Bushmills Back Bar Series takes on Melbourne

Brad Cuff.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey hit Melbourne earlier this month for its highly anticipated Back Bar Series. A mix of consumer and bartender events, Whiskey Specialists, Brad Cuff and Andy Ratcliff, hosted hundreds of drinkers at four very different takeovers across the week.

The Series kicked off with a night of impressive booze and banter at hospo hangout, Hats & Tatts, where owner, Jason Chan, and Josh Nicholson led the team in banging out Bushmills cocktails and their signature mac n cheese waffles and southern style chicken late into the night.

Next Bushmills teamed up with Australia’s Starward Whiskey for a discussion with Global Brand Educator Sacha Nourse around Old versus New World Whiskey. The intimate event at the Starward New World Whiskey Distillery in Port Melbourne saw the team compare and debate the merits of the traditional techniques used at Bushmills, the world’s oldest working distillery, with Starward’s more contemporary approach to whiskey making. Neither are better (or worse) just different and offer consumers and the trade more variety. Starward broke out its Nova, Solera and a Whiskey Club exclusive for the tasting alongside Bushmills Black Bush, 16 year old and 21 year old.

On the Wednesday, Iki-jime Seafood by Vue opened its doors to a sell-out, six course Irish Whiskey inspired seafood degustation skillfully designed to hero five Bushmills Irish Whiskey cocktails and to bring out the special flavours of the whiskey.

Andrew Ratcliff.

Cuff says, “You don’t automatically think of whiskey when you think of seafood, but the two actually marry beautifully. The soft, fruity flavours of Bushmills Black Bush worked really well with the saltiness of fish making the combination surprising and exciting.”

Wrapping up the week with a drinks and tunes takeover at Talk to Me, Peking Duk dropped into their venue for the night to get a piece of the Bushmills action. In keeping with the venue’s out-there theming and disco vibe, the drinks were based on the Classics but with a twist.

Ratcliff says, “As we all know, Whiskey has long shaken the image of a drink reserved for older generations. It’s very popular with younger generations who are braver in their choices. They are curious to try new things, which is what made these collaborations so exciting.

“Quality blended Irish Whiskey expressions like Bushmills Black Bush mixed in cocktails are completely transforming the way that whiskey is drunk these days.  It’s a great mixing spirit as its smooth, sweet flavour means it works well in a range of timeless cocktails like a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned and a Sour. What I love about Bushmills is that it’s a 400 year old spirit conquering the 21stcentury.”