Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A sweet Dram(buie) at the Pullman Hotel

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be introducing new contributors to Food, booze and shoes. This article was written by Janice – whisky drinker, insomniac baker and dinner party queen.

From more than 250 years ago in Scotland, to many a parents’ or grandparents’ booze stash, to today at the swankily refurbished Pullman Hotel in the Sydney CBD south – Drambuie is a liqueur stalwart that exudes old-world sophistication.

Entrance to the Drambuie Bar Takeover at the Pullman Sydney
Hyde Park Hotel, College Street, Sydney
Starting today through to Sunday 3 March 2013 until 11pm each day, the Scottish liqueur brand has taken over the Pullman’s cocktail lounge into its very own surreal Drambuie Bar.

Guests are transported into the world of Drambuie with Salvador Dali-inspired surroundings, Drambuie-based cocktails, matching canapés and a limited edition Gelato Messina Drambuie gelato.

Flavours of Drambuie
Drambuie is a blend of aged Scotch whisky, spices, heather honey and herbs; a sweetened, easier-drinking version of whisky if you will.

The setting in the Pullman's cocktail lounge is excellently executed: playfully decked out in an old-world feel with Dali-styled photo props. The bar itself is an impressive with a modern, surreal feel.

The cocktail bar

Cocktail bartender

Contortionist at the launch event
During the launch event, a lithe contortionist provided surprising entertainment amid the Drambuie-sipping crowd, popping up in uncomfortable looking positions and adding to the theme surrealism and 'tasting the extraordinary'.

Duck gyoza, Bitter and Twisted Nail cocktail (front) and Rusty Mojito cocktail (back)
The Drambuie take on the classic mojito of white rum, mint, sugar and lime was promptly served upon arrival. The quite sweet combination of the Rusty Mojito was a refreshing drink to start on a warm, humid evening.

This was quickly followed by the "Bitter and Twisted Nail"; a new-age take on a classic Rusty Nail with Drambuie, Scotch whisky and Campari that was certainly on the stronger side.

Tastings of the Drambuie 15
In addition to Drambuie cocktails, the bar’s menu will include a tasting trio of classic Drambuie; Drambuie 15, made exclusively with 15-year-old Speyside malt whisky; and The Royal Legacy of 1745, a limited edition Drambuie with only 2,250 bottles created worldwide.

Not having tried Drambuie before, I was keen to taste this grain and malt blend, infused with herbs, heather honey and spices. Drambuie Original is a sweet, rich whisky liqueur with a gentle aftertaste of aniseed.

It's a great and easy introduction to the world of whisky, especially for non-whisky drinkers, as the sweetness offsets the strong first "hit" of whisky neat or on the rocks.

My favourite tipple of the night was the Drambuie 15, with a number of 15-year-old Speyside malt whiskies married with the original Drambuie elixir. I found myself slowly sipping this to savour the intriguing bouquet with its citrus blend and reduced sweetness.

We were then introduced to the limited edition Drambuie Royal Legacy of 1745. With only 2,250 bottles created, the original Drambuie elixir is balanced with subtle whisky oak and vanilla overtones. This is a more complex, smoother drink than both the Original and the Drambuie 15.

Kangaroo slider
Drambuie tastings are paired with matched canapés to enhance the flavours, including duck gyoza with a spicy, sweet sauce, caramelised pork belly pieces and oysters garnished with tangy, pink finger lime.

The highlight were the kangaroo sliders, featuring surprisingly tender and moist meat patties, cheese and pickled beetroot – it doesn’t get much more Australian than that.

Oysters with finger limes

Caramelised pork belly

Rusty Negroni
Jonathan Brown, regional director of Drambuie also kindly introduced us to the "Rusty Negroni", which is apparently on the menu at laneway small bar, Grasshopper Bar.

Chilled and strained Drambuie, Campari and Shiraz might sound like a direct route to a hangover, but this reminded me of sangria, albeit a more upmarket and weighty version.

Rusty Licker gelato by Gelato Messina
The event was also the premiere of a unique collaboration between Drambuie and Gelato Messina.

Conceived by Messina's artisan gelato masters, the "Rusty Licker" is a playful spin on the infamous Rusty Nail cocktail – a super-sweet gelato combination of caramel, ginger and Drambuie-soaked savoiardi biscuits.

Drambuie and Espresso Martini
The night ended with a very well-made Drambuie and Espresso Martini, with plenty of sweetness and both a whisky and caffeine kick.

Learning of Drambuie's versatility was quite a surprise - it can be enjoyed neat, over ice or simply as a long refreshing drink mixed with soda or ginger beer. This sweet dram certainly has a place in my liqueur cabinet. See more photos from the launch night on my Facebook page.

The Drambuie Bar Takeover runs from Wednesday 27 February to Sunday 3 March at the lounge bar of the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel.

Food, booze and shoes attended the launch of the Drambuie Bar Takeover at the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel as a guest, with thanks to DEC PR.


JB @ said...

OMG. Look at those oysters!!!

milkteaxx said...

that pork belly looks so good and messina gelato, winner!

Bob said...

Gotta say, the drinks were probably the highlight ;) quite enjoyed the rusties

Tina said...

Hi JB - I had so many I lost count! Delicious!

Hi milkteaxx - It sure was, and not overly boozy :)

Hi Bob - I quite liked the 15 neat, and the mojitos were a great start :)


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