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.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gettin' boozy in the UK

Well June has started and that means i'm into my last month, ever, living in London. Unlike most Australians, moving to the UK for their two-year stint I expected rubbish weather and am proud to say have never complained once about it being too cold. Actually that's a dirty lie. I'd like to think I have however, embraced England for everything it is great for. (More of that in a future, soppier blog), but most of all for it's best - and worst - alcoholic beverages. So here it is. My guide to what I have been drinking whilst living in London.

5. 'K' Cider. When you first land in the UK getting drunk becomes a priority. A poor Australian dollar to English Pound rate also means you need to do it on the cheap. There are a number of highly alcoholic ciders and beers in the local 'offie' but none are as lethal and economical as this one. 500ml - 8.5% - 4.2 Standard drinks for £1! This is not a session drink by the way. I prescribe 1 can to get things rolling for your Shepards Bush to Oxford Street tube journey on a night out.

4. Wray & Nephew and Ting' The local off license is a treasure chest of drinking possibilities. With all those bright colors and shiny cans of fizzy pop in the fridge it can be somewhat daunting to try and choose a mixer for your bottle of £20 overproof Jamaican spirit. Well look no further once your eyes hit the green and gold packaging that is Ting' grapefruit soda. When mixed together it feels like a 'flavour-rasta' grabbed you by the dreads and pulled you onto 'flavour-island'. All hail the 'Ting-Wray'.

3. Timothy Taylor Landlord Although still delicious from a bottle, one should never pass up the opportunity to put one of these in their faces when stumbled upon, on tap. A pale ale that's been around for over 150 years its truly delicious and one of the best ales i've ever had the privilege to drinktheshitoutof. Yes, i'm Australian, and I know full well beer should be cold. But there's an exception to every rule..

2. Nyetimber is an English sparkling wine grown and bottled down in Hampshire. It's been around for over twenty years. They do an inexpensive brut and a vintage that's not so inexpensive. I have a penchant for all Chardonnay sparklings and was given a bottle of their Blanc de Blanc as a xmas gift from a Milk & Honey member. It was really good, and stands out for me as the best wine I have tried from Great Britain. They deserve a mention, so here it is.

1. Cider I know I have already mentioned 'K'(iller), but now it's time to give a tip of the hat to the quality ciders i've been quaffing whilst over here. Cider, i'm sure will already have picked up a lot of popularity for when i return to my homeland but i'm sure the quality and selection will not yet have caught up to English standards. From the 4 for £5 Willam Gaymer's Old English, Draught favourite Thatcher's Gold, to the slightly homosexual Aspall Suffolk cider's Blush expression. All of these are excellent and put Bulmer's and Magners to shame.