Words by: Vici Jacobs Photography by: Miss SL
Fortunately for the brewers and hosts it was as cold as it was, because the drinks and tips from 2005 World Cocktail Champion Jason Chan and Goldilocks’ resident cocktail-making king were so delicious that if it was balmy we might have easily forgotten it was a Monday night and gotten carried away with the stunning tastes and views!
Now you’re probably very familiar with East Ninth Brewing – they’re the small local team behind Doss Blockos Pale Lager – you know – the beer whose bottles are individually housed in a paper bag? Well the Fog City Red Sangria, Cloudy Cider and Lick Pier Ginger Beer are as cleverly and uniquely marketed. Each has its own back story and influence, and are recommended to be shared on ice and with friends.
I’m a beer-lover through and through and admit to being generally dubious of pre-mixed drinks, but the sangria was a surprise – it was sharp, clean, fresh and not too sweet. After sampling some of the East Ninth Brewing Company’s products range, we were then shown some beer-based cocktails. My favourite cocktail of the night was in fact a twist on the Margarita made with the sangria and in-season blood oranges. My second favourite was of course a new age Black & Tan, made with stout syrup, tea syrup, gin and my beloved lager. It says a lot for the sangria that I preferred that cocktail over a beer-based one.
Those were just the standouts of the many delicious concoctions on offer that night. We were encouraged to experiment with flavours and come up with our own combinations. A tip given to us was that when trying to make cocktails at home that the fail-safe ratio of mixing is “3-2-1”. Another hot tip for when trying this at home is to invest in a few quality spirits, which brings me to two of my other loves: gin and vodka.
Let’s start with the gin. The West Winds Gin to be precise, described by its creators as “gin lovers’ gins”. So they had me at the description, they really had me at the taste! The name ‘West Winds’ is a tribute to the Indian Ocean breezes to WA where it’s made. There are two types, The Sabre and The Cutlass, and they’re re-distilled respectively with wattle seed and bush tomato then cut with triple-filtered Margaret River rainwater. The result is two contemporary, aromatic and thoroughly drinkable gins which I’ve since tried with just a splash of tonic and lemon – perfection. Being a cocktail-making event, we were of course encouraged to think of marrying gin with everything but simple tonic (see the Black & Tan recipe above).
The next Aussie spirit that has since made its way to my home bar is the 666 Autumn Butter Vodka. Yes, butter vodka. ‘666’ is a tribute to the Tasmanian Devil – can you guess where it’s made? We tried this in a Butter Old Fashioned with Angostura. In the spirit of the night’s experimental theme, I suggested a salty pairing to combat its buttery viscous feel, but I would honestly just drink this straight, it is so deliciously creamy and has just the right amount of heat.
Just when we thought we couldn’t be more spoiled, we were asked for our favourite cocktail of the night and given custom samples to take home and build (read: add some ice and sangria, cider or pale ale) ourselves. While I love my – rapidly depleting – home bar I’d prefer to leave the art of mixing to the experts and share the joy of cocktail-drinking with others. So on the next warm night you will find me on Goldilocks’ rooftop sharing a Fog City Red Sangria and blood orange Margarita. Come over and say “salut!”.