Well… where to even begin? In a perfect world, Liquid Intel should only ever encompass three of the very best drinks in Sydney (and on occasion, places further afield) I’ve consumed within any given month; but this May, I find myself in the unique yet not unwelcome position of having too many highlights to slip into our usual three-part format.
So, before we get into the crux of our monthly recommendations, I think it’s only fair to namecheck a couple of venues/products that would otherwise fall through the cracks – always a possibility when you’re working with this kind of arbitrary monthly format.
At Clam Bar, messrs Andy Tyson; Dan Pepperell; and Mikey Clift continue to propagate the capital-d Dining experience they pioneered with restaurants like Pellegrino 2000.
Avoiding predictable conversations about the food menu – this is a drinks column, after all – the new venue is worth a quick fly-by if you’re as unrelenting about drinking a good Martini in the wild as I am. Served in fluted Kimura stemware that is, appropriately, cold to the touch; these are among the very best I’ve had at a venue in the city.
In other news, we’ve been drinking a little bit of Overeem’s ‘Man of Promise’ here in the office – a marriage of four exceptional single cask whiskeys that seems forever sold out at big box retailers. Do yourself a favour and track a bottle down. Whether you like port, sherry or American oak finishes, there really is something here for everybody.
Now, time to crack onto everything else.
Out On The Town: Story Bar At MACq 01, Hobart
Off the back of a wider trip I took to Hobart to see a lot of new watches from Seiko earlier this May, I was able to visit the characterful dockside premises that encompass MACq01 – the third (and newest) property from prolific Tasmanian hotelier Federal Group.
On-premises, EVOLVE, the property’s specialty cocktail bar, tends to receive a steady volume of foot traffic; but if you’re in the mood to sample a few quintessentially Tassie libations, my money is on Story Bar next door.
A fitting place to while away your afternoon – complete with heated outdoor seating – the venue is currently running its ‘Arras In The City’ promo: a flight of four cuvées from the eponymous Pipers River winemaker, including canapes and the vaunted 2014 Grand Vintage.
Priced at $95 per head, this is a very compelling ‘starter pack’ for those who wish to learn a little more about New World sparkling – a category that Arras Winemaker Ed Carr has loomed large in for over 10 years.
Going Upstream: Krondorf ‘King’s Mantle’ Shiraz 2019
Tasted as part of a five-bottle-strong brand showcase, my initial reaction to Krondorf’s new ‘Icon’ release – dubbed ‘King’s Mantle’ – proved very encouraging. Like a lot of Barossa winemakers operating in the vicinity, the specialty here appears to be resilient varietals including grenache, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz – all of which we tasted either solo or as constituent parts of a bigger blend.
The majority of the portfolio errs on the well-made, accessible side (roughly priced between $36-$65) but in conversation with Nick Badrice, the estate’s Head Winemaker, it was clear ‘King’s Mantle’ is intended to amplify the Krondorf appeal with a specific kind of well-heeled, acquisitive consumer.
Given the +$100 price tag, a couple of the technical specifics are worth reiterating: per Badrice, the ‘King’s Mantle’ always consists of a “single parcel of ultra-premium fruit” selected by hand; in turn crafted with “a traditional winemaking approach where minimalism is key”.
That means shiraz picked from 25-year-old vines in the northern part of the Barossa Ranges; which are then pressed into barrels that are individually tasted for quality and their suitability to the overarching character of the 2019 vintage. Currently offering up big lashings of milk chocolate and black peppercorn, supported by a pliable framework of tannin, it’s easy to imagine this vintage living happily to middle age should you have enough space in the Vintech.
Try This At Home: The Gold Rush (ft. Maker’s Mark)
A real yellow card offence by yours truly, this latest ‘Try This At Home’ reccy has been supplied by a premium spirits brand we’ve been doing some work – Bourbon distiller, Maker’s Mark.
Evidently, the Kentucky label were so smitten with the ‘Gold Rush’ recipe – a modern classic in every sense of the word – that they’re currently promoting it at F&B venues all around Sydney – and for good reason.
Originally, a playful albumen-free riff on the Whisky Sour (invented by legendary New York barman Sasha Petraske for one of his regulars) the Gold Rush recipe works by eking every ounce of flavour out of a smattering of ingredients.
Like a lot of mixed beverages that make the leap to widespread popularity, this shaken whisky cocktail is a miracle of contradictions: strong yet refreshing, simple but never boring, and easy enough to DIY that even Nana’s liable to have a go.
Method: Combine Bourbon, lemon juice and honey syrup in an ice-filled shaker. Shake ingredients until chilled. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
- Bourbon whiskey (e.g. Maker’s Mark), 60ml
- Lemon juice, 22.5ml
- Honey syrup (3:1 honey to water ratio), 22.5ml