Earlier in September we told you about a cocktail bottling competition where Australian bars were competing for the title of ‘Bulleit (Bourbon)’s Best Batch'. Each bar was to come up with its own individual bottled drink, to show off their unique pre-batch nous. So restaurants from Cookie and The Corner House to Rockpool and various others around the country entered their best whiskey pre-batch.
Now it’s official: Fred Siggins of Melbourne Fitzroy bar Black Pearl makes Australia’s best ready-to-drink beverage, taking out Bulleit Bourbon’s prize with his original concoction, the ‘Bulleit and Briar.’
Inspired by his time in Atlanta, Georgia, Siggins attempted to recreate a traditional Southern experience: picking blackberries for homemade cobbler. “We’d eat dinner and have cobbler for dessert,” Siggins recalls. “Then me and my sister would sit on the porch and drink bourbon and talk, listen to the cicadas and smell the honeysuckle and jasmine in the air. I guess I wanted to impart that mood in the drink I was creating.”
To replicate the ambience of a Georgia evening, Siggins used blackberries, vanilla and citrus, along with Bulleit Bourbon and soda, garnished with a fresh jasmine flower. Siggins tested his creation on his colleagues (read: guinea pigs). “I gave it to all the other boys at the Black Pearl, who are absolutely my editors, my benchmark for whether or not a drink is going to be successful,” says Siggins.
Part of the new frontier of small-batch whiskey distillers, Bulleit Bourbon used the competition to encourage Australian bars to create their own pre-batch drinks. Bulleit distributed care packages filled with batching bottles, a capping machine, labels and the necessary sterilisation equipment.
For his award-winning efforts, Siggins scores a trail tour in bourbon Mecca, Kentucky, tickets to attend the 2014 Tails of the Cocktail in New Orleans, plus a small production run of 50 cases of Bulleit and Briar for Black Pearl.
Broadsheet and Bulleit Bourbon have partnered to explore the underground culture of American BBQ together over the next few months. Siggins signature Bulleit and Briar pre-batch cocktail is available over the bar at The Black Pearl.