By Sacha Delfosse
One of Sydney's newest venues, The Morrison, yesterday hosted the national final for the Hendrick's Hot Gin Punch Tournament, which saw 11 bartenders representing venues across the country showcased their talents.
The finalist venues were Goldfish Hunter Valley, The Roosevelt, Palmer and Co., Assembly, The Victoria Room, Black Pearl, Dining Haul, Golden Monkey, El Publico, The Bowery and The Empire Hotel.
A bartender from each venue served their Hendrick's Hot Gin Punch entry from eleven 'punch stations' that they got to create themselves. Each guest was provided with a voting token and after sampling the finalists' creations they were asked use their token to vote for their favourite out of the eleven.
Dominique Caicioli from The Dining Haul took home the crown with her tasty creation, Punch Drunk Love, which she served with a side dish of short bread and cream. The Roosevelt's Phil Gandevia came in closely in second place, with a beetroot inspired concoction, Hare & Hound Punch.
"I wanted to create a fun Hendrick's style project to create something different and 'unusual' in the on-premise during the colder winter months here in Australia, to get people thinking beyond the Hendrick's and tonic and Martinis that are delicious but more associated with the summer," said Hendrick's Gin brand ambassador Jamie Terrell.
The basic premise for the competition, Terrell said, was to hand pick accounts in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, and ask the bartenders at each venue to create their own recipe based on a set criteria he provided.
Entrants also had to create their punch and upload a video of their creation to a dedicated You Tube channel, as well as serve it for a minimum of two days during August.