By Sacha Delfosse
Sydney was treated to a smorgasbord of cocktail events from May 5 to 13 as the Museum of the American Cocktail’s World Cocktail Week was vigorously celebrated by two of the city’s leading hospitality groups.
Merivale’s extensive range of events, inspired by Yakusan’s previous World Cocktail Week celebrations, were designed and driven by group bars manager, Mike Enright, and Mixxit national business manager, Jason Crawley.
“We did a big promotion last year for World Cocktail Week with Merivale and after that we started to build the relationship with the Museum of the American Cocktail,” Enright said.
“The aim for Merivale was to create a good celebration of the cocktail and to create awareness of the history of the cocktail. It’s not a money maker; it’s more about promoting cocktails and letting people know that Merivale is dedicated to the craft of bartending.”
Merivale offered patrons a variety of master classes at its different venues, as well as some interesting major events such as a Vintage Cocktail Night with Veteran bartenders, a Gentlemen’s Finishing School and The Magnificent 7, a live cocktail competition won by Ben Tua from Mint Nightclub in Perth.
“A competition like The Magnificent 7 is good for consumer to see the work craft behind the cocktail, and the Gentlemen’s Finishing School was a good way for people to see the what, where and why of drinking,” Enright explained.
Although the Cognac Masterclass had to be cancelled due to lack of numbers, most events sold out and gave consumers access to the type of cocktail education normally reserved for the trade, Enright said, with Merivale planning to run similar events at next year’s WCW.
Over at Keystone, group cocktail manager, Jason Williams oversaw its first foray into WCW celebrations, offering a mix of events from the educational to the recreational, culminating in the 80s themed Hospo Wrap Party on Sunday (May 15).
“We decided to jump on because we wanted to give something back to people who support Keystone and reaffirm our dedication to cocktail culture as a group and put on some cool events,” Williams explained.
“We identified the main areas that people associate with cocktails like the Martini, which is an icon in the cocktail culture and something the mainstream associated with cocktails, so we wanted to do a session where we de-myth the Martini, and also Prohibition, which was such a famous time in cocktail culture so we wanted to look at that.”
Keystone also found themes and designed events to match the business of its different locales, creating a celebration of beer and cocktails for The Australian Hotel, and developing a mulled wine event that ran across its Gazebo Wine Garden, Manly Wine and The Winery venues.
“The response from the trade has been overwhelmingly positive and form the consumers that have come to the sessions we have received great feedback as well so we’re looking forward to improving next year and rocking out and continuing to engage with Keystone’s consumers and the hospitality trade, not just during World Cocktail Week, but doing this kind of stuff on an ongoing basis as well,” Williams said.