By David Spanton
Over the past two months you will have noticed Australian Bartender has started doing ‘Blind Tastings’ of products and wait for it… actually reviewing and rating brands! In April we looked at Australian craft beers and this issue we step it up and review both absinthe and rye spirits. Let me be clear, it’s not the magazine’s opinion of these brands but rather a selected panel of experienced bartenders who do the tasting. This selection of bartenders and brands will change each issue. I can’t think of a bigger editorial change in 150 issues and we hope you – the readers – find it an engaging read each month. Why not drop me an email if you have any feedback on how this works or if you or your bar would like to get involved with any of these tastings in future issues. On some upcoming interstate trips Sam Bygrave and myself would love to do a few of these tastings, so we’d love to hear from passionate interstate bartenders.
I’m excited to finally have part one of my Mexico adventure start in this issue. If you think you know a lot about some of the best Tequila brands and distilleries, then please read on as I’m confident that I have uncovered many weird and wonderful stats and facts by speaking to the distillers first hand. What I also managed to do is film each distillery host and most of these were brand owners or master distillers so if you want to watch some quick clips you will need to download the Australian Bartender iPad May issue from the App Store. These are not the only videos we have in May, as over the past few months we have been filming some popular editorial sections so get the App if you want more interaction with your favourite bar title.
But back on Mexico – a special thank you to Ocho Tequila’s Tomas Estes for inviting me over for this extraordinary trip as having Tomas, Phil Bayly and for part two, the legendary Ron Cooper from Del Maguey as my hosts was as good as it can possibly get. These cats live and breathe agave spirits and learning from them all was an absolute honour, so thank you guys. I hope you enjoy Mexico part one and come our special 150th June edition part two and all things Mezcal will be showcased. I’m confident there is a lot of information that even the hardened agave geeks will find new and interesting.
On other news we are closing off the 2013 Australian Bartender Bar Awards voting at the end of May — there’s just 10 days to go! — so if you haven’t voted now is the time. There are a few new awards this year and even state winners will be announced for three awards so get involved as it’s your awards voted by the trade – barweek.com.au.