IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…

You can probably tell from most of my posts that I have a thing for small, dimly lit bars with a vast cocktail menu. The Bearded Tit is of no exception when it comes to this but they have a little extra to offer compared to all the others. The first thing you see when you walk in is how all the walls are covered with a variety of taxidermy, old carnival photos and local artists pieces dotted around the bar. They also work with local artists to keep their fantastic display window ever changing. This is an incredible little bar which reminds me of a pub that I hold dear based in the UK; The Hemingford Arms.

bearded tit- outside

I was lucky enough to grab a stool at the bar -the last time I dropped in, it was heaving with people to the point of uncomfortableness. I grabbed a drinks menu where I spotted their, “Not so old fashioned” cocktail. My husband always drinks a rye old-fashioned when we go out, so I thought I would try this rum based rendition to see what was cracking.

Ron Zacapa 23yo rum, Angostura Bitters, a flamed orange peel twist all served up on a ball of ice- it looked and smelt amazing! Now, just to take you back for a moment, my first experience with Ron Zacapa 23yo rum did not go down too well due to me drinking it with a fresh apple mixer- EEEEK!  I was looking forward to giving it another go in a more purer form.

bearded tit- rum old fashioned

Sadly, I don’t think I am ready for Ron Zacapa 23yo rum just yet. I am sure the more rums I try the better I will get at handling none spiced rums… but right now, I think they are a little out of my league. Yes it was smooth, and yes it smelt gorgeous, but I could not pick up much taste which left it pretty bland and disappointing. I won’t give up though! This quest has only just begun, and I will find enjoyment in the mighty Ron Zacapa sooner or later.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.21.48

A KRAKEN GOOD TIME

the dock- outside

Redfern’s tiniest bar has a lot to offer: friendly staff, live music and inexpensive drinks. I walked in, not really sure what I fancied to drink after a long day at work, but after talking it over with Daniel O’Leary (the bar owner), he served me up a Kraken Black Spiced Rum on the rocks. I was not sure how I felt about drinking a much-loved mixer straight, but Dan seemed pretty certain that I would like it… and I did!

the dock

I, along with many other people probably wouldn’t consider having a glass of Kraken as a suitable sipping drink, but to my surprise it was actually really nice. Served with a ball of ice and an orange rind, this was a lighter, sweeter tasting rum with no burn what so ever.

kraken.JPG

I would consider Kraken Spiced Black Rum to be the gentler version of Goslings Black Seal Rum. This could be because I am pretty new to most of these new rums I have been trying recently, but in my personal opinion, Kraken definitely sits on my palette a little better then most spiced rums I have had straight on this quest so far. Who knows, maybe as my palette develops l’ll change my mind ,but for now Kraken on the rocks get a big fat….

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.19.10

A CHEEKY TIPPLE

I walk past Arcadia liquor every night on my way home from work through Redfern. A few times my husband and I have attempted to grab a seat here, but it always seems so busy in there! So when I passed by, on a freezing Thursday night I spotted a few empty seats at the bar and took it upon myself to grab one and treat myself to a cheeky tipple.

arcaida liqour- outside

After hopping up on a bar stool, I had a little peak at their drinks menu where I spotted an apple and rum cocktail for only 14 squid ($14)… That’s the winner right there!

For a simple cocktail made with fresh green apples, a shot of Flor De Cana Extra Seco 4 Year Old White Rum and a generous amount of maple syrup on ice, I have to say this was very, very yummy cocktail. Deliciously light, super delicate and not at all overly sweet -which is crazy considering the amount of maple syrup they poured into the mix.

What I think made this cocktail stand out was also the hints of coconut and vanilla the white rum added to it. Produced in Nicaragua, Flor De Cana Extra Seco 4 Year Old White Rum is advertised as one of the world’s best ‘Single Estate’ rum brands. Not made for sipping, but a fantastic mixer- which I can definitely vouch for with this cocktail.

arcadia liqours- apple and rum

Three more cocktails and two cheese and ham toasties later, I skipped home very keen to tell my husband about how nice Arcadia liquor is and how we should try and get a table there asap!

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.19.10

CUBAN CINEMA

A few months ago my husband and I dropped by Sydney’s, Rockpool Bar and Grill for an over due date night treat. Like any other place, we always try and aim to sit at the bar. Thankfully Rockpool has an amazing bar area, which we definitely took full advantage of. From their dramatic art deco decor, wine glass chandelier directly above you and (what we came for) an infamous beef burger, we were very excited to be here.

rockpool.jpg

Weighing up what to order from the cocktail menu, I came across a drink called, ‘Cuban Cinema’. Without hesitating, I ordered this exceptionally named drink and waited patiently for it. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 21.00.41

Sounds great doesn’t it? And it certainly was! Forget their infamous beef burger (which we did order and it was delicious) but this cocktail turned up and took the lime light.

rockpool drink.jpg

“Why was it so good”, I hear you cry? Well I asked Bar manager, Ryan Gavin how they conjured this sorcery and he took me through the whole process:

Ryan“We take Pampero Anejo Rum and infuse it using a technique called “fat-washing”. This is a technique pioneered by Don Lee from New York’s “PTD” that used a fat compound such as butter or animal fat to carry any non-porous flavour into a spirit- a technique commonly used in the perfume industry to infuse delicate aromas.

We then combine salted popcorn with melted butter (YUM) and infuse lightly before mixing entire solution with the rum. This will then sit at room temperature for 1 hour before being refrigerated for 24-48 hours. Upon removing from the fridge the infused liquid is strained through a thick cheese cloth before use. Liquid will clarify further if allowed to settle and sediment is decanted. The popcorn rum is then simply built in a rocks glass over ice with a small amount of house made lime cordial, lime juice and a touch of cola”.

What you basically have here is an amazing take on a “Cuba Libra” with the addition of popcorn overtones, hence the name, Cuban Cinema. Salty, sweet, toffee, caramel, fruity and obviously popcorn flavours made this a phenomenal drink. I am still trying to work out if this is down to the recipe or the Pampero Anejo Rum they used? Either way, it was amazing, and I now need to grab myself a bottle of Pampero Anejo Rum to try for a future blog post 😀

In conclusion, I can honestly say that this is the best cocktail I have ever had! Nothing compares to this cocktail and I doubt anything ever will. It has etched itself into my brain forever and I never want it to leave!

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.17.36

 

Down the Albion

The world is full of wonderful little bars and restaurants that I have had to pleasure of visiting, so I thought I would compile a little list of the ones I fallen in love with along the way:

London:

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 20.54.03.pngHemingford Arms, Islington 

http://www.hemingfordarms.com

Walls covered with original film posters, taxidermy planted on pretty much every window sill, quirky bric-a-bracs hanging from walls to the ceiling and a great selection of drinks- I took my husband here on our first ever date 😀

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 20.55.54.pngThe Morgan Arms, Bow

http://www.morganarmsbow.com

This pub dates back to the late nineteenth century. My husband and I spent a lot of time in this pub back in the day. I think we ate (pretty much) everything on their bar and restaurant menu- I got pretty fat!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 20.56.49.pngSpaniards Inn, Hampstead

https://www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk

Built in 1585, this pub is pretty much one of London’s oldest pubs. They do a cracking Sunday roast and have a huge beer garden out back. Go! If not for the food, then just to have a beer in one of the oldest pubs around!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 20.58.33.pngThe Warrington Hotel, Maida Vale

http://www.faucetinn.com/warrington/

Built in 1857, The Warrington was rumored to be an up market brothel. But don’t let that put you off, the food and drink here is delicious. Their venison cheek pie is the bomb dizzy. Possibly the best pastry I have ever had the pleasure of devouring!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.00.15.pngThe Holly Bush, Hampstead

http://www.hollybushhampstead.co.uk

Traditional 18th-century wood-panelled pub serving cask ales, sausage rolls and the best bread and butter pudding around. Secure a seat here on a snowy night and you will never want to go to another pub again!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 20.50.06.pngCoach & Horses, Clerkenwell

http://www.thecoachandhorses.com

Best god damn scotch eggs ever!

Sydney:

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.02.53.pngHartsyard, Enmore

http://hartsyard.com.au

A great place to go if you have something to celebrate. Food and drink are on the more expensive side, but it is worth it! Try the smoked trout.

the corridor.jpgCorridor, Newtown

http://www.corridorbar.com.au

An awesome little bar based on King Street. Perfect for happy hour cocktails and tasty nibbles- gets pretty busy though.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.04.28Blacksheep, Newtown

http://www.blacksheepbar.com.au

With a grand chandelier draping from the ceiling, a deer head mounted on the wall and a painting of Cosmo Kramer above the fireplace… what’s not to like?

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.06.12.pngLobo Plantation, Sydney CBD

http://thelobo.com.au

A beautiful phosphorescent Caribbean-themed bar with over 250 types of rum- I could happily live here!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.07.45Earls Juke Joint, Newtown

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Earls-Juke-Joint/1388771614674590

Saloon-style cocktail bar with a New Orleans vibe, exposed brick walls and corrugated iron ceiling. My husband and I spend most of our weekends having a cheeky pre-dinner drink here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 21.13.05.pngThe Potting Shed, Alexandria

http://thegrounds.com.au/Spaces/the-potting-shed/

We love this place, so much so that we chose to get married here last October. It’s top banana!

MY HAPPIEST HOUR

I had a few hours to kill after work on Friday so I decided to take a little stroll up King Street to pass the time. As to be expected, it did not take me long to unearth a fantastic happy hour and set up camp.

the corridor

From Monday to Friday between 5pm–7pm, the Corridor serve up $5 pints and $10 cocktails- I have been here many times before and still believe that this place is a bloody goldmine! Because of that, this aptly named bar is known to get super busy and uncomfortably cosy! With that being said, the bar tenders are awesome and do their best to make sure everyone is served as quick as possible with a bit of banter thrown in for good measure.

As it was insanely busy when I dropped by, I quickly cast my eyes over their cocktail list and moved in on their Dark and Stormy. The bar tender filled my jar (I know, but this is Newtown) with ice, added a whole can of Kirks Olde Stoney Ginger Beer and topped it up with not one but two shots of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Garnished with a lime wedge, a sprig of mint and we were ready to roll.

corridor dirnk

Now I love rum and I love ginger beer, but honestly this was possibly the hardest Dark and Stormy I have ever tried to drink! I am not sure if it was down to the very generous amount of rum they put in to my jar or the type of ginger beer it was teamed up with, but it took my nearly an hour to drink this cocktail – not very like me. I am still struggling to put my finger on what was not to my liking about it: was it just too gingery? Was it just too rummy? Either way, the struggle was real and I had to throw my hands up in defeat by the end of it- yes, of course I finished it!

Compared to the Dark and Stormy I had at Hartsyard the weekend before, (which is probably a very unfair comparison) Hartsyard gets my vote in the Dark and Stormy battle. That hasn’t knocked me though, I will certainly be heading back to the Corridor in the near future. It is such a great little place and I have not had a bad drink there before. I just will be ordering something else off the menu next time 🙂

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.20.55

#SydneyStorm

So Sydney is flooding. No really, check it out on any social media page.

13394035_859162530862014_1603956572157090870_n

Trees are being uprooted left, right and centre, cars are being crushed, rain is falling vertically, umbrellas are rendered useless, flights are being cancelled and trashed white goods are hurling down the streets! It is pretty crazy! But, I have been bed bound for nearly 2 weeks and I was not staying in the house a moment more… come rain, hail or shine 😉

Rugged up, my husband and I set out for in search of a place to eat and drink. A few bars in and having met up with a friend along the way, we found ourselves on Enmore road peering in the window of Hartsyard salivating over the idea of their tasty food and superb cocktail list.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 18.56.16.png
After a bit of a wait, (which is expected with Hartsyard) we grabbed a table. Matching the weather outside, I ordered myself a glass of their finest Dark & Stormy, and man I was not disappointed.
hartsyard
A highball glass with ice, a generous portion of Gosling’s Black Rum, ginger, soda and a nice squeeze of lime. Bellissimo! Sweet, warming and damn right delicious, this cocktail is my kinda cocktail and perfect for this kind of weather. I walked out of Hartsyard wanting to know everything about Gosling’s Black Rum- I also now want to add Bermuda to my travel list 🙂
13327489_10157065724860217_588478690274120334_n.jpg
I have never heard of Gosling’s Black Rum until a few people recommended I try it for my rum blog. By itself, it has beautiful butterscotch and caramel tones which I simply can’t resist at the best of times. Mix that with ginger beer and you got yourself a party in your mouth!

Retailed at about $66 per 700ml bottle may seem a little steep, but I would happily pay that for such a easy drinking rum. With myself being known for only drinking spiced rum, finding enjoyment in a dark rum leaves me excited for the rest of the rums I am going to try on this quest.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.17.36

 

I would like to apologies for the quality of photos I have posted for this review. I did not want to bring my camera out in this weather so had to use my iPhone. Don’t hate me 🙁

NOOSA FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2016

Apologies for my late post on this; since landing back in Sydney I have been trying to get over a bout of Whooping cough- I actually had no idea adults could catch this I have been in hell for the last 11 days. Body aches, constant coughing and not eating much- I wouldn’t recommend it.

Any who, enough about me let’s get back to the rum.

DRINKING

Most of my time in Noosa consisted of drinking a lot of wine, eating a lot of food and taking extra long naps to ready myself for what the evening had in store for us. The only time I managed to get my hands on any sort of rum is when we decided to head to Spanish Quarter Markets on the Friday. Upon the entrance of the markets was the bustling Mojito stall, hosted by the guys from Rococo Noosa. Given the line, I decided to walk around and see if I could hone in on any other rum based poison. To my sadness there was nothing, so I headed on back over to the Mojito stand where I was faced with an even longer line. Gah!

havana bottle

Whilst I waited (trying not to be elbowed by some over zealous Mojito drinkers) I watched the Rococo Noosa staff work their magic. One tall glass, 2 scoops of sugar, lime juice, a handful of mint sprigs and a glugg of soda water. From here they mashed up all of the above ingredients and topped it off with a huge serving of Havana Club Añejo 3 Años on top of crushed ice. It was amazing to watch and even more amazing to taste- I could now understand why the line and the elbows were out in full force for these bad boys.

pouring havana

mixing drink

This mix was deliciously refreshing and incredibly moreish. I could not taste a lot of the tones from the Havana Club Añejo 3 Años rum, but this did not worry me as it is really a beverage made for mixing. I can’t see this rum being anything to shout about on its own, but then again without tasting it neat, how would I know… but sadly that is just a sense I get from it. I imagine it has got a horrendous after burn 🙁

Either way, I enjoyed my yummy Mojito and quickly polished them off, one by one.

Four mojitos down and I was ready to head on to the next establishment. We aimed for Miss Moneypenny’s but got swayed into a small little bar next door (that I seem to have forgotten the name of) and drank more rum and danced to the wee hours of the morning.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 18.19.10