World Class Cocktail Week is a seven-day celebration of the best bartenders and cocktails around Australia, from one-off parties and food pairings, to expert masterclasses and tastings. But the annual event is also a prime opportunity for those just curious about cocktails to learn from the experts.

Diageo National Whisky Ambassador Simon McGoram says the week is an opportunity for learning – not only for industry professionals, but also for newcomers looking to gain knowledge about cocktail making to take home.

“It’s a great learning opportunity, even if you just have a mild interest in cocktails,” says McGoram. “Food is a big feature of the week also. You can learn things like how to pair whisky with food and cheese.”

McGoram’s favourite cocktail recommendation for novices keen to explore is his Indian Summer Highball, featuring Johnnie Walker Platinum Label Scotch whisky. He says it’s a great example of how versatile whisky can be, especially when featured in a cocktail.

“The majority of people haven’t had as much exposure to Scotch whisky as other drinks,” says McGoram. “But there’s a whisky for everyone, whether a Johnnie Walker or a Dalwhinnie. Finding the right one for you is important – once you do you can get more adventurous with it.”

McGoram will put these lessons into practice at World Class Cocktail Week when he holds a roaming dinner at Neighbourhood Bondi, featuring dishes paired with cocktails at three different restaurants on the same block. He’ll also take over upstairs at The Wild Rover with Mr Goaty Gelato for a tasting of artisan gelato paired (and created) with Scotch whisky.

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Here’s how to make McGoram’s Indian Summer Highball at home.

Indian Summer Highball

Makes one serving. Approximately 1.5 standard drinks.

45ml Johnnie Walker Platinum 18yo Scotch
2 tsp apricot preserve (or other stone fruit)
10ml aged sherry vinegar
2 dashes orange bitters
Soda to top
Peach or nectarine slices, to garnish

Add all ingredients to shaker, except soda.
Add ice and shake briskly.
Strain into highball glass.
Add more ice, top with soda.
Garnish with peach or nectarine.

This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with World Class. See the full program for World Class Cocktail Week.