Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Blogger is CRAP, and looks amateur. Im moving on up to the world of

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Top five cocktails from 1980-2010

This is a blog I've been thinking of doing for a while. Any time, anyone compiles a top-whatever list they are asking for trouble. Opinions are subjective. The way I think a Mojito should be made, may differ from how someone else thinks it should be made. What I think is right, others think is wrong. That's life, and the world we live in. I like it that way. To paraphrase Groove Armada; "If everybody looked the same, we would get tired of looking at each other..."

Here's my top-five cocktails of the last 30 years. Recipes are mine and may have been adapted from the original. Photos have been stolen from the world-wide-inter-web.

5. 'Penicillin'

Maybe I'm slightly biased here as I am well and truly 'gay' for all things Sam Ross. On this though, I think i may have a point. Sam came up with this drink in Milk & Honey NY around 2006 to utilise a fairly new staple in cocktail bars; ginger juice. Coupling this with honey, lemon and smokey whisky was something so simple, but so beautiful - and it hadn't been done before. Sam and the team at M&H NY make so many of these Sam is thinking of changing his name to "Penicillin Ross" by deed poll.

50ml Famous Grouse Scotch
20ml Ginger Juice (Sweetened)
20ml Honey Syrup (3:1)
20ml Lemon Juice
10ml Compass Box Peat Monster

Shaky shaky, serve on a large rock of ice. Garnish with Peat Monster float and candied ginger.

4. "Bramble"

Probably the least surprising of them all from this list. To new bartenders this one sounds boring. I can already hear them say, 'Gin, lemon, sugar, blackberries? Whatever! I could of come up with that!' But really? Really could you come up with a drink so focused on classic mixology in a time where all "Cocktails" were either blended or blue? Dick Bradsell came up with this masterpiece in the 1980's at Fred's Bar in SoHo, London. I assume, based loosely around an 1860's Jerry Thomas recipe for a Gin Fix (Holland Gin, raspberries, lemon, sugar). This drink was the u-turn of how we bartend today. Making bartenders rely on balancing a drink with sweet and sour, rather than just throwing ingredients into a shaker, and hoping the drink comes out Ok.

50ml Plymouth Gin
20ml Lemon Juice
15ml Gomme (1:1)
15ml Creme de Mure (Replace with Blackberries if in season)

Build all ingredients in rocks glass. Float Mure.

3. "Precursory Cocktail"

Is it wrong of me to put one of my own drinks in this list? A little self-promotion never did any harm did it? Plus I'm really proud of this one. I came up with this in 2009 for the CLASS UK Bartender of the Year competition. I think of it as an improvement on the Blackthorne Cocktail (Sloe Gin, Rosso, Lemon, Bitters) from the 1910's. My love of cheap Tawny Port is no secret and I wanted a way to enjoy it as an aperitif. I'd like to think this cocktail as something you can enjoy any time of the day. Hence the name. It's pairing of no base spirit and two types of wine is also quite rare. No base spirit means low cost also. Great for your bars' bottom line. You will have to excuse my vanity in including this one.

35ml Tawny Port
35ml Antica Formula Vermouth
10ml Gomme (1:1)
5ml Lemon Juice
2 dash Fee's Orange Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake HARD, serve up. Garnish with oil of small lemon peel.

-NO PHOTO- (...sorry...)

2. "London Calling"
The only drink to appear on every M&H London menu, the London Calling was created around 2002 by Chris Jepson for a Drinks International magazine competition. Utilising London's, London dry gin (Beefeater), a little sugar and lemon. The drink comes alive when paired with the unfashionable dry sherry and bitters. Nutty, dry, fruity, this drink has it all. A grapefruit-peel garnish is contemporary and perfectly paired. Delicious!

40ml Beefeater Gin
10ml Lemon Juice
10ml Gomme (1:1)
15ml Tio Pepe Sherry (Fresh bottle please)
2 dash Fee's orange bitters

Shaky, shaky, serve up. Pink Grapefruit peel garnish.

1. Pharmaceutical Stimulant (AKA. Vodka Espresso)
Endearingly called the Espresso Martini in Australia, this is the second drink from Dick Bradsell to grace this list. Apparently first made with Tia Maria, apparently first made at Pharmacy (makes sense) in London, in the early 1990's. Dick has been interviewed saying it was also a creation of his at Fred's Bar. Regardless of the conflicting etymology this cocktail has to be one of the sexiest drinks of all time. Sleek, and all class. Perhaps Tequila instead of Vodka improves the cocktail? Perhaps Kim Beazley would of made a great prime-minister if he weren't as generously portioned? I don't care, I'm happy with the original. Hat's off to a drink that can be spawned from an ingredient like coffee so commonly found in bars, yet at the time, so rarely used.

35ml Vodka
15ml Kahlua
5ml Gomme (1:1)
30ml Chilled Espresso

Shake in short, hard bursts to achieve maximum foam.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Class act..

Wow, its been a long time since I've blogged! A lot has definitely happened. Some Chilean miners were trapped underground and have since miraculously resurfaced. (Personally, I liked them better when they were underground). Paul Hogan turned 71, and there has been a Unicorn sighting in Canada! (For those that don't read, It's true).

Personally, I wrapped up my whirl-wind tour of a fantastic New York summer, checked into London for a week to say emotional goodbyes to old friends above the equator, stopped into Australia for 36 hours (enough time for a round of golf in the sunshine, a BBQ, a kick of the football, a game of poker with old buddies and, something I perhaps missed more than life it self, a Red Rooster strip-sub combo), then I flew out to Singapore to do a comprehensive tour, and series of training sessions for some five-star hotels. Phew!

Now I'm back in Australia, sleeping in and enjoying not having a job for now. Things have finally slowed down, and I've spent my last couple of days going for runs, making soup, playing with my buddies kid, and drinking lager. As well as this I'm on the net hanging off every piece of information I could get as to who are this years winners at the U.K's CLASS Bar awards.

To start, a few of my good friends were both up for some acknowledgement. Jon Cowley, my old Milk & Honey boss won best Bar Manger for his work at Red Hook. A place that he is not even bar manager at, in a place that isn't even a bar. Oh well, well done anyway homie. Another was David Fisher who commendably made the top ten of the Bartender of the Year competition. Bad luck buddy, I was rooting for you. It would of been nice to see another Aussie guy from Milk & Honey bring home the bacon. You see this competition brings back a lot of memories for me. I won it last year. Some bad, but mostly good. Ill get to that later..

A lot of people ask me what it's like to compete and be judged 'Best Bartender in the Country'. A lot of people don't care. I tell this story to them if they care or not, to anyone that wants to know so i don't have to tell the story again. Here it is..

Pre-Competition day: A week earlier I had just got back from a junket in Aberdeen. The good people at Chivas Regal had sent me, and Ian Daws from The Player to Scotland to drink whisky, eat, drink whisky, tour distilleries, drink whisky and fortunately for me, find something other than whisky, Pastis, and drink pastis. My liver had taken a pounding and I got home to find a email telling me i had made the Top-ten of the Bartender of the Year competition. Exciting stuff. The drink I had entered was a all-wine concoction that was adapted from an old Blackthorne recipe. The drink was tasty and I would have to make that for a panel of judges, along with a written exam, and make a classic cocktail for Simon Difford the following Monday. It was Thursday. In true, "How not to behave a day out from your big day", I went out on a 24 hour drinking and scrabble bender with Liam Davy. The next morning I awoke, put on my best shirt, and jumped on a bus to London Bridge. The CLASS magazine office.

Competition Day: Eleven bartenders assembled for the top ten competition. Obviously this worried me as I really did not want to have the dis-privilege of finishing 11th in a top-ten competition . None the less, I forged on, sat quietly *head still pounding*, and focused my attention on the 30 question exam that lay in front of me.

At the end of the exam I thought I had done alright. I had also managed to hand in my paper before anyone else. I was still not sure if this was a good thing or bad. The time was up and the guy next to me gave me a look after turning in his as if to say, "Well that's me done for this year!" They say 'no question is tough if you know the answer'. I guess that was the case for me as I was lucky enough for the questions to fall in my favour and get a solid 29/30 for the exam. The question I got wrong is one ill be kicking myself over forever.

What is the sole grape variety used in the production of Prosecco? Ill let you guys think it over whilst i keep writing..

Next up was the my original drink. "The Precursory Cocktail". No problems there. I was happy with my drink and excited for the judges to try it.

The last stage was the Classic drink stage. Simon Difford had every competitor make a Daiquiri. Too easy I thought. Straight away my Match Group training taught me to make a 50-20-20 spec. Served up, and unadorned. Then I see bartenders carving ice, reciting Cuban poetry, and using granulated sugar. My geeky bartender side was impressed. I stuck to my uninspired guns and bosh'd out my Match-tastic Daiquiri mumbling something along the lines of, "This is a workers drink, the beauty of it is it's uncomplicated-complexity". *Freakin' GOLD Tim Philips, GOLD!*

The winners would be announced the following night at an awards ceremony in Shoreditch. I thought I had done OK, but not great. My tip for the gong was Charles Vex from Hix to take home the title again. His 37-page Cuban poetry reciting, and ode to the Daiquiri had touched my nerd side and his original drink was triple-tasty. I looked past his obvious arrogance towards me and the other competitors, and the fact he had snubbed me on our shared bus-ride to the city after the competition. To me it didn't matter, the guy was good.

Awards Ceremony: Free and freshly made Lynchburg Lemonades became my best friend for a good part of the 90-minute ceremony. I had resigned myself to a humble DNP and had worked myself into a good head of steam by the time my name was called out as the winner of the competition. If I think back now I can remember flashes of tackling Tom Estes to the ground, getting a handshake from Ago Perrone, telling the crowd in my acceptance speech "I wasn't worthy", and using my new trophy as a drinks tray.

The following party again, is a blur. I remember waking up in the corner of Kanaloa, a newly opened tiki club, without my camera and more importantly, my trophy. A quick search found it safely stashed in two convenient pieces behind the bar. That's right, I had snapped it in half.

The next morning, thinking last night was a dream, I awoke still hugging those two pieces of my trophy and proudly smiled to my housemate, Phil Duffy, that I was the Best Bartender in the UK. He told me I wasn't even the best bartender in the house. Reality.

A lot in my life has changed for the better in the last year. Maybe people respect me a bit more, maybe I respect myself a little more? I can't lie to myself and say i didn't enjoy winning that comp but i must keep telling myself it is just a silly competition. A good friend, who I respect greatly, whom also doesn't enter cocktail competitions says he; "Wants to remembered for the work he has done, not the awards he's won". A nice throw away line that also rhymes, he's got a point though.

Congratulations to this years winner Joey Medrington. I know how you feel buddy. I'm happy to pass on my title and tiara over to you. Get ready for being put on a pedestal, never being able to give crap to fellow bartending buddies without them telling you sarcastically how 'they forgot you were the best in country', and not being able to drink Kahlua and Milk in public again. Just remember to never lose your most important bartending attribute, your humility. Awards like this tend to try to take that one away...and always, always remember Prosecco is the grape used is Prosecco production. Idiot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Growing up.

My first bar gig, like many others, began in extremely humble surroundings. I was seventeen, fresh faced out of school, and wondering what to do with my life. I had finished high school and a career teaching children was something I toyed with for a while. In the meantime -whilst I procrastinated - I took a job in the hills of Belgrave (an hour out of Melbourne city), working for an old friend who had recently converted an old post office into the Bell Tavern. All of a sudden bartending is what I wanted to do. I spent my weekends pulling beers, hustling Bourbon & cokes, and talking to girls. Or should I say girls talking to me. I guess the first real draw card to being a bartender, beside the free booze, is girls wanting to speak to you. A year and half later I was the belle of Bell Tavern and Belgrave. I moved on to the bright lights of the city.

The year: 2003. The bar: ffour. At the time Melbourne was taking off as Australia's cocktail capital. With thanks to easier liquor licensing laws, more innovative thinking and grungier venues it was leading the pack over its northern rival, Sydney. The Melbourne cocktail scene was being led by the likes of the funky Chaise Lounge, the crazy Der Raum, the institution Gin Palace, the dominant Ginger crew, Polly, Kitten Club, Cherry Bar, Honkytonks, and us at ffour. At the time I was merely a bussie for the likes of Shae Silvestro (now national Brown Forman ambassador) and one of the best bartenders in the country; Johnny Sit. I had aspirations though. I would do whatever it would take to get on that bar. Six months later I was a bartender, a year later I was head bartender. After eighteen months I would leave ffour as venue manager. A career in cocktail bartending awaited and I would leave ffour to work with another two fresh faced guys at a quiet spot in Fitzroy called Black Pearl.
Robb Sloan and Chris Boersma headed up the humble Black Pearl on Brunswick St. At the time I'm sure they could agree with me in saying Black Pearl wasn't setting the world on fire with it's cocktails. The drink list was dominated with synthetic purees, large amounts of juice-based cocktails, and flavoured vodkas. At about the same time Ginger, Australia's leading force in cocktail innovation, was going from strength to strength even after the legendary team of Sam Ross and Sebastian Reaburn had moved on. The bar team was being led by Mick Formosa and some loose kid from Brisbane, known to friends for his naked taxi-chasing escapades, but to most as 'Widge'.

I think it's fair to say the work Robb Sloan did for Black Pearl in the years he was there before I arrived is the reason the bar is as legendary as it is today. I guess i'd like to think I merley helped Robb find the energy and inspiration to keep pushing forward. And that's exactly what we did. In the two years I spent at Black Pearl Chris Boersma went from a raw newbie to one of the best bartenders i've worked with, we hired a foreign geezer named Cristiano Beretta -who for a long time - drank 97% of our Old Fashioned's sold in the place. Another guy hired was a stinky-haired hippy from the country who's classic lines on woman included the popular; "Do you wanna come back to mine and spoon?" His name is Chris Hysted.

I guess I still think the work we all did at Black Pearl was some of the best we have all ever done. Taking a small venue, owned by a lovely family and turning it into something beautiful is incredibly fulfilling. The current team of guys like Nathan Beasley, Adi Ruiz, Greg Sanderson, Evan Stanley coupled with the old brigade of last years Australian bartender of the year Chris Hysted and and the legendary - and incredibly cynical -Cristiano Beretta means that place is going from strength to strength.

I guess this post is an ode to the Melbourne bar scene, and the friends I have met from working in it. This is also a post of congratulations. Congratulations to my old friend, and cocktail competition sparring partner Jason 'Widge' Williams for taking home a well-deserved Bartender of the year title last night. Congratulations to every Melbourne bar who was nominated, but most of all congratulations to Black Pearl for winning Australia's best bar team, again. You have made me, and I'm sure all of the old Black Pearl crew proud and I look forward to joining you guys in a celebratory shot of Gin alongside a slice of some of Tash's homemade sausage rolls.

I have away for a few years now and am slowly getting older, wiser and more cynical by the day. I'm looking forward to being one of the old guys of the bartending scene. Perhaps someone that someday, somebody looks up to. My focus now is to keep staying motivated and yearning to learn and push myself even further still. If you are stuck in a rut in your respective venue, get yourself out of it. Go see what other bars are doing and take that motivation to your colleagues. Keep improving things in your bar day by day and before you know it the one-percenters will all add up. Always look forward and striving to keep improving yourself and your trade. But most of all respect and be happy for your friends achievements. Their happiness should be as important as your own.

Maybe this post was a bit 'Oprah-like'. I'm sorry if I sound like a life-loving preacher but I'm in one of those moods. A mood mixed with lashings of pride, several ounces of reminiscing, and a few drops of home sickness. Melbourne -and my friends in it- I'll see you soon.


Oh and Black Pearl guys. Ah, by the way, Do I still get staff discount on drinks?? x

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not for human consumption

I've said it once, and ill say it again. "I'm no snob when it comes to alcohol". I'm not, ill drink anything. To an extent. In my formative years i was known to take a bottle of cooking sherry to house parties. My first drunkening, at the age of fifteen, which also coincided with the last time i urinated all over myself, was induced by blue curacao & lemonade. (A personal favourite that i continued to drink up until eighteen). I've drank ouzo & coke UDL's from a beer bong, snakebites from someone else's plimsoll, snorted tequila, Manhattans from cans, ready-made TGIF long island ice tea mix, and perhaps worst of them all, Woodford Reserve's Sonoma Curtrer expression. Yuck!

However like i said, I'm more than willing to try almost anything once. And believe me, in the United States there's a lot to try. So here's my top-five guide to the worst things to drink when Stateside.

5. Southern Comfort Lime

Oh Southern Comfort, how i lavished thee with thy lips through out many a underage gathering. Mixed with Orange Juice i still believe thee to be a tasty, refreshing beverage. But LIME? Come on!? Here's my tasting notes. Open up to scents of synthetic, medicinal, liquor. Tastes initially of lime cordial, which lingers onto notes of dish water and whisky. Perhaps could be used as a industrial strength fridge cleaner. IE: Not for human consumption.

4. Miller Genuine Draft 64

There's something about generic American beer that is different to most other countries generic lagers. It could be the high amount of corn syrup added, or it could even be the fact they don't actually taste of beer. Oh, wait i second i know what it is. There is no goddam' alcohol in them! America's -and I'm sure Australia's- fascination with creating Metrosexual beers has become so rampant that's its not just the slick-haired, skinny jean brigade knocking them back, but the whole beer-drinking population. Homeless people, fathers, mothers, and hipsters alike all drink mostly beers without a alcohol statement on them, all badged with the words 'low Calorie' and 'Light.' Even the already insipid Corona gets the 'Light' treatment. The worst of these offenders however, is MGD 64. Only 64 calories per bottle! No alcohol statement means: No alcohol. Sorry.

3. Pickelback

For the uninformed, a pickleback is a shot of Jameson's, followed by a shot of pickle brine or 'juice'. I'm not joking when i say that there ARE actually people who enjoying drinking the world's most tasteless whiskey with a glass on a preservative, briny, vinegar. Now to make things worse the good people at Jameson have also released a statement condoning this practice saying, "Jameson's smooth taste complements the bitterness of the pickle juice nicely." How can this company possibly hold their product in such contempt by promoting this? This reminds me of a certain rum company years ago who were trying to get punters to eat a lime wedge dipped in ground coffee after a shot. People did it for a couple of weeks before finally realising it tasted like ass, and the remnants of coffee grinding stay in your teeth all night.

2. Strawberry Acai Smirnoff Ice

Did you know why no one had ever heard to the Acai berry before a couple of years ago? It's because its crap. I'll let you in on a little secret. Anytime you see a bartender create a drink with a exotic berry or fruit not normally found in drinks, chances are the fruit is not going to taste very nice. Anyone for Dragon fruit Mojitos, or Star Fruit Cobblers? All the good fruits have already been found and are already being used. This includes the Acai berry. The good people in Belize and Peru must be laughing their ass off that they can off load so much of this stuff up north. This native berry found in Central and South America is tasteless, cheap, and a major food source to many natives. Rumours have been spread in the last decade of it being a weight loss supplement and also adding virility to limp men. None of these claims have been proven.

Now I've written in the past for my fondness of pre-mix alcopops. In the right hands of adults these things can be a great way of pranking friends, and providing refreshment at festivals. However, this one has got to be the worst of them all. Think fizzy yogurt. On the bright side after drinking, because of the sugar levels, you can spit down to your toes and suck it back up.

1. Foster's

Last but not least I'm going to finish on Australia's greatest export outside of the Bee Gee's and Savage Garden. Surprise, surprise the only Australian beer found commonly over here is Fosters, not only Fosters, but Fosters in a can the size of my head. You know what, I'm sort of OK with the whole just having Foster's as the only Australian beer found commonly abroad. If I look hard enough for a nice Aussie brew I can still find a bottle shop where i can get Cooper's, or Boags. Its merely the backwards way our countries products continue to market themselves abroad. Yes, i am Australian. NO, Paul Hogan is not the President of Australia. NO, I do not ONLY drink beer from vessels the size of paint cans.

Now, i could go on forever. Like i said there's a lot to choose from over here. Special mentions go out to 'Colt 45' 40 oz Malt Liquor, Ed Hardy 'Premium' Lager, and Danny De Vito's Limoncello, for all being appalling.

America, I love you. There's so much of you I'm going to miss. I hate to dwell on the negatives, but the future awaits, and with it a day where I caress you with compliments. For now though, I have to get over this stinking hangover, all thanks to the aforementioned products above..

Now where's my organic, coconut and pomegranate water?


Saturday, September 4, 2010


So about three or so years ago I was the Australian ambassador for Smirnoff no.55. It was a good year of my life. I travelled the country running competitions for the brand, and did training sessions for bartenders in bars that didn't know how to spell 'Vodcar'. Meanwhile Diageo paid my rent.

I ended up getting sent to China to do a series of parties for them in Chengdu. It was my first trip abroad and an experience i will never forget. Mostly for negative reasons i'm afraid. During that time i kept a travel diary, for myself mainly, to reminisce on later. Well, i re-read it today and some of it is pretty funny. I've decided to pull an extract out of it today and post it for any of you that care. This was just a ordinary couple of days in the life of my time in China's fifth biggest city. Enjoy..

Sat 9.12.07. Day 4 1:23pm

Apparently my drunkenness caused a bit of a stir the other night. Jody, the advertising lady was told off for not looking after me and making sure I received adequate care when getting home. She had gone home when I had apparently texted her in the wee hours of morning with a massage that went along the lines of; ‘Jody, I'm drunk and I don’t know how to get home, can you come write my address for me to show taxi man?’ Inevitably I got a lift home with Spikeman. Spikeman, or James, is a New Zealand dude that’s travelling around on this Hummer tour with us who dresses like a Smirnoff transformer and sprays Co2 at the crowd (cool huh!) He’s a pretty cool dude that has been to Chengdu many times and knows his way round the city pretty well. He made a formal complaint to the organisers of the tour and I was politely asked by Jody not to get too drunk at future events. (Booo….).

Last nights event was at a hip hop club called Mix Club. Mix club was a fucking dive and the event blowed. I really don’t think anyone really knows what I'm supposed to be doing. I was told to make Moscow mules for the punters as they walked into the club, then it was my job to walk around to every table in the club and make them a Mule at the table. The problem was the promo girls walking around with me holding the lime (or green lemons as they call them), ginger beer etc weren’t explaining to the crowd what was going on. So people were just sculling the drinks without caring what was in them, and to make matters worse I was stone cold sober. By the end of the night the person running the show told me I had to get drunk every night with the customers as I work a lot better that way, and Jody needs to take better care of me. (Sorry about that Liver..)

On a lighter note a really hot chick tried to pick me up in the club last night. She was quite forward and I thought things were going well until I was dragged away from her by one of the organisers. Probably a good thing, turns out it was a lady-boy prostitute! (I probably still would of..) And oh yeah, out the front of the clubs I'm working at they have this massive sign with all this Chinese writing, then my name in big print! How cool is that!! As well as that when I got a rickshaw home last night we went past another club I must be going to sometime soon, because they had a big sign out the front with my name on it!! I’m freakin’ famous! At least in Chengdu anyway.

Mix Club (Bar review)

This place really sucks. Bartenders wear stupid white vinyl uniforms and are scared of drinking straight spirits. No one would do a lay back of Smirnoff with me. The d├ęcor resembles the set of a lame hip hop video with mirrored walls, red paint peeling off everywhere and a lame ass DJ booth that overlooks a tiny dancefloor. On the night I was there the music changed from R&B, to repetitive electro-house, to late nineties hip hop and finally to a hi nrg trance set. Its like the club got sent a newsletter of what music is cool is Western countries. Unfortunately it arrived 12 years too late.

The whack thing about this place is the bartenders don’t actually make any drinks. Most punters order bottles from their waiter and the waiter goes out the back to a stockroom to fetch the order. When it comes time to pay the customer goes to another counter (somewhat like a cloak room) and pays their bill there. Meaning the job of the bartender is to keep topping up jugs of ice for the waiters, throwing empty plastic flair bottles around, and interacting with the customers sitting at the bar by throwing some sort of dice game with them. Lame. What’s worse is they are not allowed to flair unless it is ‘showtime’ and they are not allowed to take attention away from the hired dancers. What’s even weirder is that if you want a beer you can only buy them in lots of 6 or 12, and when you by them you get them all at once. None are refrigerated as there isn’t even a fridge behind the bar. Lame, lame, lame.

This club may as well of been called ‘The Windy club’, because half of it sucked, whilst the other half blowed! 4 thumbs DOWN!

DRINK: Nothing!

Tue 11.12.07. Day 7(10:21am)

After a pretty uneventful day off on Sunday we started our Smirnoff Hummer tour yesterday. I meet the advertising kids out the front of my hotel at midday and we drove in the Hummer to an open air shopping plaza near the local university. This is when I’m told I am to make up some jugs of Moscow Mules and pour them into shot glasses so the promo girls can give them to people walking past and tell them about the upcoming Smirnoff parties. As well as this I’m supposed to walk with the girls and act all excited and shit, pumping up the people for the upcoming big parties. Basically they want a crazy, westerner to shout Smirnoff in peoples’ faces. After about 20 minutes at one place we move onto the next place, then the next, then the next. All up I’m pimping my Mules to kids in 7 or 8 places over Chengdu. Every day, 6 days a week!! Then at night we go to 6 or 7 bars and do the same, but at night all the bars have a massive poster out the front telling people ‘TIM PHILLIPS, FAMOUS PROFESSIONAL INTERNATIONAL BARTENDER IS COMING’. So they want me to go behind the bar and make the drink for the people in a cool way. I can really see myself getting sick of making fucking Moscow mules! I finished last night at about 12:30 after a 12 and a half hour day. This is going to go on for another 5 weeks. For now I’m ok, but its only been one full day of work. Lets see how I’m holding up in a couple of weeks. To make matters worse I can feel myself getting tired because I haven’t been eating properly. I’m a fairly studious, 5 veg and 2 fruit a day kind-of-guy and I’m just not eating well over here. I haven’t been ‘full’ yet over here as all the food I order from restaurants or street vendors tastes like ass, and the only thing I can trust is Western-style fast food and bowls of noodles from the supermarket. The other day I say a guy grilling these things that looked like Egg and bacon in some sort of batter. I got one and as soon as I bit into the egg I nearly vomited. It was rotten! Talk about making you never want to eat egg again. Even something like corn, you would think would be fairly hard to fuck up? Apparently not. A guy on the street selling cobs of corn on a stick grabbed my attention, so I purchased one off him and could not even finish my first bite. It’s like he thought to himself, ‘lets see, how can I make this corn really bad?. Lets steam it for 21 hours, add no seasoning and somehow give it a plastic-like texture’. On the plus side I’m told there is a shopping centre near that sells some western style food like jam, and milk etc, so I’m gunna’ go check that out when I get a chance. I really miss basic things like butter and cheese, not too mention the fact customs took my vegemite when I came into Honk Kong. Cunts..

However I don’t want to finish this post in a negative way. One of the things I am enjoying over here is how cheap my video games arcade is. The place is called Tom’s World and it’s huge! For 20Y (A$3), I can play 20-25 games! Awesome. I was on the ‘Point Blank’ machine for two hours on my day off. Maybe this week ill invest 5 bucks in learning how to dance on one of those fast paced dancing games. I saw this dude getting his jig-on on one those bad boys. He was like the Asian Michael Flatly! *Note to self* I want to be like Asian Michael Flatly..

Friday, August 27, 2010

A good 'ol fashioned drunken-ing.

A great man, and good friend of mine famously said on a first date; "You want to see something funny? Watch me get drunk!" In the space a hardcore evening of boozing i've never really been sure how many drinks I could put away. So I decided to find out.."Watch me get drunk", comes to mind.

Go out, get drunk, take a photo of every drink I consume.

01: (4:37pm )Fishouse Punch Jello-Shot with popping candy

02: (5:21pm) Filter Coffee with shot of Coole Swan
03: (6:22pm) Glass of Prosecco

04: (6:53pm) Half a bottle of a shit American micro-brew

05: (7:02pm) Shots of Mimosa

06: (7:21pm) Tom Collins served in a Jar

07: (7:41pm)Farmer's Gin wet Martini

08: (7:56pm) Tanqueray Gimlet

09: (8:40pm) Pint of German Bock

10: (9:06pm) Pint of Einbecker Pilsner
11: (10:11pm) Tequila collins with Absinthe
12: (10:40pm) Pabst Blue Ribbon Pint
12: (11:07pm) Six Point Pint
13: (11:31pm) Kolsch Pint
14: (12:05am) Six Point Pint
15: (12:49am) Cider Pint
16: (1:33am) Miller High-life

17 & 18: (1:39am) more Fishouse Punch Jello-Shots & another High-Life
19: (2:09am) Tecate Lager

20: (2:45am) Jameson shot

Goodnight nurse..

Friday, August 20, 2010

Get a NEW life..

'Don't speak unless you have something to say' comes to mind in response to any of you that have enquired as to when my next blog will be done. Its been three weeks and change since my last post. Call it writer's block if you will, or a lack of witty motivation, but you're wrong. I'll get to that later.

This brings me to my topic of today's post; Variety. Many of you who read this are bartenders. Very good bartenders at that. One's who devote hours of researching old recipes, spirit histories, and working on new innovative recipes for your respective guests, in your respective bars. I tip my hat, and raise a glass to you. You are, collectively, the driving passion that may well tip our jobs as 'Barkeeps' from a trade, to a truly respected profession. Now here's what i don't get, What else do you like? What do I mean, you say? I mean, you know, what OTHER stuff are you interested in? I mean apart from booze?

Passion is most definitely a good thing. One should always strive to do, what ever they do, to the best of their abilities. If you are a magician, you should be the best damn magician you can. If you have chosen to get people drunk for a living, you should be the best damn barkeep you can.

Now answer this. Have you ever written a CV for a job and struggled to fill in your section on 'Other Interests'? Or when was the last time you posted a facebook status that didn't have something to do with your job? I know a lot of bartenders that honestly have nothing else to say. Imagine if this was the case with any other profession. I'd hate to have to see constant updates from an electrician friend like; "Got to work today and had to do a job on a place with aliminium conductors. What is this, 1986 Canada?? HAHA.."

You get my point?

So back to why i havn't blogged in the last month? I've been filling my days with playing baseball, reading fiction, going to museums and galleries, eating out, and cooking great food. Basically my other passions! The things i think about 99% of the time when i'm not at work. To be honest, the things i think about most of the time when i'm at work as well.

Like i said, passion is good. Professionalism is good. Be the best bartender, electrician or magician that is humanly possible. But don't let it take over your life. Find new interests and hobbies. For the sake of a rich, interesting life, you have to.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Self-absorbed blog of the Month

Going to slightly venture off the boozy-track today and procrastinate with you guys a bit. Turn off now if you aren't bothered with tapping into one of my life's emotional quandary's. You have been warned.

Today i received a bit of a surprise email from someone who at one stage had meant a lot to me, broke my heart, then meant nothing to me. I've always held a candle for this particular person until she threw some cutting remarks my way, which in-turn, I threw some back at her. Friendship over. Like i mean, over. All remnants of that person had been deleted from my life. Facebook, phone numbers, email, all gone. It was quite a therapeutic thing to do i must say. To know I would no longer be able to hurt my self, someone else, or get hurt from her, again. She lives in a far far away place, as do I. We were going to live out our lives happy, free from each others bickering's, and get on with our careers. Until today. She's coming to New York.

So we have mutual friends, and i guess i always knew we would run into each other some where down the line, i just didn't think this soon. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog. I remember shortly before the straw that had broke the camels back i had mentioned i was thinking of starting a blog. She slated the idea and we got into an argument. Hence, i don't think she ever found out the name of it after the denouncing of each other as Facebuddies.

I'm just not sure i want to see her to save myself the drama. Surely this shows an un-paramounted level of immaturity that i cannot embrace her olive branch and be friends with this person, that at one stage, was one of my best friends? I mean she is only trying to be nice right? Why can't i be nice back??

I feel like, after all the problems i've had with women in the last five years of my life, that i should mentally start from scratch with everyone. That's also what moving to a new city is all about. Embracing a different culture, it's inhabitants, and not getting caught up in things in the past. I need to let this kite fly and get on with new positive people that are going to help me move forward, not backwards. I guess that's what one side of my conscience is saying. On the other hand; I need to be civil about this whole thing, grow up, get a pair, and be a good human being. When she gets here i should be hospitable, yet reserved and first and foremost, a respectful adult.

I generally think i'm coping well with my twenties. I'm happy with where my life is taking me, my career is good, and my friends are amazing. I've made grown up decisions that I'm proud of, am a good person to good people. In general, I have a good 'head on my shoulders'. With this one I think i need some thinking time. I want to make the right decision. I'm going to leave the email for today. Not to act cool, but just because i generally don't know how to play these cards. There's no one who can figure this out apart from myself, and i'm not looking for advice.

If you have read this all, im sorry. This post is exactly what i didn't set out to do when i first started the blog. It's supposed to be fun, light-hearted with a intoxicated tinge. This post is self-absorbed, for lack of better words, 'emo'.

I'll figure this one out, until then it's my day off so i'm going to go for a swim, eat some oysters, and have a drink. Oh by the way, you might be thinking why there's a picture of a tiger being spooned by a pig above. I guess you could read into the irony of the moment and think i'm trying to suggest if they can get along, anyone can. You're wrong, i just think it's a sweet picture.

Have a great day kids..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was bored the other day so I signed my two house mates, Liam and Missy, up for a swingers website, without them knowing it. Turns out it's really, really easy to meet couples in Brooklyn looking for fun, and a bit of 'other-half' swapping.

Here's how to do it! First I logged onto, them you need a photo. So I got the lovely couple together for a nice picture. Create your username (lookingforfun2305), and hey presto! You wait, and couples email you with naked pictures of themselves. The ones below are my personal favourites so far.

I guess Liam and Missy are going to know about this after reading this blog. Oh well.

Shit, I nearly forgot. I've got a Latin-American couple coming over in 45 minutes so I better get out of the house..

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy birthday Sashimi

"What flavours do you have?" was greeted with a lost look. "Just one, tropical flakes" was the reply from my new Chinese friend at the 'Aqua World', when I asked him what his fish-food range was. Yesterday I walked 43 blocks in 35 degree heat to do the only thing 'on my list' yesterday.

Tupperwear container (that doubles as fish tank) $1.49
'Tropical' flavoured fish food flakes $2.00
Plastic dinosaurs (for tank decoration) $1.29
One orange fish $3.00
TOTAL $7.78

At 6:29pm yesterday I declared it my new friend, Sashimi's birthday. I mean I know it's not his real birthday. I know he was born sometime before I paid a heavy handed, net-wheeling, oriental senior citizen to drag him out of his aqua-orphanage, but that doesn't matter. Yesterday I adopted my first new pet in a long time.

You see I have had a long run of bad experiences with pets in the past. As a kid my house would of had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, Mexican-walking fish, and regular fish at any one time. I don't really remember what happened to most of these animals, i just know it would sort of click that they were not around. I can remember one of the saddest days of my childhood was when I was about ten years-old..

My grandmother raised me as a child and used to get home from work at around 4:30 everyday. I used to finish school at 3:30 so until she got home, my neighbour, Pat used to baby-sit me. Everyday i would hear my Nan pull into the driveway and I would run out to greet her and get into the house so i could gorge myself with chocolate and crisps and watch the sweet cable TV we had. *Yeah, i was a fat kid* At the same time I had only one pet, Scratch. I was given Scratch on my 6th birthday. He was a vicious kitten, with a 'your not fucking touching me' attitude. *I think I always thought he was a quarter tiger or something*. Anyway, i could tame him. He became my best bud until the day I watched my Nan back up the car directly over my dear Scratch. Imagine how badly it hurt (and sounded), when I witnessed my dear Scratch getting pounded by the back wheel of a 1973 Valiant. Now imagine the pain of witnessing my Nan realise what she had done and put the car out of reverse and drive straight back over my bleeding and squealing best friend. All I can remember from this point was watching the defeated, twitches of my dear Scratch, whilst screaming "HE'S STILL ALIVE NAN, HE'S STILL ALIVE!!!", to her trying to calm me down explaining they were just his nerves giving out....
whoa...that's bringing back some memories. Anyway, we shovelled him in a K-Mart bag and threw him in the bin.

Nan got me another cat, along with two dogs, and the rest of Noah's ark to make up for her child abuse she had tainted me with, but it was never the same, and i never loved any one of those pets as much as I did for Scratch. Until now with my new fish, Sashimi.

I am an animal lover and one of the things I most look forward to when getting back to Australia is getting a kitten and puppy and raising them together like the film Milo & Otis. Until then I'm on my training wheels, and resigning myself to pets I don't have to walk. May this be the start of something beautiful.

Oh by the way, for Sashimi's birthday I drew him a Crayola underwater backdrop to make him think he's somewhere tropical and not in grimy Brooklyn. I think he loves it!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What do you know?

Diageo's world class contest is on again. I like this contest. For the uninformed, bartenders in 24 countries compete in a series of mini cocktail comps in their respective countries to be crowned as a representative in a global, gladiators-esque cocktail competition held in Greece. Last year a good friend of mine, Adi Ruiz from Melbourne's Black Pearl, was Australia's representative. Another friend of mine, Ryan Chetiyawardana formerly of Bramble fame -now at London's 69 Colebrooke Row- represented the United Kingdon. Both of these guys are amazing at what they do and deserved the right to represent their country. This year in the United Kingdon a guy by the name of Erik Lorincz - of Connaught Hotel-, and Adam Brewer -Sling lounge -won the right to represent the UK and Aus respectively.

Look, i'm not saying these guys don't deserve to be where they are in this week's finals. Don't take this post as me questioning their rights to be there. These guys are some of the best at what they do, and not to mention great guys in general! Here's my beef though; The qualifying contest in the UK was judged by a series of five industry 'experts'. I have no problem with two of the chosen judges. Simon Difford and Andy Pearson are both involved in extensively in the booze industry, they're well rehearsed in tasting cocktails, and evaluating how a great drink should be balanced. But what the hell were the rest of the judges doing there? John Torrode and Greg Wallace from Masterchef? Really?? Why, as the collective beverage industry, do we constantly need to compare ourselves to our culinary counterparts? Surely these guys have got as much right judging the balance of drink as I have of judging a cake contest. I mean you don't see sommeliers being asked to judge Masterchef do you? And for the other judge, Andy Morris from the online edition of GQ magazine being asked to decipher the subtle elements of an elegant, 23 year-old rum creation? P-LEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSE.

I'm sorry, can we just leave the booze to the booze-heads and the the food to the foodies? That is all.


Oh by the way, i'm glad to report actual industry big-cheeses such as the Regans, Winchesters, and Dorelli's are watching over the big decisions in the finals being held currently in Greece. Good luck to all the competitors, i'm jealous as hell i'm not there!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Along with vintage coca-cola cans, 1993-1996 NBA basketball cards, and jokes about feminists I collect classic cocktail recipes. I guess it's my job to also. I don't do it out of chore. I do it because I want to see if my new favourite tipple has been lost in the pages of a 19th century bar manual. I also do it partly because I never want some smart-ass bartender coming into my venue and asking me for a drink I have never heard of - thus making me look like a fool.

There's a recurring theme with a lot of recipes from yesteryear, and that's a lot of them will use ingredients in equal parts. Now i'm not sure if this was done through laziness to make drinks simpler for consumers to make themselves, or the respective writers actually thought that these were the best specs. Now therein lies the problem; Most drinks taste terrible when their ingredients are split into equal measurements. Actually, maybe i'm being dramatic. Not terrible, but not the best.

I have searched far and wide to find drinks recipes that taste the 'ideal' way when their ingredients are proportioned in equal measurements. *Actually I have thought about it for the last hour to be honest..* Anyway, I have only found three! I'm going to leave the Vodka & Coke out on this list guys as i'm going to say two ingredients is NOT a cocktail. Plus my 50:50 ratio Vodka to Coke is open to debate. By all means let's start a debate about any new drinks you would like to add. Remember, try and keep personal preference out of this one. Just because you like a Blood & Sand a lil' heavier on the Scotch, the recipe does not need it. I guess 'need' is the operative word here. Does that drink recipe obviously need a tweak? Most do. Anyway here's my equal parts hall of fame..

'Blood & Sand'
3cl Orange Juice
3cl Rosso Vermouth
3cl Cherry Heering
3cl Scotch (dealer's choice)

3cl Rosso Vermouth
3cl Gin
3cl Campari

'Last Word'
3cl Gin
3cl Lime Juice
3cl Marascino Liq.
3cl Chartreuse


Friday, July 2, 2010


Drambuie is ok. I mean I would never order it, but at the same time I would never say no to one of offered to me. I guess i'm not like the average Australian male. Check out this video..


I have now been in the big apple for a total of 12 hours. Enough time to land, get a coffee the size of my head, eat a hot dog, drink 15 Miller High-Life's, pass out and sleep. I have also just had enough time to fall victim to the new craze sweeping American men, called 'Icing'.

I'm still not sure whether this is a fantastic guerrilla marketing campaign by Diageo, or a college stunt that's hit the big time but I love it! So here are the rules...

1. When a fellow man is confronted by another with a Smirnoff Ice, the receiver must take a knee and chug the beverage.

No if's, no but's. Doesn't matter what time of day or situation, a man will always be now judged on his ability to drink chilled - or in cruel circumstances, warm - citrus, vodka RTD's. That's it.

Last night I was iced for the first time by a N.Y friend named Dan. Thanks mate, genius..

Ice away, and drinktheshitoutofit..

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank you.

Its easy to know what i'm going to miss most about England. For the best part of two years i've made London home. (with exception to a 5 month stint in France). I have to admit, it has been amazing. I was asked by a friend yesterday what I would miss most about this crazy city, and like I said the decision is easy; The people. Namely the people i have met. Ie, my friends.

The hardest part about leaving a city is saying good bye to people you may never see again. It's easy to say 'oh ill be back', or 'come visit me', or even 'ill email you ', but the hard truth is people get lazy. Another good friend told me once to not get attached to people. 'Friends come and go' was the roundabout quote . I sort of see that. A lot of the people I was good friends with in primary school i am no longer in contact with. I think this is a kind of dire way of looking at things though. The fact is London and the people I have met in it have made a truly lasting, formative and downright happy impression on me. My London crew are like family. In fact maybe more important than family.

So thank you London, thank you 24 hour off-licences', thank you Gregg's, thank you Broadway Market, thank you Super Kebab, thank you Match Group, thank you SoHo, thank you Monster Munch, but most of all thank you to my London family. I will miss you all more than you will me. My life will feel diluted without all your friendships in it.


Monday, June 28, 2010


Nothing makes me happier than this song. Listen, then listen, then listen again.. *heart*

Tim's moving to New York and leaving London anthem.


Sunday, June 20, 2010


I'm drunk. No doubts about it, I'm drunk!

Tim's brain say's write a blog. Ok. But what about??....

I KNOW! Ex's....Actually sober moment, No. Now, is not the time to be 'slagging off' ex's. Let's talk about booze.. OR, i could blog about friends. That's much better...

I have GREAT friends. Like really, truly great friends. One of them is my mate Danny. You see Danny is quite an enigma. Kinda a legend. You see I have known Danny now for nearly 10 years. In the first months of my final year at high school i was expelled for pulling down the trousers of a teacher in front of his first year students. (I know, great way to go out!!!). However, i was determined to finish secondary school so i enrolled - and was excepted - to a near-by school called Wellington. That's where i met Danny.

At first, Danny tells me, he was intimidated by me. Both long-term 'class clowns', we were both vying for the attention and giggles on the rest of the year 12 Psychology class. However, after winning him over we team'd up and became a 2-man posse, not to be reckoned with.

That was nearly 10 years ago, and since then we have stayed the bestest of bestest mates, even though our professional careers have taken opposite detours. (He's an Electrician, i'm a Bartender). Now, i'm moving to N.Y in 10 days and it will sad to not have that crazy bastard around. He's a legend, a gentleman, and a fantastic dancer. However, more importantly, he is also the best karaoke singer i've ever met.

The first night I got back from living in France, Danny took me to a West London pub that had a Karaoke night on. I taped his performance for my viewing pleasure, but have now decided to upload it for the world. I hope you enjoy, please watch until the end. He kinda gets a bit 'bashy' and 'rapey' with the compare. Link is below. Amazing.....

Danny, enjoy your time in England. I will miss you buddy...xox

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last night I worked a opening of a new bar in Farringdon called Redhook. This is the first serious restaurant the Match Group has ever attempted and as far as openings go I think it went well. The place is a steak and seafood place. Like all Match bars, the site is stunning. The dining room is beautiful and the bar space is packed with all sorts of great Bourbons and handsome bartenders...and me.

This was the first opening i've ever done. In the past Jonathan Downey has torn shreds off people, had babies, fired staff and generally been quite agitated at most of his new bar openings. Last night was no different. I must say, i like the guy. I know he probably wont be reading this so i'm not just blowing steam up his ass, but the man knows his stuff. He ALWAYS finds good sites *the most important rule*, and he most definitely is not afraid to share his opinion of things. He is usually right most of the time as well.

By the way there's also a great variation invented by Enzo Enrico (Milk & Honey NY) on the Manhattan cocktail that also shares it's name.

Recipe below, drinktheshitoutofit...

5cl Rye Whiskey
1cl Punt Es Mes
1cl Maraschino


Go eat there, heres a link..

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cigarettes and booze

I don't smoke. Never have, never will. Growing up in fact, i actually worked in a tobacconist on Saturday afternoons, and my nan used to smoke up to 70 cigarettes a day before she finally decided to quit. What I'm saying is I was always around cigarettes, but it never interested me. I am however fascinated with the psychology of people who are smokers. Why can't they quit? Why do people that quit, start back up again? I was talking about this at dinner last night with a group of former smokers, and mate who has quit a dozen times previous but still can't kick the habit. One of the guys asked me if i could quit alcohol? Now, I'm the first to admit that i probably drink too much. If i was to keep a booze diary I'm sure my intake would safely hover between twice to three times the 'recommended' amount. Do I think i have a booze problem? Maybe. I mean, I know it's bad for me. Much in the same way cigarettes are bad for smokers. I thought a lot about it this morning. After waking up with a thumping hangover and headache i pondered the thought of my life without booze. I couldn't. I love booze. Not just the fine Pinots of Burgundy, excellent Apple Brandys of Normandie, sweet Rums from Guyana and the sumptuous Pilsners of Europe. I also love 3€ Port, wine from a box, and blue cocktails. I'm not a snob about booze. I just think i like getting drunk.

What I do know is there's got to be a time in my life when the party stops. A time when i settle down with a woman and make babies and grow up. Do i think i'll drink less then? I hope so! Alcohol addiction is as lethal as an addiction to Nicotine. I know now i drink too much but why don't i do something about it. When i don't drink I'm told I'm actually more charming than when im pissed. This sounds obvious when reading it back, but at first, to my ears this thought was unfathomable.

So here I am again, 400 words into a blog without a 'point'. I guess today i really don't have one. Maybe today is more of a confession blog rather than a rant. Going back to the whole smoking thing. I can see why it's so hard for you guys to quit. I mean the romance of a cigarette after eating or having sex does sound good. I just hope the friends that want to quit, can. I love my friends. They are great!! If one of them, later in life, was to get seriously ill from a smoking habit I would feel a bit guilty for not getting them to quit. Or at the least putting pressure on them to do so.

AHA! I have an idea for a point of this blog now. Today is my appeal to my smoking friends that the smoking party is over. Please stop. I'm not going to get on your back about it. I just want you to know I'd rather you alive than dead. Quit smoking for your friends, not yourself. I hate to sound like I'm preaching when i would probably have a lot of trouble quitting drinking but like i mentioned before. There is a time in people lives -usually in their late 20's - that you settle down, stop going out as much, and hanging out in bars drinking vodka & cokes. This won't happen to my smoking friends. You need to take the onus on yourself now. Please do it. I promise you, if you quit smoking, the drinks are on me!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm old school...for now.

You know what!? I've changed. For those of you that have known me in Melbourne and London you may have realised this. No, I'm not talking about the extra strands of hair creeping onto my shoulders or diminishing ability to convince women to spend a night with me. *Wait a second, was i ever good at that? Probably not. I'm talking about my attitude towards cocktail experimentation and attitude towards what i call, Artisan bartending.

A few years ago when i was plying my trade at, in my opinion Australia's best bar, Black Pearl I had no qualms what so ever in spending my days off cooking up flavoured curds, char-smoking bananas, distilling my own ouzo and taking my bar-cookery skills to new levels. Australian bartenders have a incredible imagination and this is usually reflected in their cocktail menus. I believe it all started 8-9 years ago with the likes of Sebastian Reaburn and Sam Ross at the late-and great Ginger cocktail bar in Fitzroy. Their use of ingredients rarely found in cocktails such as squid ink in an adaption of the Dirty Martini was stuff of legend. It inspired the likes of myself and many others around the country to hunt out ingredients that were uncommon and original. Mainly because they were the only guys winning cocktail competitions back then. A few years on after many a great experimentation with foreign ingredients (lavender, mascarpone, jams) , and after a lot of unsuccessful attempts (peanut butter!?) the Australian bar scene had to move forward and the only way was to start using homemade ingredients such as flavored syrups and homemade preserves.

Bartenders all around the globe still spend their days off concocting their own liqueurs and making their own bespoke ingredients for their drinks. This is where I have changed. Do I still do that? No. Have i lost inspiration since leaving the passionate Melbourne scene, and diving into the cynical too-cool-for-school attitude that many London bartenders have towards experimentation? Maybe. Or maybe I just think my elderflower liqueur will not be as good as the commercial brands found in stores.

You see i've been working at Milk & Honey. A place where the skill of the bartender lies in being given a bottle of Chartreuse and five other ingredients and being told to make four different drinks. That takes skill. I do, however miss the experimentation and artistic flair needed to win an Australian cocktail competition. I'd like to think I havn't lost it. I know in about a years time ill be thrust back into the Australian bar scene with a wealth of knowledge and worldly experience at my disposal. Perhaps gone are the days of me making smoked banana and saffron sours for Bourbon comps (I thought it was a good idea at the time), but i don't mind that. I'm a classics boy now and that's usually reflected in my drinks. For last years Bartender of the year comp I entered a drink, which i thought at the time, was a bit crazy. A aperitif cocktail with port and no base spirit. I gave this spec to an old Australian bartender friend and he said he was impressed with its simplicity. SIMPLICITY!? I was trying to be wacky!! Oh well, here it is....

"Precursory Cocktail"
3.5cl Tawny Port
3.5cl Antica Formula
2 Sp 1 to 1 Gomme
1 Sp Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura bitters
2 dash fee's orange bitters

Shaky, shaky really hard. Garnish with peel of small lemon.