At Booker and Dax in New York City and Clyde Common in Portland, the cocktails are so popular they can hardly make them fast enough. So, to meet the demands, bartenders are crafting their own pre-mixed drinks, bottling them and serving patrons pre-batched cocktails.
This isn’t your average Bundy ‘n’ Coke in a can, these bartenders are using fermented juices, stainless steel vats, mini Champagne bottles and liquid nitrogen to provide drinkers with something special.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to book your ticket to the States just yet. The new frontier of small batch whiskey distillers, Bulleit Bourbon, has been encouraging Australian bars to create their own pre-batch drinks.
Kentucky local and Bulleit founder Tom Bulleit recently visited our shores to help our local bartenders get their heads around the pre-batch. Celebrating those who forge their own path, with a little help from NYC barman, Wayward’s Jason Mendenhall, Bulleit distributed care packages filled with batching bottles, a capping machine, labels and the necessary sterilisation equipment.
And with their new equipment, Australian bars are competing for the title of ‘Bulleit’s Best Batch’. Each bar will come up with its own individual bottled drink, showing off their unique pre-batch nous.
Melbourne city institution Cookie is making an innovative ‘Forage & Fromage Batch #1’, comprising Bulleit Bourbon, poire William, apricot brandy, Dolin Red Vermouth and cardamom bitters.
At the Corner House in Bondi, head bartender Ben Blair has created not one but three stylish new cocktails. One of his new inventions, ‘The Wattle Buck’ has a distinctly Australian taste: it uses orange zest and wattleseed-infused Bulleit Small Batch American Whiskey as a base, blended with orange juice and dry ginger ale. “I wanted to make a simple drink that showed the true character of Bulleit, with an Australian twist,” explains Blair.
Over 80 other Australian bartenders are currently in the lab creating unusual new pre-mixes for the Bulleit Competition, including Rockpool Bar and Grill in Perth, Foor Doors Plus One in Adelaide and Bowery in Queensland.
Every Bulleit Batch will be tasted and judged by a Bulleit representative, with points awarded for taste, creativity, unique names and the story behind the drink.
Entries close September 24 and, apart from being named Bulleit’s Best Batch, the winner scores a trail tour in bourbon Mecca, Kentucky, plus a small production run of 50 cases of their own batch to sell in their bar and tickets to attend the 2014 Tails of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
Of course, here at Broadsheet we’re eager to taste some of the wild concoctions being brewed up all over the nation, so we’ll keep you posted on where you can find some pre-batch cocktails yourself.