For our first collaboration, we partnered up with Wonder and Whisky to put on a show that featured the best of Oz. Some of you might already have been to the different whisky tastings conducted by Matt of Wonder and Whisky at various locations around Sydney, one of which is Mojo by Luke Mangan. We’d been to one ourselves earlier in the year and found it really fun and informative so when the opportunity to team up presented itself, we couldn’t pass it up.
Given we were all about the cocktail, we came up with an all-Aussie drink to kick start proceedings. Not wanting to overshadow the whisky we were about to taste but still wanting something that would tantalise the tastebuds, we created a riff on the classic Manhattan/Rob Roy cocktail using Maidenii Rosso vermouth, Starward Wine Cask finish whisky and the Mister Bitters Smoked Hickory bitters. By reversing the proportion of vermouth and whisky, we ended up with an aperitif style drink that was both refreshing with the whisky notes giving it some body. But that was not all, each cocktail had a whisky infused ice ball, which released more whisky into the drink as it melted. This slowly brought the proportions of the drink back towards a Manhattan/Rob Roy as the vermouth was drunk down. To highlight the banana notes of the Starward Wine Cask whisky, we garnished the drink with blueberries that had been poached in a solution of syrup and Starward – think banana blueberry muffins on a summer’s day!
Cocktail in hand, we turned to the serious business of tasting whisky, And did we taste some amazing gems. We started off with Ironbark moonshine, which is effectively whisky in the making, i.e. the liquid before it is put into barrels and aged. We then moved on to an Overeem Bourbon Cask, Nant Sherry Cask, Black Gate Distillery Single Sherry Cask before concluding with a Heartwood 'the Beagle' that came in at a whopping 66.6% ABV. At the end of the proceedings, a vote was taken as to the whisky of the evening, which on this occasion came down to the Overeem. The 'prize'? The winning bottle was then available on the back bar at Mojo for $15 a nip – given most of the whiskies tasted that evening would probably be sold at $25 a dram at least at most other bars, this was a comparative bargain. An enjoyable evening all round!