Since I started editing a website called drinks bulletin, I’ve been getting a few invites to booze launches and cocktail competitions. Generally they’re on nights when I have the kids, but one popped up on a Monday … at Marble Bar … so I jumped at it!
Having not grown up in Sydney, Marble Bar doesn’t spark the same dizzy memories for me as for people of my vintage who spent their 20s lurking there. But it’s a pretty gorgeous slice of history that I’m thrilled the Hilton has preserved.
I invited DD along as my date, though I heard him loudly announce to one of the bartenders that he was there as my “handbag”. We were about 20 years older than everyone else, who mainly consisted of hipster blokes with buns and hyper young women loudly filming themselves on their iPhones.
Being there made me wish we WERE in our 20s again, especially since one of DD’s friends recently gave me this photo of him (which he hates but I love – I can’t stop staring at it!!!!), plus a bonus pic of me in my 20s …
Instead we looked like this:
It’s sooooooo weird to have missed out on the first 50 years of each other’s lives.
The event was the Woodford Reserve Cocktail Challenge and these were the finalists (no women sadly) …
I had lovely conversations with the two blokes on the far right while they mixed me yummy drinks, they were sweethearts. The one in the white shirt was from Perth, while the other one is from Brissie.
Matt Linklater from Melbourne’s Black Pearl (second from left), won the Challenge, which involved bartenders from across Australia creating their own take on the classic Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned as well as coming up with an original Woodford Reserve Rye cocktail.
The grand prize was a visit to the Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky and to New York City to attend the Manhattan Experience.
Linklater created ‘Natural Order’ (above), featuring Woodford Reserve Rye, pomegranate vinegar, grenadine, White Ale Umeshu, soap bark extract and Limonata.
His co-finalists were Simon Hopkins from Surly’s BBQ & Beer, who created the ‘Jaffa Manhattan’ – rye, Curacao Rosso, chocolate porter beer syrup and chocolate bitters; Vini Wang, who created the ‘Appellation’ – rye, apple, pear, sugar & clove syrup, egg white and Angostura Bitters; Joshua O’Brien from The Bowery, who created ‘Cream of the Crop’ – corn, mandarin, sage, rye, Angostura Bitters and black pepper; and James Connolly from Long Chim, who created the ‘Old Oscar Pepper” – rye, salted maple syrup, Chambord, raspberry coulis, lemon juice, white pepper and mint.
DD ducked around getting them all for me to photograph and I drank far too much of the Jaffa Manhattan, while DD became increasingly annoyed that the nibbles comprised teeny morsels such as some crab on a spoon and parmesan crisps with little rolls of cured meat on top. He wanted REAL food.
Within 90 short minutes I was unable to sip another cocktail and remain upright, so, embarrassingly, we snuck out before sunset and went home to eat toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches on my couch.
Here are some photos from the night (it’s very dim in Msrble Bar):
Song of the day: Soft Cell “Tainted Love”