Daniel Noble has recently won the 2018 Sydney Cider Cocktail Competition, impressing the judges with his cocktail, Easy Like a Cider Morning, using Calvados with Sydney Cider, Agave & Ginger Cider reduction, Australian bush honey with cloves, lime juice and Hellfire bitters.
The Co-Owner and Licencee of the soon-to-open Old Mates Place bar speaks to us about the winning cocktail, the role of cider as a cocktail ingredient, current trends and what the Sydney bar scene needs more of.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, how long have you’ve been bartending and how you started in your career?
I have been in hospitality and sales most of my life. I started bartending full time after I returned from a few years abroad, around 24. I took stock of what I saw to be my natural strengths and all roads led to making people smile and getting them lit, i.e bartender.
You’re the winner of the 2018 Sydney Cider Cocktail Competition. Briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind “Easy Like a Cider Morning”.
I wanted to champion the cider in my drink. I wasn’t reinventing the wheel with the flavour combos, really just wanted some subtle modifiers to bring out the best elements of the cider.
Why did you choose two ciders from Sydney Cider Brewery ?
I chose to use both Sydney Cider and the Agave & Ginger Cider because firstly, it never hurts to use multiple portfolio items in a comp. Secondly, with the drink I was going for the ginger spice married well with the Hellfire bitters while the agave sweetness helped balance the champagne vinegar and citrus. The apple cider is by far my fav product from Sydney Brewery and I only have eyes for it for this comp.
Your cocktail makes use of bush honey as the Australian native ingredient. What characteristics do you believe indigenous ingredients add to cocktails?
It was a simple choice of quality. Australian bush honey has many health benefits and is collected in a sustainable way. It added the much needed viscosity and mouth feel to the drink.
How many iterations did you go through before you settled on the final recipe, and did you find anything that didn’t originally work?
Maybe two? After a while you tend to get a good idea of flavour combos and what will work, not to say it is always a pure science. I guess I got lucky that the judges and crowd like this one.
Are there any cocktail ingredients that you generally like to work with?
Anything brown (spirits wise), FRESH FRESH FRESH.
Where do you see cider positioned as a cocktail ingredient and in mixology in general?
It belongs as much as wine , beer and mixers. If it works, it works.
Are there any cocktail trends that have impressed you of late?
It sucks that it has become a word that people cringe over (sustainability) but having an environmentally and socially conscious bar is the future. Gotta save the turtles, you know ?
What does Sydney bar scene needs more of? And less of?
More live music, more bars, more awareness. Less? I dunno, I kinda like it. Nothing is perfect but the Sydney and Australian bar scene to me is like a huge family, you end up with distant relatives all round the world which is a beautiful thing.
When you’re not behind the bar, what do you like to drink?
I love my American spirits, bourbons ryes and whiskeys. Cognac and Armagnac have a solid place in my heart. The constant offender is an ice cold beer and good mates.
In partnership with Sydney Cider and Sydney Brewery.
Daniel Noble Photo Credit: Ella Miley