For cocktail lovers in Australia, this is the best time of the year! In the lead up to World Cocktail Day on 13 May, giant drinks company Diageo (owners of the likes of Tanqueray gin, Johnnie Walker whisky and Pimms) are putting on World Class Cocktail Week, during which a plethora of masterclasses, tastings and special menus are going to be tantalising drinkers all around town. There's more than 40 events happening across the whole week so if you're finding it all a little overwhelming, here's our pick of what we'd be doing on each day of the week if we were in your shoes. All details of the below, alongside the full program is available here
Day 1 - Sunday 7 May - Black Pearl x Bulletin Place
Being drinkers, we obviously hang out a lot in bars. Especially when we're travelling, because we think bars can show you so much of what makes a city ticks. So when you get a chance to experience a little part of another city without having to fork out for the airfare, we say GO FOR IT. This time round, it's a bar swap between two award winning joints - for two nights only, the team at stalwart Black Pearl in Melbourne are moving into equally lauded Sydney bar Bulletin Place to demonstrate their style of drinks and banter. It's a tale of the two BPs you don't wanna miss.
Day 2 - Monday 8 May - Mind Tasting
For us drinkers usually sat on one side of the bar, the other side can often seem a tad mystifying - how many times have you looked at your drink and wondered how your bartender arrived at that final mix of ingredients that all seemed to balance together so well (or maybe not so well). Wonder no more. For one night, the guys at This Must be the Place are throwing open the gates to their heads in this novel session. With no menu on the night, the team will experiment with whatever ingredients that comes to mind and for better or for worse, you'll be the judge of their efforts. $65 a head with snacks included.
Day 3 - Tuesday 9 May - Bondi Roaming Dinner
If you're one of those people who cannot make up their mind which few restaurants or bars you should go to for dinner/drinks, you'll love this concept. For one night only, embark on a roaming three course feast with matched cocktails where entree, mains and dessert is served at a different joint (China Diner, Neighbourhood Bondi and Milky Lane). $95 a head
Day 4 - Wednesday 10 May - Cheese and Gin
If you're still digesting the previous night's shenanigans at Bondi, carry on where you left off in Redfern at Moya's Juniper Lounge with a cheese course. Or rather, a cheese and gin pairing. Yes, GIN.PAIRED.WITH.CHEESE. What are ewe waiting for? Tickets are $35 a head.
Day 5 - Thursday 11 May - Whisky and Wine
Forget turning water into wine...in this session at CBD underground bar the Cellar by Bouche, find out how wine makes its way into whisky. Exploring the relationship between the worlds of wine and whisky, you'll get to taste pairings of the two and find out how each drink's flavours integrate together in various styles of cocktails. $55 a head.
Day 6 - Friday 12 May - Degustation with Paired Cocktails
Chefs vs Bartenders. That's the basic premise of this concept at innovative bar-taurant the Owl House, where a 4 course degustation menu is split into two courses chosen by the chef with cocktails to match and the other two cocktails are chosen by the bar paired with food. Which party's pairing skill will come up to scratch? You be the judge in this challenge. Running all week, the menu is $99 a head.
Day 7 - Saturday 13 May - Espress Yourself
It's World Cocktail Day! If you've made it this far...congratulations! You'll either need a perk me up or a wind me down, both of which coffee is the answer. If you didn't manage to score tickets to our secret pop up, we suggest you go indulge in Australia's favourite cocktail the Espresso Martini at the Carrington, which has teamed up with Artificer Specialty coffee bar to come up with creative variations on the theme. Cocktails are $16 each and no reservations necessary.