Christmas is done and dusted – phew – but now New Year’s Eve is knocking at he door.
If you’re hosting a party, it’s time to get organised. And cocktails are a good way to keep your guests entertained. Chris Wilson is the master mixologist at Newcastle’s Koutetsu. He knows a thing or two about what people are drinking, and what’s in and what’s out when it comes to cocktails.
So, what’s on trend?
“In house, cocktail wise, we have been noticing more demand for some lesser-known classics,” he told Food & Wine. “Quality booze served with fresh ingredients and flavour modifiers like bitters and syrups.”
Classics like Sazerac (the New Orleans version of the classic whisky cocktail with whisky, water, bitters and sugar), Twelve Mile Limit (rum, whisky, brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice) and Vieux Carre (cognac and rye whisky cocktail) have, he says, been selling well.
“Spirit wise, Scotch and Japanese whisky always moves, but the big hero of 2018 has been Australian craft gin,” Wilson said.
A few examples spring to mind: Four Pillars, Something Wild Beverage Company, Hippocampus, Kilderkin, Prohibition Gin, Larrikin, The Melbourne Gin Company, Apple Distillery, Manly Spirits, Adelaide Hills Distillery, the Central Coast’s Distillery Botanica and Pokolbin’s Hunter Distillery.
Forget the bubbles, though, at your own peril: “As always, cold Champagne goes down a treat on New Year’s Eve. And as a general rule, if you are making cocktails at home, focus on making one or two great cocktails instead of a variety of average ones.”
And his predictions for 2019?
“Spirits like Cognac, Amaro and rye whisky have been making a resurgence and we hope this continues to grow,” Wilson said.
“People having quality drinks with colleagues, partners or friends after work is something we at Koutetsu have been trying to push. Rather than having several beers at the pub, come in for a classic and try one of our in-house creations of a spirit from our extensive selection. With the opening of the light rail, we hope this becomes a more accessible option.”
Another spirit to watch is rum. For years associated with country pubs and a certain polar bear, a rum renaissance is riding the craft spirit revolution and being championed by the likes of Brix and Jimmy Rum.
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