That’s the spirit

I think DD is starting to enjoy being my “handbag” at media functions …

That’s how he described himself to guests at a whisky matching dinner we went to last night, held at Bennelong, the fancy restaurant at the Sydney Opera House.

Neither of us would classify ourselves as big whisky fans, but … Bennelong!

So we rocked up a little early to enjoy a pre-dinner prosecco at the bar, then powered on with a Johnnie Walker Blue cocktail. Very fancy, as Johnnie Walker Blue retails for around $450 a bottle. The cocktail was a mix of whisky, lemon myrtle syrup, chardonnay vinegar and soda, given a good shake by a nice bartender called Sujan.

The bar gave us a prime viewing spot to watch the other guests arriving. As usual at liquor functions, everyone was about 20 years younger than us and very good looking. Most of the blokes could have modelled in their spare time when they weren’t whisky blogging (see main pic for proof).

We managed to nab a spot at the head of dinner table beside the Johnnie Walker brand ambassador, Simon McGoram, so we got all the speccy details on the rare whiskies we were drinking. Bennelong chef Peter Gilmour also gave a speech about rare vegetables – our entree included something called a lion’s mane mushroom.

The attractive people surrounding us were surprisingly nice and down to earth, so we had a lovely time chatting to them over our three courses – slow braised pork belly with mushrooms, shaved squid and sea cucumber crackling, wagyu steak with roasted onion yorkshire pudding and horseradish emulsion, and creme caramel vs mille feuille.

Oh, which were matched with Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Brora, Johnnie Walker Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen and Johnnie Walker Blue.

They’re called “ghost” because the whisky comes from distilleries that closed down many years ago, but are now being revived to capitalise on the whisky boom.

My favourite was the one being launched, Port Ellen.  As I’m not a whisky person, I can’t tell you why, it just seemed smoother. Mind you, after that double nip cocktail I was pretty zen about everything that was put in front of me.

Being at Bennelong brought back memories of attending a launch there in my Cosmopolitan days.

A fellow Cosmonaut and I were chatted up by Siimon the advertising guru there, remember him? He’ll be forever known as “Simon with two i’s” because it was regarded as pretty wacky to have messed around with your name like that in the 90s.  Nowadays no one would blink an eyelid about how many extra vowels you added.

Anyways, Siimon and his flatmate Bradley invited my mag mate and I back to their place for a party. We hopped into Siimon’s convertible and zoomed giddily off to their Bondi bachelor pad, only to discover it was a “party” for four … awkward …

As my mag mate and I were both in relationships, that sort of intimate gathering wasn’t on our agenda – we admired the amazing ocean view for a while, then made our excuses and skedaddled. In our haste, my mate left one of her designer stilettos behind …

Unlike the fairytale, Prince Siimon didn’t search the kingdom for the owner of the stiletto, which meant lots of embarrassing phone calls the next day to retrieve it.

Bennelong doesn’t look much different to the way it did that night. The Sydney Opera House is such a retro cool hang. Although those lofty ceilings make it tricky to air condition in a heatwave. Steamy!

DD and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a long way from our average Tuesday night! Here are some happy snaps:


Song of the day: Pink “Raise your glass”

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