Authors Posts by Sasha Falloon

Sasha Falloon

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The New Beefeater MIXLDN Champion – Timothy Ching from Hong Kong

Timothy Ching from Hong Kong has claimed the title of Beefeater MIXLDN 6 Global Champion. Eight bartenders were selected to compete in the Global Final, held at The Bike Shed in East London. The competition was centred around a cinematic theme, with participants creating drinks around films and cinema sets, with the tagline of the competition being, “Directed By You”.

Bartenders from 33 countries were invited to submit a Beefeater cocktail recipe to the Beefeater MIXLDN website and from that were chosen to compete in National Finals. A bartender from each market was then selected to compete in the Global Final, where eight battled it out for the top honour.

In addition to the major prize, two other prizes were awarded; one for the Signature Drink round and the Secret Challenge. Emil Hed of Sweden took out the Signature Drink round, where bartenders were tasked with creating a drink inspired by a movie set in London. The winner of the Secret Challenge, which required finalists to create a drink in 30 minutes was JinHwan Kim of South Korea.

Timothy said his winning cocktail was inspired by Oliver Twist.

“Knowing London, the home of Beefeater Gin, is also the setting of the world’s best mixologists, I decided to direct a cinema-influenced classic of my own.

“My cocktail is inspired by the famous quote from Oliver Twist, ‘Please, Sir, I Want Some More’, a fine crafted British appetitive which has a mouthwatering effect to it. A bitter-sweet concoction that showcases all the aspects from the true spirit, which Desmond Payne put towards the legendary Beefeater 24 Gin, a sophisticated blend of botanicals and exotic teas.”

Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne announced the winner and handed the trophy to Timothy who was ecstatic with the win.

 

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Antonio Lai Mixes It Up In Australia

Antonio Lai

Drinks World had the opportunity to sit down with world-class Hong Kong bartender and bar owner Antonio Lai whilst he was in Australia as part of The Blend program run by Beam Suntory. We found out his thoughts on the Australian bar scene, highlights and what he has taken away from his experience down under.

Drinks World: The Blend recently invited you to run a masterclass in Australia on Multisensory Mixology. Share with us your experience: what were the highlights for you?

Antonio Lai: A highlight for me was in Brisbane where 40 bartenders attended my seminar at noon. That requires a lot of effort considering a bartender’s average shift. They were very responsive; they showed genuine interest and respect, raised questions and were willing to explore the subject as much as I do. That made me truly thrilled and honoured as bartenders are continuously pushing Multisensory Mixology forward in the industry not only in Hong Kong but also in other parts of the world.

Dining at LÛMÉ Restaurant was another major highlight. It was a dinner with non-alcoholic cocktail pairings. The quality was absolutely top-notch and the experience gave me insight on how to work on cocktail pairings with our chef at VEA Restaurant & Lounge in Hong Kong.

DW: Which product from the Beam Suntory portfolio did you really enjoy working with?

AL: I enjoyed working with Laphroaig Select Cask. Its distinct smoky peat flavours made it interesting to sip neat or mix with in a cocktail. Everyone loved the Cleopatra Formosa cocktail that I made with Laphroaig Select Cask.

DW: Give us your take on the Australian Bar scene?

AL: Australia has a great, vibrant bar scene. A lot of the bartenders are very talented, serious, have a hunger for knowledge and are ready to learn.

DW: What were some of your favourite bars you visited? 

AL: Boilermaker House in Melbourne and Eau de Vie in Sydney.

DW: Can you take anything away from this experience that you can apply in your own venues?

AL: Definitely. I was inspired by the food-cocktail pairings at LÛMÉ Restaurant, conversations with people in the bar industry, both experts and novices. When we put together concepts and ideas, we might develop brand new and unique interpretations at our own venues in Hong Kong.

DW: This was your first time to Australia—was it everything you expected?

AL: Australia is a fun, dynamic and open-minded country and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. I did not expect the varying business hours for bars and the lockout times in Sydney – this was all very new for me.

Missed the masterclass? Here’s a snap shop of Antonio in action.

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Ben Hasko Is Named Australia’s Third Master Sommelier

Photo Caption: Peter and Ben Hasko

Ben Hasko of Cru Wines and Bootleggers has successfully passed the Master Sommelier examination.

He now joins Frank Moreau MS of Merivale and Sebastian Crowther MS of the Rockpool Group as Australia’s third Master Sommelier.

Preparing for entry into the Court of Master Sommeliers is said to be harder than studying for a medical degree.

It takes years to prepare for, and to even be invited to sit the exam you must first graduate as an Introductory Sommelier.

Passing on his first attempt, Ben is one of six successful examinees this year.

Reflecting on this remarkable achievement Ben informs future hopefuls “You need to commit both your time and considerable finances in pursuit of the diploma.”

Moving foreword, Ben looks forward to adding more interesting wines to his business portfolios, and will continue studying towards the Master of Wine exams in June.

 

 

 

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Marshall and Egerton Set To Open Charlie Parker’s

Toby Marshall and Sam Egerton

Tuesday 25 October, marked the opening day for Merivale’s highly-anticipated Fred’s and Charlie Parker’s bar and restaurant venues on Sydney’s Oxford Street. Shaped by a unifying philosophy honouring the origins behind ingredients, the new bar and restaurant venue hopes to elevate produce using new, innovative and old-world techniques.

Carrying knowledge and training from the esteemed Californian restaurant owner and pioneer of the “farm to table food movement” Alice Waters, Fred’s Head Chef Danielle Alvarez conjured her passion for sustainability by spending the last five years meticulously penning a list of like-minded chefs and farmers to supply a majority of Fred’s locally-sourced and all-natural ingredients. From her supply of quality produce, Alvarez will craft a menu to highlight the integrity of the best ingredients available that day or week.

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Alvarez and co. will add to Fred’s natural ambience by cooking on free standing Tuscan grills and a large custom hearth. Alvarez “Cooking with fire is first and foremost about flavour, but I also love using it because I think working with an open flame makes you a better chef. You have to use all of your senses”. One of Alvarez’s hopes is that people can taste the love and thought behind her cooking and that guests will feel that they’ve been very well taken care of.

The restaurant also features over 100 wine selections curated by Head Sommelier Caitlyn Rees and will focus on small-batch wines and a constantly rotating ‘wine by the glass’ list that complements Alvarez’s menu.

Directly below Fred’s is the home of Charlie Parker’s, a bar whose produce-driven cocktails mirrors Alvarez’s emphasis on freshness and quality. Bartenders Toby Marshall and Sam Egerton experimented and explored new flavours and created an impressive drink menu inspired by botany.

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Charlie Parker’s prides itself on ensuring that every aspect of their drinks is executed in the best possible way to enhance the patron’s drinking experience. Also complimenting the drinks is Alvarez’s special bar menu that will feature inventive bites like Jerusalem artichoke, feta cheese with grapes and pickled chillies.

Fred’s is 60 seats of thoughtfully chosen décor throughout the venue and echoes its central ethos: nothing is by accident and everything has a purpose. Designed by a creative team from ACME & Co., Fred’s is crafted to resemble an extension of the home, which attributes to its intimate and personal vibe. Deep and understated colours adorn Fred’s entirety and conjure the sophistication of a French bastide.

Address: 380 Oxford Street, Paddington

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet: Christian Hartmann, owner-operator of Singapore’s Vasco

Business student turned bartender, Christian Hartmann started out his career like many others, working a part-time hospitality job during his university years. Taking on a concierge position at Hotel Fox in Copenhagen, also home to Gromit Eduardsen’s high profile cocktail bar, Hartmann became so fascinated with Gromit’s work that he began bar-backing for him. Finding his true passion behind the bar, Hartmann has gone on to work in Copenhagen, Bangkok, and Singapore, where he currently resides and can be found behind the stick as co-owner and operator of Vasco.

Hartmann says the inspiration for opening Vasco came after a trip to South America where he felt that Singapore was missing “The Latin lust for life”. He also realised that the South American style of nightlife was an unseen experience in Singapore but had potential, and wanted to bring that experience back. Of course, having a love for rum, pisco, cachaça, tequila and mescal certainly helped his decision in wanting to open a Latin American bar.

Opening and operating any venue is a daunting task, and Hartmann says there are a couple of key factors to consider when opening a bar, “You need allies that are going in the same direction as you. You can’t be alone, that will burn you out”. However, he’s quick to point out that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously either, “You shouldn’t break your neck on stuff that doesn’t affect the guest experience in a positive way”. Also, and perhaps, more importantly, Hartmann feels that work has to be enjoyable as well, “Have fun with it, and enjoy every second even though it’s hard work”.

Fortunately, Singapore is the type of place where people enjoy trying news things, providing operators like Hartmann the opportunity to open a venue with a different concept. Basing a bar around the culture of an entire continent allows Vasco to remain fresh and contemporary with their offerings. Inside, the venue has a dark setting that is accompanied by a lively mix of Latin beats and funk, with the likes of Buena Vista Social Club playing through the speakers. Taking influence from South American culture and celebrations, they change up the menu and keep things interesting, for example serving Mexican food on Mexican Independence Day. Vasco stays true to their concept, only using fresh ingredients and Latin American spirits, meaning no gin, vodka or whiskey, just Latin classics and signature serves.

Being a strong advocate for the guest experience, Hartmann also says operators need to listen to the customers and their needs, “Guests are the best indicator for whether something needs adjustment or not”. When asked about the future of cocktails and trends, Hartmann believes that simplicity is the next thing, “Over the past years there’s been a tendency to make things super complicated, from ingredients used to the visibility of the entrance of a venue. A return to simple drinks and food items done well is something that guests can appreciate and understand why a venue does it”.

 

 

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Raise A Toast To The Vin De Champagne Award Winners

Two individuals were celebrated for their knowledge and appreciation of Champagne in Sydney last night at the 42nd biennial Vin de Champagne Awards. Held at the Four Seasons Sydney, the awards are among the most coveted in Australia, commemorating two individuals who act as ambassadors of the Champagne Appellation by sharing their knowledge and appreciation of bubbles with consumers.

Australia’s well-established relationship with the famous French region was also celebrated, with the Australian market now the sixth largest importer of Champagne in the world. Since 2014 Australia has seen a 24.3 per cent increase in the number of Champagne bottles imported.

Two awards were presented on behalf of oraniser Comité Champagne – The Professional category award (an individual gaining an income working in the food and wine industry) and an Amateur award (an experienced taster with a passion for Champagne). Arriving at the State Final for the finalists was no easy task, with entrants required to submit answers to essay questions pertaining to Champagne’s history, viticulture, and winemaking, in addition to demonstrating a working knowledge of the Champagne industry.

The Professional category award went to Cameron O’Keefe, sommelier at Centra in Victoria, while Nicky Goodyer, florist from Aahh Flowers in NSW was announced as the winner of the Amateur category.

The two award winners will be provided new opportunities in the Champagne industry, with their spoils being a two-week educational tour through the Champagne region where they will be presented with their medal by Comité Champagne.

Elisabeth Drysdale, Director of the Champagne Bureau said, “After forty-plus years, these awards continue to reveal an intriguingly diverse cross-section of Champagne palates, in both the amateur and the professional classes. We are witnessing a growing collective of Champagne lovers in Australia, evidenced in the calibre of candidates entering the awards and the ambassadorial work former winners are carrying out in every state”.

 

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Stone & Wood Team Up With Violent Soho

Stone & Wood have let the lads from Brisbane’s Violent Soho loose in their brewery to create their very own brew. The band will be celebrating the new collaboration with the Byron Bay brewery at national launch parties, which coincides with their upcoming national tour with The Bronx in October/November.

The beer, aptly named the East Coast Crusher, is described by Stone & Wood as, “An Aussie unfiltered Kolsch that has a floral punch up front and is balanced with a refreshing bitterness”. The brew will be a pilot batch, meaning it’s an experimental, rare, and limited edition that hasn’t existed until now.

Stone & Wood are excited about the collaboration, saying, “Working with good, like-minded people from our community to brew good beer is what we’re about. The Violent Soho boys are our biggest fans and so we were stoked for them to be able to brew their own beer with us”.

Similarly, Violent Soho guitarist James Tidswell said, “People get to do collaborations with companies all the time but very rarely do you get to collaborate with the best in the industry. We feel like the luckiest dudes in the world that we got to hand craft our own beer with Stone & Wood in the Byron Bay Brewery. We cannot wait for everybody to try our East Coast Crusher.”

Fans of both Violent Soho and Stone & Wood will be able to get the first taste of the East Coast Crusher during the band’s launch parties on October 13 in venues across Australia. The first 50 people to show their ticket receipt for the October/November tour at one of the launch parties will receive a sample of the brew courtesy of Violent Soho. The East Coast Crusher will also be available for purchase via the Stone & Wood online store for a limited time from October 17.

VIOLENT SOHO EAST COAST CRUSHER BEER LAUNCH PARTIES

Thursday, 13th October 2016

Bank Street Social, Adelaide

Crowbar, Brisbane

Flyrite, Perth

Lord Gladstone, Sydney

Yellow Bird, Melbourne

**Free Entry – 6pm Onwards – 18+ only

**Exclusive first taste of Violent Soho x Stone & Wood East Coast Crusher

**Ticket + Merch Giveaways on the night

More Beer News: Hong Kong’s Largest Craft Beer Festival this November

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Best in Hong Kong Announced At The Bar Awards

Arcaduis Rybak from Zuma, Awarded Bartender of the Year

Hong Kong’s finest bars, restaurants and industry professionals were honoured at the Bar Awards, taking place on Sunday night at Zuma Restaurant. To arrive at the 13 winners, top tens were compiled from 525 public nominations, and the list then put in the hands of a panel of 30 of Hong Kong’s industry leaders. The winners were then selected from the votes received by the Bar Awards panel.

The Bartender of the Year going went to Arcadius Rybak of Zuma, with Best Young Bartender of the Year going to Kervin Unido of Mr and Mrs Fox.

Ashley Sutton’s magical wonderland that is Ophelia took out Best Nightclub (for more details on Ophelia click here), Best Cocktail Bar went to Stockton, Foxglove was awarded Best New Cocktail Bar, and Quinary Most Creative Cocktail Bar.

The bar team at Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge took home Best Hospitality Team.

Founder of the Bar Awards, Tron Young mentioned “The awards party was so much fun, we are humbled and honoured to be embraced by the Hong Kong bar community. The Bar Awards, for us and we hope for a lot of people, is a bigger voice than just awarding excellence and the best. We were excited to come to a great drinking community to help make it even greater! And the support from the community at the party showed us that Hong Kong is excited to grow with us.”

See below for the full list of winners:

Best Young Bartender of the Year, presented by East Imperial

Kervin Unido, Mr and Mrs Fox

Best Restaurant Bar, presented by William Chase

ON Dining Kitchen and Lounge

Best Wine Bar, presented by Berry Bros and Rudd

La Cabane

Best Beer Bar, presented by Pilsner Urquell

The Globe

Best Nightclub, presented by G. H. Mumm

Ophelia

Best Bar Food, presented by Aperol and Peroni

Ham and Sherry

Best Hospitality Team, presented by St. George Spirits

Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge

Best Hotel Bar, presented by The Singleton

Lobster Bar and Grill, Island Shangri-La

Most Creative Cocktail Bar, presented by D1

Quinary

Best New Cocktail Bar, presented by Monkey Shoulder

Foxglove

The Ada Coleman Award, presented by Don Julio

Beckaly Franks (The Pontiac)

Bartender of the Year, presented by Bacardi

Arcaduis Rybak (Zuma)

Best Cocktail Bar, presented by Stolichnaya

Stockton

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The Iron Fairies Makes it a Hat-Trick for Sutton in Hong Kong

The Iron Fairies cocktail space has opened in Hong Kong, discovered via a nondescript entrance on Pottinger Street, belying its Hollywood Road address. To find The Iron Fairies you will benefit from a keen sense of direction and an appetite to discover the mystery of famed Aussie designer – Ashley Sutton who has created a bar with immense attention to detail.

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The Iron Fairies was inspired by Sutton’s experience in the iron ore mines of Western Australia, creating a space derived from an ironsmith’s workshops that has become bewitched by a troupe of mischievous fairies determined to dance and sing the night away.

To re-create the feel of an ironsmith’s workshop, inside the venue is furnished with raw, iron, hand-hewn timber, contrasted by soft supple leather. The space caters for 80 guests and combines the industrial and the whimsical with low-slung ceilings, working mine machinery, custom furnishings and a hanging garden that houses 10,000 intricately crafted butterflies. The workshop will also be home to 12 fairies each having their own unique personality and identity.

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“The beauty of the fairies is that with 12 personality types, guests will be able to identify with one or more of them, even the four mischievous ones,” says Sutton.

Head Chef Todd Williams offers up an innovative menu where dishes like the Fried Pork Knuckle, Fat Gut’s Overloaded Burger and Vita’s Honey Toast are matched with some deliciously tasty selection craft beers, cocktails and a selection of wines.

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The Iron Fairies will also feature an ever-changing roster of jazz and blues acts, adding entertainment to the mysterious and enchanted venue.

 

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Chivas Brothers Have Announced A New Blending Team

Colin Scott, Chivas Regal Custodian Master Blender

Chivas Brothers have announced a new team of both fresh and familiar faces that will drive their celebrated and iconic range of whiskies.

Esteemed master blenders Colin Scott and Sandy Hyslop now have new roles at Pernod Ricard with the announcement of a new and enhanced Chivas Brothers blending team. Scott will take on the position of Chivas Regal Custodian Master Blender, and provide a mentor role to the Chivas Regal blenders by sharing his knowledge, and techniques learnt during his 43-year career.

Sandy Hyslop, Director of Blending
Sandy Hyslop, Director of Blending

Sandy Hyslop will lead the Chivas blending team, taking on the newly created and prestigious position of Director of Blending, working across the entire Chivas Brothers portfolio. With over 30 years of experience, Hyslop will oversee the development and blending off all Chivas Brothers blended Scotch whisky. He is also just one of five Master Blenders in the 188-year history of Ballantine’s.

The team features Kevin Balmforth and Dr. Calum Fraser as Chivas Regal Blenders, Ashley Smith as Apprentice Blender, Willie Henderson and Adam Ritchie who will both work across the whole range in the Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky portfolio, along with Alan Galloway who will also work across the entire portfolio as well as support Hyslop exclusively on the Ballantine’s range.

CEO and Chairman of Chivas Brothers, Laurent Lacassagne said, “Excellence is at the heart of Chivas Brothers, and nowhere is this more evident than with industry leaders Colin Scott and Sandy Hyslop, whose new roles will ensure the safeguarding of Chivas Brothers’ iconic and historic brands for the next generation.”

The Chivas Brothers blending department will also be complemented and supported by a network of Global Brand Ambassadors and Graduate Brand Ambassadors.

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