Rob Roy Hotel on Halifax Street has made a name for specialised alcohol nights, particularly scotch and new world whiskeys, However, last night’s bourbon night has shed a light on a spirit which doesn’t get the accolades that wine, whiskey or craft beer has, yet accounts for a significant part of Australia’s alcohol consumption. The evening was fantastic and seemed to be primarily made up of their ‘members’, which on the back of tonight, is definitely worth it for fans of quality booze and food pairings.
Bourbon, the strong distilled liquid derived, primarily from corn, is famously, the staple of the American spirit market, particularly in the southern states. Rather than simply match bourbon to food, the venue set out a more relaxed casual dining setting, rather than their usual formal sit down structure and the friendly Beam Santuri spokeswoman was happy to out on an informative bourbon cocktail masterclass.
The evening kicked off with chicken shasliks with an intense bourbon and bacon infused sauce. The succulent chicken was moreish and paired well with the bittersweet Boulevardier cocktail, punctuated by a strong but refined Jim Beam Double Oak with Campari and vermouth rounding off the ingredient list.
The flavour factor went up another notch with the next course: sumptuous pork ribs drenched in a sweet bourbon marinade. Whilst it’s fair to suggest you can never go wrong with pork ribs, the generous amount of sweetly drenched meat and the near-melt in your mouth texture made this dish the highlight of the night. The well dressed potato accompaniment, was simple but ideal for pairing. This was paired with a Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned which brought out the lighter more accessible flavour profile of the bourbon.
To finish with the venue put on an informal lamb yiros spread with some rich lamb that had been roasting on a spit over several hours. This was offset by a classic with a twist: a Rye Royale Manhattan with a powerful kick of Knob Creek Rye whiskey. The rich gamey lamb and the dark spicy bourbon made for a combined intensity that was perfect for this cold winter’s night.
Rob Roy’s masterclasses are held once or twice a month and while the venue has a well deserved reputation for scotch and whiskey, they also venture into wine.
Masterclasses are free for members. Thinking about joining? Give the guys a call on 08 8223 5391 to find out what other benefits you’ll receive.
Photography by Paul Deer