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How Australian distilleries are widening our whiskey options

17 May 2019

Provenance, small-batch, craft… These have fast become the buzzwords of the Australian bar scene. In fact, you might say we’re in the grips of a food renaissance, with many of our artisanal producers gaining the world’s notice. Most recently, Tasmania’s Sullivans Cove Distillery won World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards.


Conveniently, there’s a sleek new whiskey bar at the QVB where you can sample it. Esquire Drink + Dine is a sophisticated lair designed for late-night dining and sipping. At this dimly lit and dapper venue, prize-worthy Australian spirits such as Sullivans sit alongside the world’s best, hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, Canada, the U.S and even India.


The expert behind the drinks list is Matt Beaumont, previously of The Star and Merivale, who says many are finally looking to Down Under for stand-out distilleries. “Australians are really becoming aware of the great distilleries on their own doorstep,” he says. “No longer are bartenders having to push these brands – they are being called for. And more often than not, those savvy consumers are asking for the latest releases, looking for that next great Australian whiskey experience.”


As for the best way to enjoy it – that all boils down to the drop. For Beaumont, it’s “neat with just a little bit of water on the side, to add depending on the whiskey.” As a general rule, light, floral, low-alcohol varieties need just a few drops of water to really open up. If you’re drinking something bigger and bolder, you’ll need a little more water to enjoy the subtle, delicate flavours within.


At Esquire Drink + Dine, there’s an expansive selection of whiskies that continues to grow, and staff that will help guide your visit. “Beyond the whiskey, every aspect of the experience has been carefully considered to ensure a world-class experience,” says Beaumont. That even extends to the ice used. “Japanese ice-machine Hoshizaki is the house stuff, but Sydney-based Bare Bones Ice Co specialty blocks are available on request.”


Make a dent in the expansive whiskey list at Esquire Drink + Dine at the QVB.