The Roundup: Creativity, curiosity, best practice tiki and loads more

In The Roundup, editor Sam Bygrave rounds up some of the highlights from that you may have missed, and shares what he’s been reading (and listening to) to calm his anxiety of not being in New Orleans.

It’s been a big week in the bar world. If, like me, your social media feed has been bombarded with the airport check-ins of those lucky souls on their way to Tales of the Cocktail, you may be feeling a distinct sense of missing out. So to take my mind off things, I’ve been getting stuck into some reading as well as listening to a couple of great podcasts — the links are below, as well as some of the notable stories from us this week (do check out the tiki menu — it’s a killer).

So, just how many bitters do you need? We asked three top bartenders to share their advice
Need a grapefruit and lavender bitters? There’s a brand with that. Or perhaps, no, you need oolong tea notes with your grapefruit bitters? There’s a bitters for that, too. Garlic Cocktail Spice? Unicorn Tears? You get the idea. There’s a seemingly endless varieties of bitters for you to play with, but which types are the essentials? Brisbane’s Ella Rhodes (Cobbler), Perth’s James Connolly (Long Chim), and Melbourne’s Nick Cozens (Eau de Vie) share their advice.

Menu inspiration: take a look at the cocktail list from Chicago tiki bar, Three Dots and a Dash
Are your ready to Rock Out With Your Conch Out? Take a look at the tikitastic drinks list from Chicago bar, Three Dots and a Dash. This menu is a great example of a menu done right, and it’s easy to see how this type of menu can be done poorly. It’s easy to mess up, so take a look and see how it’s done.

And while we’re on the topic of tiki, watch Tom Bulmer talk tiki culture as he makes the Test Pilot, a Don the Beachcomber tiki classic.


Want to open a bar? Don’t miss the speakers at The Business of Bars Conference
Want to open a bar? Don’t miss these speakers at The Business of Bars during Sydney Bar Week 2017 — there’s only around 20 seats left, so you’ll want to get on to this pronto. I mean seriously, how often do you get the chance to hear from industry players of this calibre?

Some of the stories we’ve been reading this week.

Why I collect cocktail shakers
Sven Almenning | Gourmet Traveller
Sven Almenning, the guy behind the Speakeasy Group and bars like Eau de Vie, Boilermaker House, and Mjolner, has amassed a considerable collection of cocktail shakers over the years. I’m fascinated by people who are collectors, because I just don’t have that level of commitment. What makes someone collect such a thing? Check out the story to find out.

The craft cocktail revolution is over. Now what?
Kevin Alexander | Thrillist
So, I’m not quite sure what to think about this story but it’s worth a read nonetheless. It’s a very-US centric piece, but some of the issues that Alexander covers apply to Australia, too — particularly the shortages of skilled staff.

But then again, haven’t great bartenders always been in short supply?

A note of thanks
Blog | ATLAS Singapore
Singapore’s ATLAS is coming over for a great pop-up at Sydney Bar Week this September. They’ve got a crazy gin program happening at the place — you can read about the genesis of the bar here as well — and they’ve described the program here.

Why are humans so curious?
Jessica Gross | Longreads
OK, so, this isn’t about bartending per se, and the bloke is an astrophysicist, but trying to understand the nature of curiosity is something that transcends fields. And given that Mario Livio, the interview subject in this story, worked on the Hubble telescope project for some 25 years and knows a thing or two about curiosity, this makes for interesting reading for anyone involved in a creative pursuit.

“Most people think children are very curious, and that adults somehow lose their curiosity. But I think that’s not exactly true. What I think we do lose is some of the search for novelty and the ability to be surprised. Children have a lot of questions because they are constantly surprised or, again, want to understand cause and effect. Those are things that adults already know or lose interest in somewhat. They are a little bit more set in their ways, and they are not searching as much for novel, surprising experiences.”

Oh, and Livio also explains the whole universe expanding into nothing thing which tends to hurt my brain. It’s a long, rewarding read.

And listen to this…

Because sometimes our eyes are a little lazy and we want to hear the words instead of reading them.

The Four Top
The Four Top is a podcast that looks at issues in the food world each week, but this week’s episode skewed towards the liquid side: the guests on the show — which is really nicely produced, by the way — were Jim Meehan (you know, the guy who opened PDT and said this about thinking of your bar career long-term); Alice Feiring, the wine writer who publishes The Feiring Line, a natural wine newsletter; and Christian DeBenedetti, who’s written about craft beer and makes the stuff, too.

The roundtable discussion talks all things canned beverages — the good and the bar reasons for using them — as well as natural wine. They’re smart people talking smart stuff and it just makes you feel smart listening to it, too.

The Hospopreneurs Podcasts
Yes, the name could be a little tricky to pronounce after a round of Daiquiris, but here’s a newish podcast that’s interviewing some homegrown bar and drinks personalities — we listened to the chat with Cameron Pirret whom you may know from (stories like this one and this one). They discuss cocktail competitions, tips for coming up with drinks, and creativity more broadly. The conversation is long and freewheeling, but when you’ve got smart drinks people talking we think that’s good thing. This a podcast to keep an eye on.

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