Finally spring has sprung in Australia, and we can look forward to enjoying refreshing, thirst-quenching, palate-cleansing cocktails again!
Here’s a selection to wet your whistle from our recent third annual Drinks World T25 Bartender awards, where we named the top bartenders from around Australia. These signature cocktails, created by some of Australia’s leading veteran and upcoming bartenders, use cutting edge flavours and ingredients that shine a light on the current state of play in the country’s cocktail culture.
WORDS BY BEN DAVIDSON
Bartending guru Alex Boon, from Seymour’s Cocktails and Oysters in Brisbane, was paired with Belvedere’s Single Estate vodka from the Smogóry Forest region of Poland.
When asked about the inspiration behind his ‘Nobody Speak, Nobody Get Hurt’ cocktail, Alex said, “Belvedere Single Estate Rye is bringing terroir to vodka, a notion normally linked to wine. The vodka aims to champion the distinct characteristics of the Smogóry Forest and Lake Bartężek regions in Poland. I wanted to take this product and have a bit of fun with it, taking inspiration from one of my favourite vodka classics, the East 8 Hold Up. My aim was to combine seasonality and freshness with this vodka in a tall, thirst-quenching cocktail, accompanied by some spice and bittersweet undertones.”
Well, he was bang on target! The ingredients include cold pressed carrot and pineapple juices, with a hint of homemade mandarin and Aperol falernum that add a gentle citrus spice. A couple of drops of saline solution help the flavours really pop.
Nobody Speak, Nobody Get Hurt
By Alex Boon
50ml Belvedere SE Rye Lake Bartężek
20ml Mandarin and Aperol falernum
20ml Lime juice
20ml Cold pressed carrot juice
30ml Cold pressed pineapple juice
2 x Drops Saline solution
GARNISH: Mint sprig
METHOD: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice. Fine strain into a tall glass filled with ice and crown with crushed ice.
Renowned bartender Andrea Gualdi, from Sydney’s Maybe Frank in Surry Hills, was paired with the revamped Tanqueray Rangpur gin to create an elegant, stirred-down cocktail with an intricate balance of flavours.
When asked about the inspiration behind his ‘Frank & Sammy’ cocktail, Andrea said, “Tanqueray Rangpur is 41.3 per cent ABV and has an aroma of lime leaf and lemon myrtle, plus hints of spice and coriander. The ginger comes through on the palate and the lime is an Indian varietal of lime called Rangpur. To celebrate this new product, which takes the classic Tanqueray to another level, my drink is a take on a classic Gimlet using my favourite vermouth bianco and apple cordial to enhance the new botanicals of the Rangpur. The garnish of a lemon myrtle leaf is to uplift the new aroma of Tanqueray Rangpur.”
Uplift it did! This is a stunningly beautiful cocktail taking the classic Gimlet to new heights!
Frank & Sammy
By Andrea Gualdi
25ml Tanqueray Rangpur
40ml Oscar 697 Vermouth Bianco
15ml Green apple cordial
GARNISH: Lemon myrtle leaf
GLASSWARE: Old Fashioned
Veteran bartender Andy Griffiths, who looks after Melbourne’s Speakeasy Group bars including Eau de Vie, Boilermaker House and Mjolner, was paired with Olmeca Altos Plata tequila.
When asked about the inspiration behind his ‘The Penca Fizz’ signature serve he said, “I love the ethos behind the production of Olmeca. Sustainability should obviously be a big focus for all bars as well as spirit companies, and they work quite hard to minimise their carbon footprint. I wanted to use the discarded celery leaves from the kitchen, so keeping them stable by making a shrub was ideal. The bright herbal and citric notes lend themselves perfectly to a vegetal inspired concoction. A touch of soda and egg white for texture, and you get a decidedly moreish fizz. I lightly smoked some Meredith’s Goats Cheese with excess thyme stalks for garnish, as the cheese not only works well with the savoury aspects of the drink, but also the brand’s ethos of sustainability is very similar to Olmeca’s.”
A shining light of sustainability from top to bottom. The celery leaf shrub was the perfect foil for the herbaceous plata tequila, and a tiny bit of absinthe just set it off!
THE PENCA FIZZ
By Andy Griffiths
50ml Olmeca Altos Blanco
15ml Maidenii Dry Vermouth
30ml Salted celery leaf shrub
15ml Egg white
5 x Dashes Absinthe
250g Celery leaf
250ml Raw cider vinegar
300g Agave nectar
5g Celery salt
Pulse all ingredients in a robot coupe to shred celery leaves.
Keep in fridge for 2-3 days. Strain and bottle for use.
GARNISH: Celery seed lavash and whipped thyme smoked Meredith’s goats cheese.
METHOD: Dry shake and wet shake (without soda). Pour over soda in frozen goblet.
GLASSWARE: Fizz glass/goblet
In 2018, the T25 bartenders voted bartending bon vivant Daniel Gregory, from Ettie’s in Hobart, Drinks World’s Bartender’s Bartender. As the current Angostura Rum Cocktail ambassador in Australia, it was fitting that he was paired with a rum he know so much about!
When asked about the inspiration behind his ‘Sunset Over Trinidad’ cocktail, Dan said, “Everyone knows the yellow cap and oversized label of the iconic Angostura aromatic bitters, but less know that the House of Angostura has an amazing, award-winning rum range and an amaro. Angostura aromatic bitters have been around for 200 years, so it’s used in the creation of many of the cocktails we consider to be classic today, including the Pink Gin, Manhattan and Old Fashioned. Angostura aromatic bitters is the quintessential ingredient in all of them, and I’ve always thought there’s something quite humbling about that. However, my inspiration for this cocktail was actually Amaro di Angostura, not the bitters. The amaro was voted Best New Spirit at Tales of the Cocktail in 2015, and I just love using it. I wanted to showcase some of the vegetal notes in the amaro by using beetroot and soften the finish with citrus at the same time. A perfect afternoon sipper with friends and a great way to watch the sunset.”
This is an earthy and complex sundowner. The beetroot and grapefruit soda was the perfect lengthener for the amaro. Very moreish indeed!
Sunset Over Trinidad
By Daniel Gregory
50ml Amaro di Angostura
10ml Lime juice
10ml Grapefruit oleo saccharum
Topped with grapefruit and beetroot soda (yeast carbonated)
GARNISH: Candied beetroot disc and lemon thyme
METHOD: Build the first three ingredients in a High Ball glass and stir with a large rock of ice. Top with more ice and fill with soda almost to the top. Add a paper straw and garnish.
GLASSWARE: High Ball
Young gun bartender Evan Stoeve, from Sydney’s Bulletin Place, was paired with the iconic herbal bitters Jägermeister to create his ‘Buck Wild’ signature cocktail. When asked about the inspiration behind it, Evan said, “Jägermeister has suffered from a bit of cultural stigma, but it is actually a really complex product. There are 56 different ingredients that make up its whole. This cocktail is about touching on and coaxing out those core flavours and presenting a drink that shows how legitimate Jägermeister can be in a modern cocktail culture. Think dark chocolate, stewed fruits, pepper and herbs.”
We loved the way the chocolate husk syrup was sharpened by the apple cordial and fresh lemon, and then spiked by the pepper leaf tincture. Straight to my dome!
By Evan Stroeve
20ml Dry vermouth
15ml Apple cordial
15ml Chocolate husk syrup
4 x Drops Pepper leaf tincture
GARNISH: Mint sprig and ground cacao
GLASSWARE: Frozen Rocks Glass