of walking into a bar and being a rabbit in the spotlight when everyone says hi all at once. Then there is over attentiveness. Once I have my drink and I’m chatting with my friend, don’t come and ask me five times if the snack you’ve given us tastes ok. ELT There is another step though, I’ve been to a few venues where you walk in and they say “Hi” and I say “Hi” and then they just stare at you awkwardly. You can tell they’ve been told to greet the guests but there is no follow up, so I’m left to say “So… do I just sit anywhere..? Ok yeah, cool”.


BACK ROOM MN Keep it out of the customers’ faces. As much as possible. One big thing for me is the attitude of the staff – I’ve been to plenty of bars that could be great but I don’t want to hear the conversation about breaks, staff times, wages, or manager mix ups – whatever. That shit should never happen in front of a customer. Ever. It’s so basic but so many places do it. RM The one thing that I hate – if you can’t sell it and you can’t make a drink with it, why can I see it? Walking in and seeing cigarettes or people’s wallets or spare till rolls stacked up – it’s not Officeworks. Also, standing within earshot of a table speaking about how hammered you were last night – don’t do that. Unfortunately a lot of this basic stuff just isn’t taught anymore. Like washing your hands every time you step back behind the bar, regardless of what you’ve been doing, because people see it. MS Cleaning gear on the bar. It’s a given that your place is clean – I don’t want to see the Spray & Wipe. And smoking outside your bar – don’t do that. If you don’t have enough pride in your venue to go away and do that somewhere else, what are you doing? TH With stock – don’t say “Oh sorry we don’t have that, Johnno forgot to order it”. Customers don’t need to know that. Just say “Haven’t got that at the moment but how about this one, it’s just the same”. Easy. In general, it’s all about having tight procedures back of house to stop your business from being clunky and keep everything running smoothly. Back of house should never affect front of house.

YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US TH I think the whole reservations and private functions thing can make you feel pretty unwelcome. When half a place is booked out when you walk in and you think, oh cool it’s not too busy but then it’s like “Oh you can’t sit there and you can’t sit there”. Being told no is the worst. You just want to go in, find yourself a seat and you’re ready to go.


RM As of very recently we’re trying to cut out reservations. It’s going to be tough to do it completely, but it’s that fine line of how do we guarantee cash coming through, but also how do we not have that situation where we’ve got five people come in and we have to tell them they can’t sit somewhere because someone else is going to sit there and you’re less important?

TO THEME OR NOT? RM It depends on how far you want to go. Whether or not it stays on trend, whether or not it stays relevant, it depends on what you do. Will it still be relevant in 10 years time, quite possibly. You have to careful with it. You have to compromise sometimes so that you are still a venue that people want to go to all the time. TH I feel like a bar needs a story. If not a theme it needs some sort of identity. What are you? And that is a theme in itself. It could be the most subtle thing ever, but every bar needs it, so to speak. It can be all different levels. As far as a real theme bar goes, the danger is to not commit to it and to not do it well. If you do it half arsed, people walk in and go “this is shit”. JS I think we all love a theme bar. But it’s not something that you go to all the time. If you do it you’ve got to be mindful that you have to stick to what you’re trying to do and not change it. If you want to be a tiki bar then be a tiki bar. Don’t change it in six months time. And if you’re going to be a 1920s bar then that is your vibe and you can’t just pull out the hip hop halfway through the night. Unless that is what you’re going for – to confuse the shit out of people. ELT People like guidelines to a degree. For theme bars in general, Love Tilly Devine is a great example. There isn’t anything really themed about the bar per se, but it fits with the story and name gives out a clue of what to expect and when you turn up you’re like “yep, this is just a room – ok, this is what we’re doing and I’m into it”. But doing almost nothing they’ve kind of formed that identity. Rather than a theme, it has an identity. MS It comes down to how the bar makes you feel – whether it is themed or not. Shady Pines is a great example. Yes it is Americana and yes whenever friends are in town I take them there because there is nothing else like it but I don’t go there because I feel like having a hoedown. It has great atmosphere.

DON’T FORGET… MS Lighting, lighting, lighting. There are a lot of places that do it right, but there are too many that don’t. If it’s too bright it is less intimate. Lighting sets the tone for everything else. And proper staff product training. Make sure everyone is across the portfolio. TH Lighting is so important. You can get everything else right, but if you don’t nail the lighting… it’s wrecked. Some people are really affected by it, they can’t relax. But also don’t make it too dark. MN Think about why you’re doing it. Really think. Because it is going to own you and every day of your life. Look past face value and at what you really want. ELT Access to the menu is really important if you don’t have anyone on the floor. If people have to stand and queue and when they get to the front and there is nothing there to guide them, they’re going to be lost and uncomfortable. It makes people feel like they don’t get the bar but also it slows your service rate down. And it’s something that I notice all the time. People umming and ahhhing at the bar – tell them what you have. RM You need staff who understand what you’re doing and why, and being able to relay that to the customer. If you only have four wines because you work closely with local producers, your staff need to be able to convey that. TH Back of house can get over-looked by first time operators just because they’re not used to it – just keeping an eye on stock and costs. They might have a really busy bar and come end of month there isn’t much money in the bank, but they’re just not keeping an eye on their costs and what they’re charging. b&c

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Authentic American by Brown-Forman As bourbon becomes more popular across the world, and new brands are introduced to the market, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester endure, due to their authenticity and character.

Created in 1870, Old Forester is the only bourbon that was continuously distilled and marketed before, during and after Prohibition. At 86 proof, Old Forester delivers a genuine bourbon experience with a rich, full flavour and smooth character, ideal for sipping neat, on the rocks, or in a classic cocktail. Brown-Forman, Old Forester’s owner since creation, is investing $US50 million globally in the brand. This includes a marketing push, the build of a new distillery on Louisville’s “Whiskey Row”, the original site of Old Forester, and last year, the release of a new series of Old Forester Whiskey Row bourbons using the original 1870’s recipe. Whilst Old Forester is predominantly a United States domestic brand, Brown-Forman is investigating opportunities to introduce the bourbon to additional key international locations. Old Forester was introduced to the United Kingdom last year with encouraging results, and has recently launched within the Australian On-Premise market.

Woodford Reserve isn’t just manufactured, it’s crafted in small batches from spirits distilled in both pot stills and column stills. No other whiskey can boast such a flavour combination. This artisanal process allows Woodford Reserve distillers to craft a spirit that fully utilises all five sources of bourbon flavour, giving Woodford Reserve its distinct taste and crisp, clean finish. This carefully crafted whiskey, with a distinct spicy character, is made from select ingredients at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Woodford County. “Following the success of cult TV shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, American whiskey is the drink everyone is talking about. It’s not just the guys who are drinking it, we’ve seen huge numbers of women enjoying it too, and as a result, whiskey is the most dominant spirit in Australia right now.” Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve, Chris Morris.


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Authentic American whiskies are more than just good spirits, they have unique histories that make each brand fascinating, and are highly mixable beyond a classic Manhattan or mint julep. As consumer awareness of what these spirits have to offer expands, it’s time to word up on what they’re all about.


here is a lot of history behind America’s unique spirits and we’re not just talking about the revolutionary war that sparked their initial popularity. Though, that probably is important as well. As the facts state, rye whiskey was the original spirit distilled in North America, when it was still a colony of the English Empire. In fact, it grew in popularity as an alternative to the all-encompassing English love of rum, turning into a symbol of defiance of Britain's imperialist rule. For the history buffs out there, George Washington himself is actually recorded as the largest producer and distributor of rye whiskey of

his time – it takes the concept of drinking your own stash to a whole new level. On the flipside of the macro history of the style, is the individual history of each brand of whiskey in the States – most of them fascinating in their own right.

THE HISTORY IS IN THE MAKING With all the talk of craft brands and small producers that have taken the industry by storm, it can be easy to forget that it was good practices and craft production that made the bigger brands the international powerhouses that they are today.

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TEAM AMERICA… EFF YEAH So why are consumers and bartenders alike beginning to search out authentically American spirits like never before? Patrick McEwan believes that people are beginning to realise that the “authenticity” of the brands shouldn’t be seen as limiting or anti-innovation. “Innovation is the very DNA of any quality American whiskey distiller as they continue, in many ways, to lead global whiskey trends,” he says. “What I love about American whiskey is its absolute lack of pretence.” Pop culture has a lot to do with it too – Tim Ryder cites TV shows Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men and even The Sopranos as instigators of the developing trend. “American Whiskey has grown in popularity over the past 10-plus years,” he says. “As consumer popularity grows, so does the level of consumption and exploration of quality, which has led to the increased awareness.” The classic cocktail revolution has also had a hand in the revival – as Daniel

Khan says, the increasingly self-aware beverage industry has only in the last decade or two begun to recognise the contributions that American spirits, namely whiskey, have made in the development of cocktail culture as we know it today. “American whiskey is hardy and woody, lending itself to a slightly sweeter finish due to American aging practices in new American oak,” says Khan. “These practices create unique products that are now recognised on an international scale for their unique qualities and flavours.” Though as James France points out, Australians have always loved bourbon. “People recognise that these spirits embody the history of cocktails, and that they carry aspirational American imagery with them,” he says. “However, Jim Beam as a brand started to surpass Scotch whisky as an entire category as far back as the 1970s and it’s only now that we’re seeing younger drinkers drift back into Scotch (single malts only). For the past 40 years, it’s been bourbon country here.”

According to Patrick McEwan, brand manager - Jack Daniel's Trademark, making an authentic whiskey isn't just about making the same whiskey year after year for a long time. “It’s more about doing so with integrity with the goal of making the very best whiskey that you can,” he says. “This is true with many great brands and distillers throughout history and why some brands have endured the test of time.” While it may be one of the most recognisable brands on the market, the brand still lives by its founding father’s motto – yes he was a real person and not a construct of a marketing team. “Jack Daniel himself lived by the motto ‘every day we make it, we'll make it the best we can’ and that sign still hangs in Jack’s original office as a permanent reminder to every one of the

seven generations that have worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery that we all have a responsibility to continue to look for better and more efficient ways to make whiskey,” says McEwan. “With the growing global thirst for American whiskey, it is however very important that when striving for more efficient ways to make great whiskey that one does so through creativity, craft, and not by cutting corners.” The dedication to history and regulations is a hallmark of many of the brands that are on the market today, as Tim Ryder, brand manager for Woodford Reserve and Old Forrester, points out the regulations are pretty strict. “American whiskey is a distilled beverage produced in the United States and governed by Title 27 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations,” he says. “America has such a rich history with alcohol,




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Always handcrafted. Always hand-dipped.



including Prohibition which lasted for 13 years. Throughout this period, although many brands disappeared, except for Old Forrester which is the only bourbon continuously distilled and marketed by the founding family before, during and after Prohibition. In short, the legacy and history of the liquor industry in America is just so interesting.” Daniel Khan is secretary of state and senior steward of WhistlePig, one of the newer brands on the market, and says that history is just as important to his brand as the others. “It embodies the same ethos with its repurposed dairy-farm-turned-distillery in an attempt to revive the category of rye whiskey as America's whiskey,” he says. “It’s important to not only acknowledge this precedent because we whiskey

producers are simply custodians of an important tradition, and it is incumbent on us to care for and grow this tradition for those who will follow.” James France, of Vanguard and distributor of Michter’s, believes the tradition goes further than just branding. “America is where cocktails were invented and where many of the world’s best bars are still located today. Authentically American is any spirit with genuine heritage that is made in America, according to the strict laws there,” he says. “It is also a bar or cocktail which pays homage to American bars, whether they be pre-Prohibition in style, dive bars, southern style bars or modern cocktail bars like you’d see in New York, Portland or San Francisco.” b&c



HOW DO YOU MAKE IT AUTHENTIC? When it comes to bringing a touch of the authentically American to your bar, there are far more options than a simple bourbon and coke – and they require considerably less effort than re-theming your bar. KHAN: With cocktails, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Simple cocktails with quality ingredients speak volumes. The American palate might be sweet but well-made classic American whiskey cocktails (Manhattan, Sazerac, Vieux Carre, Old Fashioned) have far more balance, which is perhaps why they have

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ADD SOME SOUTHERN AMERICAN DRAWL TO YOUR CHAT Actually, probably don’t do that. However, what you can add to your repertoire is a touch of history – without making your customers feel like idiots. As Khan notes, each brand has a unique talking point, not all of them based on lengthy histories. “A lot of whiskey brands in general have wonderful heritage stories,” he says. “For WhistlePig, our strength isn't in the timeless rickhouses or proprietary recipes from a bygone era. Our heritage is the living history that we have been making over the past five years from our small, once dilapidated dairy farm in Vermont, in open defiance to luxury whiskey and beverage conglomerate convention.” However, as McEwan notes, it is probably best to not get on a roll and alienate your customers. “When three deep in your bar, the average customer doesn't care about the ratio of grains in the mash bill or what proof it comes off a still at,” he says. “What they do love are stories that are easy to repeat to their friends, especially stories that don't make sense. Such as the fact that: every drop of Jack Daniel's (the biggest selling whiskey in the world) is made in a dry county; or Jack registered his distillery at the age of just 16 and was the first ever registered distillery in America; or Jack died from blood poisoning after breaking his toe when he kicked the distillery safe in anger; or even that Jack Daniel's has over 2.2 million 200 litre barrels resting in over 87 warehouses dotted across the Tennessee hills and we make every single one them by hand.” It’s also interesting to note, that – similar to the craft beer industry – we have witnessed an explosion in (and often misuse of) the term “craft” with more and more “brands” promoting fiction rather than fact. “The first thing you need to remember is that people don't shop for products, they shop for stories. Real and authentic brands have real stories,” says McEwan. James France has an even better idea for increasing your knowledge: visit the distilleries and learn the stories first hand. “Bartenders can use these stories to add background to the spirit they are serving,” he says. “This makes it more interesting for everyone involved. Drinkers like to throw out interesting titbits of information about their favourite brands, and their bartender is the best conduit for this type of information.”

stuck around for so long. MCEWAN: The greatest gift from states like Kentucky and Tennessee is "southern hospitality". There are definite commercial benefits to having a non-threatening or intimidating drinks list. The average person who frequents your bar will not have (or want) the level of knowledge that you do and they do not want to feel stupid. Particularly if they are in a group setting. Most importantly, make your guests feel as welcome as possible. Many times it's less about the drinks and much more about the experience. FRANCE: You can’t go wrong with

the classics such as Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. But the simple options like boilermakers are also a crowd pleaser, depending on the type of bar you’re in. Twists on American classics are always a good option too, such as barrel-ageing Manhattans. Accompanying food should also be in theme. RYDER: The sheer level of sophistication and effort that bartenders and venues put into their cocktail lists is remarkable. The detail, the taste, the craftsmanship is outstanding. For me, it's the little touches, whether it be the name or the creativity which heroes the base spirit is what makes the drink authentic.





TWO FINGERS OF WHISKEY Joey Tai is the venue manager at The Kilburn in Hawthorn, VIC, and she is all about American whiskey. We chatted about how to best utilise it behind the bar and some of her favourite recipes.


Also, something very simple I never get sick of is a highball cocktail. I found one very old punch recipe in a vintage cocktail book and adapted it to become my refreshing ‘Quick And Dirty Punch’. • 30ml of AppleJack • 15ml George Dickel No.8 Tennessee whiskey • 25ml of Highest Rendezvous Rye Whiskey • 15ml Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Noyaux • Dry ginger ale Method: Build in a highball glass, fill with ice, top with dry ginger ale and garnish with seasonal fruit.


It’s important to match the whiskey’s CKTAILS BOURBON CO FOR THE WIN flavour with the style of the cocktail. We need to have a good We need to be careful not to lose the understanding of the whiskey’s whiskey’s character in the process. flavour and character. It’s similar to cooking. As Instead, we want to deliver the whiskey bartenders, we are a matchmaker for spirits and in a different form to the consumer. This is particularly liqueurs – find the perfect match for a base spirit important for people who love the taste of whiskey without losing its character. Everyone's palates are but don't enjoy it neat. It is an open path for them to very different so while they might not know their experience whiskey. favourite style of whisky, they will have a preferred For example, the Boulevardier cocktail is an aperitif flavour of drink in general. From there, we can think style of cocktail which gives whatever whiskey you about the style of the cocktail and which whiskey we choose both a bitter and sweet flavour. It only has should use. For example, if you have a customer who three ingredients; 45 ml American bourbon whiskey, likes citrus flavours and nothing too strong on the 25ml Campari, 20-25ml Sweet Vermouth. All three are whiskey front, we should be thinking of choosing one very strong in flavour, so it is important to get the right that goes well with fresh fruit and notes of lemon rind, measurement for each and balance them together. The such as a younger rye or bourbon. These then go well bourbon gives a really good strength to the cocktail. with apple juice or tropical flavours. It's about relying Bourbon usually gives you a vanilla, maple, dark coca on a memory bank of tasted flavours and using your character which can go well with the bittersweet imagination to take it one step further. orange flavour of Campari.



At The Kilburn, I’ve created a signature cocktail list, 60 per cent of which are built with whiskey as the base. The Smoked Bullet Rye Chocolate Old Fashioned we created for an event which paired BBQ food with whiskies. We smoked the rye whiskey with clove and saffron using a smoking gun, then used it to build a cocktail with a really unique flavour. • 45ml of Smoked Rye • 10ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur • 10ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters Method: Serve over a block of ice and garnish with an orange twist.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO EDUCATE CUSTOMERS ABOUT WHISKEY? Get to know what they like and understand why they prefer certain flavours over others. We need to be patient with customers – at the end of the day, we are not here to make drinks for other bartenders. More people are educating themselves about whiskies and cocktails, they know what they like and how they like it served. However, there is still a bit of a way to go. The more people we can take the time to educate and appreciate good spirits, the better the products we can get from around the world.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO DRINK YOUR WHISKEY? I always enjoy my whiskey with a beer. They can bring out really interesting flavours in one another.

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FOR 2016 Heading into 2016 we look at the trends and products that will keep you ahead of the game through the summer season and into the New Year.

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SPICED RUM This category is showing no signs of slowing into the New Year with more brands entering the space and consumer awareness increasing further. BACARDÍ CARTA FUEGO – A bold tasting spiced rum that captures the real tropical flavours of vanilla, honey, spices and a hint of smoke. This new to market rum has spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and pink peppercorn along with woody vanilla, orange peel and plum. Aged for two years in torched barrels it features the smooth taste of Bacardí rum with delicious spice notes, ensuring each sip is smooth but finishes with a peppery kick. While it is currently exclusive to select bottle shops and bars, more stock will be hitting our shores very soon to allow wider distribution in the New Year.

APERITIFS The aperitif trend is spreading into Australia in a big way and summer is the ideal time to capitalise on classic and inventive aperitif drinks as people head to bars pre-dinner. ST-GERMAIN – Versatile, elegant and possessing unique flavour notes, St-Germain has been affectionately dubbed as “the bartender’s salt’n’pepper”. Hand-crafted from wild elderflowers, St-Germain is perfect for the practice of l’apéritif and enjoying a cocktail before a good meal to stimulating one’s appetite. Simple, sophisticated and quintessentially French, the St-Germain Cocktail is easily made by taking a tall, ice-filled glass and adding 1Ð parts St-Germain, 2 parts sparkling wine (or prosecco), 2 parts ice-cold sparkling water and a twist of lemon, and voila. A refreshing palatecleanser, this very French drink could just be the next big thing for the Australian summer.


ORGANIC SPIRITS With consumers becoming more educated, the trend for sustainable food has bled across into booze. Expect more questions around the origins of brands on the back bar. LES MOISSONS SINGLE MALT WHISKY – Created using organic barley grown and malted on-site at Domaine des Hautes Glaces in the alpine region of southeast France, this spirit is matured in a combination of French oak barrels, that previously held red brandy, red and white wines of the Rhone Valley (Marsanne Roussane), and new oak. The organic barley malt is made from a blend of three harvests of the same climate. The hardline approach of Domaine des Hautes Glaces to its single malt is reflected in the focus on fruit and cereal, elegance and minerality. Non-chill filtered, the spirit features marzipan notes as well as citrus and exotic fruits. The finish is dark chocolate and mint.

HERITAGE BRANDS Everyone loves a story, and there are plenty of brands out there that have great tales behind them – it makes for something more than the weather to chat about over the bar.



LAIRD’S JERSEY LIGHTNING APPLE BRANDY – Late in 2014, Laird & Company, America’s oldest licensed distiller and maker of Laird’s Applejack, released a totally new (yet very old) product. This clear apple brandy is the pure expression of their un-aged apple distillate at 50% ABV. It was over 250 years ago when William Laird, a county Fyfe Scotsman and rumoured producer of Scotch in his native Scotland, moved to Monmouth County in New Jersey. Upon his arrival in the New World, he employed his expertise to create Applejack. Although it has always been aged, some was consumed un-aged and was known as “Jersey Lightning”. Today, that historical liquor has been recreated and can be used in any cocktail as the main or complimentary ingredient. Jason Crawley’s suggestion is a Hailstorm Julep.


MID-RANGE ABV & LOW CARB BEER Consumers are watching their waistlines even more than ever, which means that premium versions of low carb and lower alcohol beers will be a menu staple. ASAHI SOUKAI – Pronounced “souk-eye” the beer is a 3.5% ABV lager that is designed to cater to “consumers who enjoy the refreshment of premium beer and value the benefits of a lighter and lower carbohydrate alcohol”. According to the company consumer insight and preference was at the forefront of product development, with research showing that Australian drinkers are more concerned about their health than ever. With the target market being “male and female 20 to 40 year old premium international and mid-strength beer drinkers” Asahi are looking to offer that group a beer option that offers control in alcohol and carbohydrate intake and as well as a “sophisticated” drinking experience.

JAPANESE WHISKY This powerhouse of the whisky world is not looking like slowing down any time soon, with global demand continuing to increase. HIBIKI JAPANESE HARMONY – seen as the foundation of the Hibiki range, and leveraging the same key malt and grain whiskies from the original Hibiki blend, Hibiki 17 Years and Hibiki 21 Years – this whisky is a blend of malt and grain whiskies. American white oak malt whiskies create a solid base, while the rare Mizunara (Japanese oak) and sherry cask malt whiskies are the dressing. These smoky malt whiskies act as subtle accents to create depth and further complexity. The grain whiskies from Suntory’s Chita distillery complete the personality and enhance their overall harmony. Extremely versatile, Harmony can be enjoyed neat, blended with water or mixed as a cocktail. Hibiki recommends it be enjoyed with a hand-carved ice ball for a proper Japanese whisky experience.

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AMERICANA Australians have always loved their bourbon and American whiskey but now it’s getting classy. With new breeds appearing on the market expect a lot more interest over the bar.

PLANTATION Original Dark 700ml 40% & 73% Plantation Original Dark is a blend of Trinidad brown rums matured in young bourbon casks then blended and finished in ex Cognac cask. Faithful to the light and elegant style of the island, the rum has a slightly smoky nose with refined notes of banana, citrus peel and clove. An extremely well balanced and punchy rum that is excellent for mixing into tiki style drinks or with rums best partners, Coca Cola and Ginger Beer. Regularly consumed as the shot of choice among bartenders, pound for pound you won’t find a better value rum. Plantation Original Dark 40% Plantation Original Dark Overproof 73% PLANTATION 3 Stars Silver Rum 700ml 41.2% Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum is a skilful blend of the best rums the Caribbean has to offer from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. Each Island has a distinct rum style developed over centuries and brings its own special character to Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum. Made in collaboration between rum aficionado Paul McFadyen owner of Trailer Happiness and Master Blender Alexandret Gabriel. The idea of Plantation 3 Stars originated from the idea to make the ultimate daiquiri rum. A great Daiquiri takes a lime, sugar and balance as a platform for the rum to explode in flavour then dry out fast. The 3 Stars is the world’s best Daiquiri and Mojito base by using rums from across the Caribbean to give flavour, spice and dryness. A creamy, soft Barbados rum is blended with un aged and also 12 year old pot-still Jamaican rums which deliver finesse and spice. These rums are built on a bone-dry, 3-5 year old, Trinidadian base which provides the backbone for a perfect Daiquiri experience.

For more information contact Neat Spirits: 0410 231 534 or

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WOODFORD RESERVE DOUBLE OAKED – Matured in two barrels that are both toasted and charred, and created at Woodford Reserve’s own cooperage, means Double Oaked has ample flavour and colour characteristics. The first barrel is crafted from oak that has seasoned outdoors for nine months and is completely toasted and charred on the inside. The second barrel has been toasted for more than twice as long as the first fill barrel and is charred only lightly. A custom crafted barrel with a heftier toast lets flavours of honey, cream and vanilla to be exaggerated and a light char gives refined sweet aromatic notes. The double barrelling of mature Woodford Reserve allows the spirit to extract an additional amount of soft, sweet oak character.

TEQUILA Tequila is the white spirit category that is expected to see the most growth between now and 2030 as the world’s palate grows up and learns to sip very high quality expressions. HERRADURA ULTRA – Casa Herradura’s Añejo tequila provides the base for Herradura Ultra, with the Añejo blended with premium Extra Añejo that has been aged for up to 49 months in American white oak barrels. A subtle hint of agave nectar is added before the liquid is filtered, creating a rich, crystal-clear tequila with a full-bodied flavour and smooth taste. The suggested way to enjoy Ultra is stirred with ice to chill, then served neat in a shot glass. The premium tequila features subtle notes of cooked agave with hints of caramel, vanilla, wood, honey, dried fruits, toasted almonds, and a “beyond smooth” finish.


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As Australians’ cider palates evolve, premium expressions of the popular category become more important to have on the menu.

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CHOOSE WISELY When it comes to choosing premium ciders for your venue, the experts have a few tips: Sam Reid: Cider is really no different to wine – a good cider maker will know where the apples come from as they are such a crucial element. All premium wines are very clear about where the grapes come from on their label and cider should be no different. Conte: A higher end product has to give you something interesting inside and outside the glass: a great beverage, but also a story: from its production region, to historical circumstances, and a fun anecdote. Brian Phan: Look for consistency in quality, provenance and an authentic story. It helps to create interest in a category where consumers want to experiment.



hile cider aficionados will argue that cider is a year-round tipple, there is no arguing that Australians’ cider drinking levels get a definite boost during the summer months. With the broadening of the category, premium ciders are more important than ever to have in the fridge, as cider drinkers evolve and look for more depth of flavour. Brian Phan, head of cider brands at CUB says that recent years have seen the rise of the promotion of ingredients and minimal intervention in the cider category – hallmarks of premiumisation. “There is no doubt these products have a strong appeal for ‘urban progressive’ consumers,” he says. “And we know they do well in premium venues.” According to Sam Reid, of Cider Australia, the key to a great premium cider is one that offers more taste, more flavour and more complexity. “Premium ciders should have the right blend of tannin, acid and sweetness so that you get interesting flavours and a well-rounded moth feel,” he says. “Lots of ciders on the market go too heavy on the sugar or sweetness and so your palate can struggle to pick up some of the nuances of flavours in the product.” As Manu Conte, of Cerbaco which imports French

BUT I’M SWEET ENOUGH ALREADY… One of the main complaints about cider is the sugar level and as Conte points out perceptions can be hard to change. “A good parallel is the craft beer revolution: premium ciders are as different to sweet/sugary ciders as craft beers are different to more commercial ones.” Reid says to not be afraid to let people try before they buy. “We do it at festivals all the time with Willie Smith’s and it’s amazing how many people say ‘I don’t usually drink cider but I’d drink that’,” he says. Phan says it is important that bartenders recognise the depth and contrast of the market themselves. “People look to bartenders to offer choice and make suggestions about what will work,” he says.


DRINK LOCAL It is no surprise that Reid is a huge proponent of local ciders, especially those that fall into the premium category. “Australian ciders are generally a ‘new world’ style that have their own unique tastes and flavours in the same way that French ciders and English ciders are their own styles. And so to have a proper premium cider portfolio you should be looking for a range of styles and tastes to ensure there is something for everyone, and perhaps more importantly something for your customers to explore,” he says. Reid goes on to point out that drinking cider made from Australian apples supports regional agricultural communities where the apples are grown and so there is a feel good factor. If you’re not sure of provenance, the majority of Australian cider makers will proudly state on the label that they are made from 100 per cent Australian apples, making it easy to determine who is who in the cider world.

ciders, points out there is as much variation in the cider market as there is in beer or wine. “The market for cider is as diverse as any food and drinks category: from low cost to Rolls Royce, you find everything,” he says. “The main benefit of premium ciders is their natural taste: they are made from real fruit where most ‘ciders’ are actually an apple paste base modified and fermented with water, sugar and additives.”

WHY GO PREMIUM? With drinkers looking to premium products in the spirits, wine and beer space, it only makes sense that bars looking to position themselves as premium should also offer a top shelf cider. According to Phan offering a premium cider enables consumers to trade up from their usual choice. “Not only does it give them a

better choice, it encourages them to expand their cider repertoire.” Reid concurs and adds that it is about your customers. “Taking care in the selection of cider you have on tap and in bottle shows that you really have thought about the customer,” says Reid. “I still see lots of venues who just get the cheapest cider they can and to me that just shows a lack of respect. Cider drinkers are an ever increasing group of people and their custom should be valued as much as beer, wine and spirits drinkers.” Conte goes one step further and points out that drinkers are coming to expect a certain degree of education along with their night out. “More than ever the bar is a place for education: people are willing to try something new and of high quality when they are at a bar,” he says. “Premium cider has its place there.” b&c

Bars & Clubs November - December 2015  

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...

Bars & Clubs November - December 2015  

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...