In a bid to optimise our food waste The Bar’s newest cocktail flight reuses, upcycles and transforms by-products from the Dinner kitchen that might traditionally go unused into high-concept, low-waste cocktails.
Food wastage is a huge issue worldwide as well as in Australia, and has many costs that are not only financial but most importantly environmental.
To help reduce food waste a hospitality business should endeavour to only prepare what is needed and train staff to use produce contentiously. For example, when cocktails are batched beforehand and bottled, bar staff can use precise measurements and prep only what is needed for the number of bottles. In the development of cocktails wherever possible the of use by-products of bar or kitchen prep as new ingredients is always encouraged. In our case many trimmings and off-cuts can be used for infusions and distillates.
The idea for this flight had been brewing for some time so we were excited to finalise it as the flights are an amazing platform to challenge norms and highlight issues we are passionate about.
The three cocktails developed for this flight are the Toast (c.1600), the Rancio Negroni (c.1873) and the Tipsy Cake Milk Punch (c.1860).
Sourdough, wattle seed, Champagne
The Toast grew from an idea we had of distilling bread. It was tested and tweaked many times but several changes later we realised that the version we were happiest with was the initial test and we reverted back to the original recipe.
Sourdough off-cuts from portioning service bread are distilled into vodka to make a sourdough distillate. The distillate is acidulated and mixed with sweetened wattle seed infusion to create a sourdough liqueur. The drink’s sweet spice and nutty notes come from the wattle seed and its malted cereal taste from the sourdough bread. It is served topped with Champagne for a fresh, acidic finish.
We find the inspiration for this drink in the tradition of toasting, the practice of dropping a small piece of stale toast into wine. This was thought to soak up acidity and improve palatability. William Shakespeare coined the term in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor whose character Sir John Falstaff famously called for a quart of spiced wine and demanded “Put a toast in’t”.
Rancio Negroni (c.1873)
Gin, vermouth, Campari, mushroom, fig, eucalyptus & pepper berry.
Since the 1800s Australia has been recognised as a leading producer of fortified wine, often characterised by a unique flavour known by as rancio. This is a very particular bouquet of musk, ripe fruit, cheese and mushroom that can also be found in an extensively aged Cognac. These flavours are all reflected in the Rancio Negroni.
This drink had many different iterations as rancio is such a hard flavour to replicate. At one stage a major component was a distillate of cheese rinds; we tested parmesan, cheddar, and stilton. The result was interesting and surprising but a bit too overpowering for the final drink we had in mind, so it wasn’t used.
Balancing the mushroom and presenting it in a drink was an interesting puzzle and one of the hardest parts of developing the whole flight. Eventually we decided to dehydrate the mushroom trimmings from the kitchen. Once dry, they are cold infused into sweet vermouth. Eucalyptus is then added and infused to make mushroom vermouth. Next a fig gin is made: figs are cooked sous vide in gin with pepper berry and dried tangerine peel.
Both the fig gin and mushroom vermouth are mixed with Campari and water, then bottled and stored in the freezer to be poured to order.
Tipsy Cake Milk Punch (c.1860)
Caramel, Cognac, pineapple, brioche, clarified milk, & Semillon
The Tipsy Cake Milk Punch was in the works for about a year; we knew we wanted to use brioche trim but finding the perfect ratio then infusion method for the milk and brioche with the rest of the components of the drink took quite a few tries.
Brioche from the iconic Tipsy Cake is used to make a brioche milk and apple caramel dripping from brushing pineapples for its garnish to make a caramel cognac. Pineapple syrup, the caramel cognac, a butter infused Semillon and lemon juice are all combined and mixed with the brioche milk then left to clarify. This gives a crystal clear yet velvety textured drink with the toasted, buttery brioche and fragrant pineapple notes that the Tipsy Cake dessert is renowned for. This drink is also bottled and poured to order.
In antiquity punch was often the celebratory drink of choice and was consumed at gatherings of clubs and societies held in taverns, coffee houses or specialty punch houses. Our version of milk punch is a take on another Victorian favourite, the Tipsy cake: stale sweet bread, cake or biscuit soaked with as much wine and brandy as could be absorbed, then topped with custard.
The flight experience includes three tasting size cocktails accompanied by bar snacks for $80 per person. Available until the end of July.