Why is it now, that after only three short years, I find myself writing about moving on and leaving Canvas behind? After just three years of great success within the Australian bar scene we have decided to sell Canvas.
Why not a Taste the Spirit Movement to encourage more recognition for spirits, like wines, as products of nature and more, as products of history and legend, with tastes, flavours and colours to reflect an immense diversity of local custom and ingredients capable of generating drinks for every occasion?
I’m prompted to ask the question by Café Pacifico’s recent closure, surely a bar to represent a benchmark for expressing a team’s passion for a spirit and a bar that demonstrated everyone’s right to enjoy spirits beyond brand statements but as memorable drinking experiences particularly those who arrive at a bar full of prejudice or just ill-informed.
You don’t turn down an invitation to tour Mexico’s distileries with Tomas Estes and Phil Bayly. David Spanton got the rundown on some of the best distilleries in Tequila and in Oaxaca in our May issue; check out what he found at La Altena distillery below.
Easing the ills of mankind with booze and herbs has a long history. It goes back at least to the days of Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the father of western medicine, who proffered a recipe for vermouth to cure jaundice, rheumatism and menstrual pain, among other things. He died in 370 BC but the idea of a herbal potion would kick on.
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.
In those dark times, before the Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs and Fizzes, there was Punch. It’s the idea of the pub — an occasion in which people gather at a place in a shared (drinking) experience — where they gathered around the flowing bowl. Punch is for sharing en masse.
At the start of each year you come across articles in industry magazines or websites focusing on trends for the next 12 months that lay ahead. They normally ask some well known bartenders what they think will be “the big thing” and in the past we have seen molecular mixology, barrel aging, bottled cocktails, bourbon, rye, gin, rye again…. and so on.
Give a man a fish, and he will eat for one day; but teach him to fish, and sell that fish on and he’ll start making some money. Should he flake the fish up, adulterate it with something of a fish-like texture and then sell it on, he’ll make loads more.
Sure, barrels were used to keep things in for a long time, from one harvest to another, say. But the idea that the character of the liquid inside happened to change — in a way that people found pleasing — is really a secondary, happy happenstance.
Bars, dogs, drinks and a month of good times for a good cause: Parched March has kicked off for its fourth year. Once again, Sydney’s bars have whole-heartedly supported the city’s annual charity bar odyssey, joining long-time supporters such as The Keystone Group and Hugo’s.
Fortified wines seemed to have had their day not long ago. Seen as the preserve of the stuffy and old, most bars might have a bottle of port or cream sherry kicking around on their back bar, gathering cobwebs and dust. But there has been a resurgence of interest in sherry and other fortifieds, and why not?
Aquavit (or akvavit as it is known in Denmark) is one of those social spirits. It is deeply entwined with Scandinavian drinking ritual of skål, and has for hundreds of years replaced wine at their tables.