First published on 2 May 2012. Updated on 20 Jun 2012.
The Standard Hotel was shaken to its core last night as Melbourne and Sydney’s top bartenders took to the ring for the Time Out Shakedown – a good old-fashioned cocktail stoush, replete with some good old-fashioned facial hair.
A 300 strong crowd of Time Out readers watched on as Sydney’s well-moustachioed bartenders Brendan Keown of the Hazy Rose, Simon McGorman of Gardel’s bar and defending Shakedown champion Neilson Braid from Rockpool Bar and Grill faced off against Melbourne finalists Evan Stanley of the Black Pearl and Jacob Taylor (the sole bare-faced contestant) of Lily Blacks.
They came to the table armed with Southtrade International’s artillery of premium spirits including Patron, Green Fairy, Hayman’s London Dry Gin, Pusser’s Rum, and of course, Buffalo Trace bourbon. Stanley barely made it over the border with his sack of Persian fairy floss contraband.
But it’s lucky he did – Stanley took out the runner up spot with his Buffalo Trace based 'Double Entendre Fizz', bested only by Brendan Keown’s 'Tommy Goes to Prague' Absinthe cocktail and superior smack-talk. Which is what a Shakedown is all about.
It was a majority rules decision, as punters sampled each of the five cocktails and cast their vote for the bartender they deemed to have the best left and right hook of ace drink and great chat.
And so it was that Keown walked away with a set of Bang and Olufsen Boesound 8 speakers, two nights stay in Melbourne’s Crown Casino, a $500 tab at Melbourne bar Hoo Haa, $500 of Uber bar tools, engraved bottles of Patron Platinum and Patron XO Café and of course, 12 months of glory.
There was plenty of action outside of the ring too as punters were dazzled with magic-trickery and acrobatic wizz-bangery by Slide Cabaret’s El Circo team including Susie Q on the pole, Daniel spinning the plates, the lovely Catherine on vocals and burlesque extraordinaire Gypsy Wood. Keeping the crowd lubricated between ‘tail tastings was free-flowing Sunshack Cider, Little Creatures Pale and White Rabbit Dark, a selection of wines from New Generation Hunter Valley and Green Fairy Wicked Party Punch.
Grill’d, Gelatissimo and Lindt provided ample safety buffers in the form of burgers, and ice cream and chocolates. In short, it was a hell of a party, so get your planners ready for the rumble in 2013.
Thanks to our sponsors