Liquid Intel: High Times At El Primo Sanchez, A New Dom Pérignon Vintage, & More
— Updated on 14 June 2023

Liquid Intel: High Times At El Primo Sanchez, A New Dom Pérignon Vintage, & More

— Updated on 14 June 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Apologies again folks! Following a few fits and starts to the beginning of the month, we’re finally back with the much-delayed, latest edition of Liquid Intel: a regular hitlist of new bar openings, cocktail recipes, and wine recs penned by Randy, Boss Hunting‘s our erstwhile wine & spirits guy.

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For February, there was a marked emphasis on everything shiny and brand new. The beginning of the year is habitually a time when things begin ramping up in the beverage industry, evident from 2 of our 3 highlights in Feb – a new venue opening and vintage launch respectively. Let’s get into it.

Out On The Town: El Primo Sanchez, Sydney

Liquid Intel
Image Credit: Steven Woodburn

Yet another extremely solid innings from The Maybe Group – best known for ‘World’s 50 Best’ bolthole Maybe Sammy – El Primo Sanchez offers the kind of irreverent, Desperado-tinged energy that has been largely absent in Paddington (a suburb better known for its hatted fine diners and $31 schnittys). Until now.

Those in search of a down-at-heel tequilaria might be best served looking elsewhere; yet we’re confident that there’s enough fun stuff going on here to charm all but the most ascetic agave lover. For everyone else – particularly those set on a raucous evening out, fueled by delicious, rapidly poured beverages and impromptu karaoke – the new Maybe Group venue uses its splashy and highly ‘grammable premises as cover for what is, upon closer inspection, a whip-smart cocktail bar.

Instead of hokey classics or molecular mixology – both categories this writer feels like the industry could do with less of – El Primo Sanchez constrains its focus to the imbibed culture of Latin America. Going far beyond lip service, the signature drinks menu has been developed from recipes penned by the venue’s largely Latino bartending staff. Priced at a flat rate of $24 per glass (or $69 per jug) there are eclectic crowdpleasers like a Patrón Silver slushy favoured with strawberry gum or the ‘Gimlet El Maiz’ that gets its toasty profile from a cordial infused with spent tortillas.

My personal favourite? The Horchata Colada. Made on a ‘rested’ Patron tequila, this by turns velveteen and citrus-zingy frozen cocktail cherry-picks the best parts of rice milk (horchata) and the eponymous Piña Colada. Offering the texture and richness of your favourite Weis Bar, intermingled with flavours of lime, macadamia, and tropical coconut; it’s a fantastic snapshot of what you can expect steeping into El Primo Sanchez – moreish flavours, laughs aplenty, and the knowledge you’ll be back sooner than you think.

‘Last Of The Mohicans’: Dom Pérignon 2013

Liquid Intel
Image Credit: Randy Lai // @styleternity

Like most people with a basic inkling for self-preservation, my appetite for a tipple runs parallel with our proximity to the weekend. So trust the slick saboteurs at Moët Hennessy to confound all of my well-meaning plans last Monday – with an invitation to be among the first consumer-facing journos in Australia to take the 2013 vintage of Dom Pérignon to task.

Framed by a wonderful menu of, among other things, dry-aged yellowfin and Queensland coral trout cooked over charcoal (courtesy of Saint Peter’s Josh Niland), 2013 appears – at this very nascent stage – to have the makings of a sleeper vintage. Jovially nicknamed by winemaker Jean-Baptiste Terlay (on hand for the evening’s festivities) as the ‘Last of The Mohicans’, the 2013 vintage is one of a small handful that Dom Pérignon have crafted with fruit from a late harvest.

Most of the bunches were picked in October: as a result of delayed flowering in the spring and bouts of hail during summer. In spite of those challenges, Dom Pérignon’s expert vineyard management and finely controlled yields have resulted in a vintage that sits somewhere between the star power of 2008 and the intensity of 2012.

Still fairly shy in the nosing, the blend for the ’13 vintage leans a little more heavily into Pinot Noir – unfurling plum and tropical fruit aromas after some time spent in-glass. These notes carry forth on the palate, which while currently still on the underdeveloped side offers plenty of short-term drinking pleasure – a testament to the skill and killer instinct this Grande Maison’s winemakers have to demonstrate in the midst of difficult climate conditions.

Try This At Home: Antonello Arzedi’s Affogato Punch, Alberto’s Lounge

‘Lello’ Arzedi (pictured) garnishing his Affogato punch with a sliver of ice cream – an Alberto’s Lounge signature.

For our February edition of Liquid Intel, I’m pleased to share with the BH crew our first ever, bona fide dessert cocktail recipe. Halfway between tiramisu and your typical digestivo, this Affogato ‘punch’ comes to us from the crack operators at Alberto’s Lounge – notably, Mr. Antonello Arzedi.

Known to Sydney’s bar-hopping masses simply as ‘Lello’, the Swillhouse Beverage Director has spent a literal lifetime in hospitality – beginning his career bussing trattoria tables in his native Sardinia, before working across hotel groups and emblematic Sydney venues such as Will’s (Coogee Pavilion).

Now on the cusp of launching two new venues for Swillhouse before the year is out, I was chuffed when Lello agreed to take time out of his hectic schedule to furnish us with a recipe that plays well with meals – one that will get more of us excited about the prospect of mixing and matching old-school liqueurs:

“After a meal in most Italian restaurants, the standard offering consists of something like tiramisu. At Alberto’s, we feel like our offering offers a cool point of difference.

We came up with the idea to take the classic affogato – a combination of an espresso shot, vanilla ice cream and liqueur – and turn that into a cocktail.

Our Affogato ‘punch’ is a post-meal cocktail that also works as a dessert: creamy, spirit-forward and full of hazelnut flavours. Replicating it at home isn’t hard: all that’s required of the process is patience.

You can find all the necessary ingredients at any run-of-the-mill liquor store; although, at Alberto’s, our genuine love of coffee has resulted in co-development of our own blend with Mecca (Alexandria) – an institution in the world of coffee.”

Antonello Arzedi

Method: Combine all ingredients, taking care to add the vanilla ice cream last. Mix gently. Leave to rest for roughly 30 minutes. Strain with a cheesecloth (you can use three layers of paper towel to substitute). Allow the liquid to filter naturally – under no circumstances should you squeeze the cloth. Once you’ve finished straining, bottle and refrigerate. Serve over ice.

  • Havana Club Anejo 7, 400ml
  • Disaronno, 150ml
  • Toschi Nocello, 150ml
  • Mr. Black, 200ml
  • Coffee (espresso), 150ml
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 30ml
  • Vanilla ice cream, 300ml*

*Editor’s Note: Your ice cream should be completely dissolved, before combining with the other ingredients.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].