It’s a bloody long way to get to Ireland and I don’t think they had a longer flight option with Virgin! So do yourself a favour and don’t almost kill yourself trying to fit in a full tour of Ireland and get back to Sydney in just a week. Crazy! With such limited time available I decided to focus my trip on pubs and all things whiskey related, unfortunately giving their iconic castles and fabled racetracks a miss.
Bali is truly an international destination. It attracts visitors from all over the world including huge numbers of Japanese, Russians, Dutch, and French and of course Australians – unfortunately the latter don’t have the best reputation due to their well-deserved trouble making ways (at least try saying you’re a Kiwi if your having trouble getting into a club). Think planeloads of bogan Bathurst 100 supporters and Jim Beam & Cola Can drinkers all wearing Bintang shirts and braded hair running amuck. That’s our typical Aussie visitor.
This trip to Middle America was something I always wanted to do over the past 12 years of publishing Bartender magazine but never had the balls to just book it and go myself.
The past week has seen 45 bartenders put through their paces at the annual Smirnoff Black Copper Cup Semi Finals. Held across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, this year’s educational component was hosted by Agusti Vidal; a freelance perfume consultant from Spain.
The 2009 Australian Bartender Magazine Bartender of the Year Competition (sponsored by Club Suntory) brought out the best of Australian bartending talent in a competition that tested their knowledge of the backbar with a gruelling written exam, their ability to serve a custromer, their savvy at identifying the ingredients in a cocktail in a blind tasting and their skill at presenting and creating two signature cocktails to a panel of esteemed critics.
Sitting at a computer all day I do have the luxury of being able to do things like read the New York Times online which has proved to be an inspiration on a number of fronts. Towards the end of last year, for instance, I came across a blog on the site called Proof : Alcohol and American Life…
Let me say first off, to save a flood of corrective comments, that yes, I know a gin and tonic is not technically a cocktail. At least it isn’t when served in a glass, but what if it is atomised and suspended as a cloud in a tiny room and inhaled by intrepid cocktailians in boiler suits?
The cocktail shaker is far more than a simple tool for bartenders to prepare drinks in. It has over the past century become a symbol for civilized society, for elegance, sophistication and the embodiment of good times… Sven Almenning dusts off some antique gems and takes a look at the history behind this, the most indispensable of bar tools…