Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm Now a TOY

So just over a week ago I officially became a TOY. Before you get too carried away it means that I am now part of this motley crew that forms the [TOYS] collective (it stands for 'Taste of Young Sydney'). My induction event was Issue #7: Old Dogs, New Tricks held on my home ground - Porteño and Gardel's Bar - and boy howdy was this event a doosey.

Seven courses developed by gun chefs and their mentors were paired with wine and cocktails for a one night only feasting event. The menu was insanely good and how it came and worked together to form a cohesive and inspired meal - masterly. Rather than wax lyrical about each course I've dropped in the menu so you know what you missed out on:

What I would like to share with you though is this little creation that I contributed to the evening entitled: 'Till the Bitter End.

Looks like a double esspresso huh? 
I'm a huge fan of bitters as this post from Mr Ben Shipley attests. Serving this drink at the end of the meal - well it's obvious where my inspiration came from - the humble espresso. This digestive drink combining the lovely banana and clove notes of Goslings 'Black Seal' with the rich and complex flavours of Antica Forumla vermouth, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Fernet Branca (of course) and bespoke liquorice bitters - was dark, brooding and delicious. It already had the look of a black coffee before I was inspired to heat the mix and crown it with a cool coffee sabayon to complete the look. 

Should you be so inclined here's how:

'Till the Bitter End  

30ml Golsings 'Black Seal' Bermudian rum
30ml Antica Forumla vermouth
10ml Gonzalez Byass 'Nectar' Pedro Ximenez
2.5ml Fernet Branca
1.5ml Bespoke liquorice bitters (highproof spirit, gentian, wormwood, liquorice root and citrus peel)

Bring the ingredients above to the boil (to lose a touch of that alcoholic kick). Allow to cool to about 65° C . Pour into a heated demitasse cup and float a little coffee sabayon* on top.

* The coffee sabayon nice and easy once you know how (thanks for the recipe Elvis). Soak 2 gelatine leaves in iced water.  In a double boiler combine 200g egg yolk with 100g sugar and 200ml of fresh espresso (whisk as you pour in the coffee if it's hot so as not to cook the yolks). Cook on a low heat, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the gelatine and continue cooking until the mixture thickens to a pouring custard consistency. Allow to cool to room temperature, pour into cream canister and charge for easy dispense.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally a Reason for Bartenders to Shower

Finally soap scents every bartender can understand
Sandalwood, rose and shea butter, vanilla & ylang yalng, coconut & jojoba. Although I only know what half of those things are there is one thing that is certain: I don't want to smell like them. Fortunately, there is a remedy to your aroma malady that won't have you smelling like a fairy. And it gets the Booze Braggart seal of approval to boot. It's called 'Allsorts Prohibition Liquor Scented High Lather Soap Bars'. That's right - booze scented soap.
Those of you are particularly web savvy may have already come across this one - I found it thanks to the Urbandaddy newsletter myself (worth subscribing to folks - lots of snazzy stuff on there) and have just been a bit slack in putting up a post. But here it is people - liquor scented shower goodness.

Currently there are four drink options to choose from - not the most well stocked bar but what the hey - you've just got out of bed and it's 12:33pm. Go for a Screwdriver, a Gin & Tonic, a Whiskey Sour or a Spiced Rum spiked with cinnamon and anise. It's a convenient way to explain why you still smell like booze at one o'clock in the afternoon on a Monday when you're meeting your mum for lunch.

Check out the snazzy Chicago Prohibition History Bike Tour packaging...
The soap producers Ethically Engineered are currently experiencing a bit of a back log. But, if by any chance you are female and reading this, you can put in a pre-order to plan ahead for Father's Day and or Christmas. What would we do without the fairer sex huh?

Anywho - the easiest way to order is via their page on Esty. There'll be more on this awesome site soon too.



Monday, July 4, 2011

Congratulations to an Ex-Work Accomplice

Last Monday I had the singular pleasure of attending the inaugural Time Out Shake Down – a boozey battle of bartending brawn. The five finalists had to deliver their competition drinks to a thirsty sell-out crowd of punters at King Street Wharf’s theloft. They needed to show charm, wit, deft ‘tending skill and a drink with no small amount of punch to win over the judges – which in this case was the bloodthirsty revellers themselves.

Burlesque performers, Bella Pistol and Holly J’aDoll, made for excellent ring-side entertinment 
The barkeeps were each given a station where they had to bust out drinks for the Shakedown guests who would decide their fate. As if this wasn’t enough the contenders had to enter the ring (litterally) and entertain the crowd for a round – giving them the chance to sway the audience with a knockout performance.   

Victoria Room's LPC (“yeah you know me”) had a throng five deep in front of his bar station. His drink – the Louisiana inspired, Sazerac Rye laced, Turtle Soup – was a delight. I remain unsure, however, if the rabble in front of him was dazzled by his amazing chat or in a mild state of hypnosis due to his mesmerizingly slow production of drinks. Next to him was the itinerant Irishman Mr Ben McFarlane (Rockpool B&G) who together Stitch’s Matteo Fabbris had the ladies swooning with their exotic accents and potent potables. Max Grecco, from Eau De Vie, was thankfully tucked around the corner where his sabring of Champagne bottles was least likely to take out somebody’s eye. 

A victorious Nielsen Braid
Ultimately, and surprisingly given Grecco’s charismatic on-stage performance, it was Nielsen Braid (my ex-co-worker at Gardel’s Bar at Porteño) who took home Shakedown Heavyweight belt. And he did it with a blazer no less. It's a challenging drink at the best of times and an impressive feat of ‘tending prowess to deliver it successfully to so many people. 

When asked about how sweet it was to take out the comp Braid said: "Awesome! I've never won a comp before. It's was just surreal." 

For his efforts, Braid, who can now be found tending bar at The Corner House, scored a $600 bottle of Armand de Brignac and ‘a day in the life of a rock star’, starting with a chauffeur-driven tour of Sydney in a classic Australian cruiser, the 1964 EH Holden Premier and ending with dinner-for-two at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple restaurant.

I'm proud to count Nielsen among my acquaintances
My High Tea 
(serves two)
120ml Junipero Gin
20ml Agave nectar (cut 1:1)
4 Large swathes of orange zest
Ditto of lemon
4 Cloves 
1 Cinnamon quill
1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea
6 Dashes chamomile bitters 

Add gin and agave nectar to a Blazer mug or (steel milk frothing jug in a pinch). Ignite the liquid with a kitchen blowtorch and add other ingredients before passing from on jug to the other. Try to get a bit of height whilst doing this as aeration will aid the burning of the alcohol.*

*NB. This technique requires a bit of practice with un-ignited liquid before attempting live.And yes the burning of the alcohol is essential in bringing the drink down to a palatable proof.