Salvatore Calabrese in Sydney, Haku Vodka, Merivale Chivas Cocktail Competition, Grey Goose X Maison Labiche, Mackmyra Intelligens, Absinthe de Pontarlier & more in this week’s bar/spirited news & recommended reads.
Salvatore Calabrese in Australia
Salvatore Calabrese, aka Cocktail Maestro visited Australia with De Kuyper The Works. He shared stories about his career, ‘After Dinner Cocktails’ and advice on what makes a great bartender to 505 attendees in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Cocktails & Bars caught up with the Cocktail Maestro for a brief chat.
“What bartenders today are mostly getting wrong is the focus on the mixology to the detriment of hospitality, care and service. The bartender may make me an incredible drink but it doesn’t give me the soul, the hospitality. It makes me feel cold.” The other point he made is the way some work as in the handling of ice. “They may have the skill to shave and cut the chunk of ice but they also shake hands and take money. Sometimes cool doesn’t mean better.”
On who’s leading the the cocktail scene at the moment:
“There are many great people leading the world as long as they bring hospitality with that. I don’t care about their mixologist’s work because some people become very well known as mixologists and create this chemistry of drink that I would not be able to do. But it’s easy to be in the top because of what you do and it’s easy to be knocked down quickly and forgotten, because there’s always the next one. You reach a level of not being known for your professionalism, for your care, for your artistry of making some great drinks. That may be the key to longevity, and you can reach my age and still do it.”
Following the release of Roku Gin in 2018, Beam Suntory have launched Haku Vodka (40% ABV) distilled from 100% pure Japanese rice. The rice is fermented with “rice koji” to create a mash which is then distilled in pot stills in Kagoshima. The distillate is then split in half and sent to two distilleries. At the Osaka plant, it undergoes a second distillation in column stills which imparts lighter aromatic flavours, while at the Chita plant it undergoes a pot distillation to extract rounder flavours. The distillates are then blended together before undergoing filtration through charcoal bamboo then cut with filtered water to 40%. Haku Vodka has a slightly sweeter style of vodka with an aromatic note reminiscent of sake, a creamy mouthfeel that finishes with a light citrus and grassy note.
Merivale Chivas Cocktail Competition
Coogee Pavilion Rooftop hosted the Merivale Cocktail Competition with Chivas Regal on Sunday 1 September. Contestants were tasked with creating a a cocktail that breaks the mould of the traditional whisk(e)y cocktail. Joseph Stephens from Little Felix came first, winning a trip for two to Hobart, with lodge accommodation, dinner at Franklin and tickets to MONA. Thomas Cecere from Charlie Parker’s came in second place and Sanim Sojib from Ms G’s came third. The competition judges were Paul Mant (Merivale), Emily Andrew (Pernod-Ricard), and Corinne Mossati (Cocktails & Bars, Gourmantic).
Grey Goose X Maison Labiche
Grey Goose Vodka has collaborated with Parisian fashion label Maison Labiche to create the Grey Goose x Maison Labiche limited edition Riviera bottle. Its unique wave design was inspired by trips taken by Maison Labiche co-founders to the Côte d’Azur and the shores of Pampelonne beach in the French Riviera.
The ‘Paris to Pampelonne’ cocktail was created for the new collaboration: 35ml Grey Goose, 15ml St-Germain, 15ml lemon juice, shaken, topped with 60ml soda water, splash of extra virgin olive oil and garnished with lemon zest. The third annual instalment in the Grey Goose Riviera series will be available in Australia from 1 November 2019.
Mackmyra Intelligens AI-Created Whisky
We know some distilleries are totally automated but would you trust whisky production to artificial intelligence? Swedish whisky Mackmyra Intelligens is the ‘world’s first’ whisky created using an artificial intelligence (AI) programme. AI was provided feedback such as reviews, ratings and brand ambassador evaluations, which it analysed using an algorithm in order to develop the final Intelligens recipe based on what drinkers liked. (source)
Absinthe de Pontarlier Receives Protected Geographic Indication
France has finally received “protected geographical indication” (PGI) status for Absinthe de Pontarlier. Although absinthe can be produced anywhere, in order to be called Absinthe de Pontarlier”, specific guidelines need to be met including the amount of thujone being a minimum of 20 mg per litre. (source)
- The Berlin Distillery That Decoded Chartreuse (source)
- How beer is inspiring a new wave of whisky (source)
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