Meet Australia’s Disaronno Mixing Stars 2016

Our Meet the People continues with the five Australian winners of Disaronno Mixing Stars competition for 2016.

Disaronno Mixing Stars
L-R: Joshua O’Brien (The Bowery, Brisbane), Andrea Marseglia (Boilermaker House, Melbourne), Phillip Weber (Mad Dog’s, Perth), Peter Kompes (Quban, Geelong), Jonothan Carr (Kittyhawk, Sydney)

Bartenders had to submit a signature cocktail using Disaronno in one of the Five Great Bartending Styles: Classic, Tiki, Molecular, Batched and Contemporary/Fun. The cocktails were then made, tasted and judged by Simon Difford who selected five winners per country.

We caught up with Australia’s Disaronno Mixing Stars for 2016 to learn about their cocktail inspiration and Disaronno’s role in mixology and cocktail trends.

MEET THE DISARONNO MIXING STARS:

Joshua O’Brien – Contemporary/Fun Category

Can you briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind it?
The Italian Snow takes inspiration from the summertime treat of the snow cone. It’s a combination of sweet fruity flavours paired with the iconic flavour of Disaronno.

How does your cocktail demonstrate Disaronno’s versatility in mixology particularly in the Contemporary/Fun category.
Disaronno is a fun product. My cocktail is about taking flavours that are familiar and pairing them with summer memories of snow cones and beach side holidays.

Do you see Disaronno as a key ingredient in today’s mixology and one that embraces a broad range of mixology styles?
Disaronno has become a staple in many bars around the world. With the customer experience always wanting to be better, bartenders are now taking something familiar and using it in new and exciting ways. We have 5 amazing cocktails that could be served in any bar around the world and they are all vastly different which shows how versatile this product is.

How does a cocktail competition centred on new and current cocktail trends influence the bartending industry and culture?
Trends come and go but with competitions, it’s about trying to stand out from everyone else and letting creativity run wild. Sometimes you just see something that you need to try yourself and see how you can make it work for you. If we weren’t always pushing our creativity, our industry would be a very boring and mundane place. Lucky we have competitions like this that allow people to try new styles, new techniques and new flavours in the quest to be a Mixing Star.

Andrea Marseglia – Batched Category

Can you briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind it?
I created Reina’s Legacy to celebrate Dominico Reina, the godfather of Italian liqueurs. The cocktail is a twist on the Godfather, with a more balanced and smokey flavour. The wineskin helps achieve more complexity and softness to the final flavour.

How does your cocktail demonstrate Disaronno’s versatility in mixology particularly in the Batched category.
My cocktail is built around the Disaronno flavour profiles: vanilla is supported by Ardbeg and Woodford Reserve, apricot and citrus from Lillet Blanc, and floral and orange notes from bitters. With the pine and juniper flavours from the wineskin, Disaronno reaches another level with an elegant and rich taste.

Do you see Disaronno as a key ingredient in today’s mixology and one that embraces a broad range of mixology styles?
Disaronno is a key ingredient, easy to mix because it’s built around so many versatile ingredients that nowadays we see it in every style of mixing drinks. I works well with whiskey and gin, as well as vodka.

How does a cocktail competition centred on new and current cocktail trends influence the bartending industry and culture?
Competitions influence bartending and cocktail trends all the time. It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase our skills, meeting new bartenders and exchanging ideas as well. It also extends knowledge further to the audience through the contestants and showcases the spirit and ideology behind it.

Phillip Weber – Tiki Category

Can you briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind it?

My cocktail, Cut through The Mist, is inspired by the time when I was a young boy, my grandfather would wake up early in the morning,  when fog would still be around our fields and he would pick apricots to make preserves and home-made booze. The flavour profile is dry yet delicate, with an uplifting charred fruitiness from the pineapple tied together with some pimento bitters giving Disaronno its moment to shine. It’s finished off with “Mad Mist”, a special blend of Disaronno and absinthe to make the aromas linger for longer.

How does your cocktail demonstrate Disaronno’s versatility in mixology particularly in the Tiki category.
Disaronno’s versatility is showcased by giving it the big screen for itself as the main flavour component and having the ability to pull everything together.

Do you see Disaronno as a key ingredient in today’s mixology and one that embraces a broad range of mixology styles?
Disaronno is an everyday liqueur that can be showcased in several drink styles. Many tiki drinks call for an apricot liquor. Why not an apricot kernel liqueur that adds some nutty fragrant notes.

How does a cocktail competition centred on new and current cocktail trends influence the bartending industry and culture?
You really get to measure the knowledge of bartenders skills by seeing how they incorporate new fads and trends into drinks. Certain bartenders can add a new dynamic and or skill level to the drink that really sets a benchmark for the future to come.

Peter Kompes – Molecular Category

Can you briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind it?

My drink, Pepper and Spice, is all about keeping it simple and letting the flavours of Disaronno shine. My goal with the molecular category was to make sure everything served a purpose other than just being flashy. I did a rapid infusion of pepper into Disaronno, and made a red wine based syrup to reduce the total volume of the drink.

How does your cocktail demonstrate Disaronno’s versatility in mixology particularly in the Molecular category?
My cocktail incorporates quite a few bold flavours from the spice of the peppercorns to the tannic nature of the wine, and Disaronno matches really well with both. The bitter-sweet aspect of it blends well and shows a lot of versatility.

Do you see Disaronno as a key ingredient in today’s mixology and one that embraces a broad range of mixology styles?
Absolutely, as bartenders we are often known to be big fans of things considered generally unpalatable by a lot of people due to high alcohol content or bold flavours. Disaronno is a great product to showcase what good cocktails are about but still remain approachable for the wider public.

How does a cocktail competition centred on new and current cocktail trends influence the bartending industry and culture?
Competitions are great in that they allow bartenders to play around and think outside the box. The drinks served in venues are often shackled by practicality and cost, all that is forgotten for these comps and some pretty special things can come out as a result.

Jonothan Carr – Classic Category

Can you briefly describe your cocktail, the flavour profile and the inspiration behind it?
My cocktail, Martinez Disaronno is a simple twist on the Martinez cocktail, a beverage I enjoy for its strong flavours and interesting heritage. There is much contention as to the original ingredients and recipe so I have chosen take all the best bits and make Disaronno the star of the show giving a boozy, slightly sweeter version applicable to the modern day.

How does your cocktail demonstrate Disaronno’s versatility in mixology particularly in the Classic category.
Disaronno lends itself to many applications in the classic category. Used well, it can replace sweeteners, modifiers and even vermouths in drinks we know and love like an old fashioned and Negroni.

Do you see Disaronno as a key ingredient in today’s mixology and one that embraces a broad range of mixology styles?
Considering people will always order an Amaretto sour in any cocktail bar, Disaronno will always have a place on the back bar. Its uses can stretch much farther as shown by the drinks that have come out of the Mixing Star competition.

How does a cocktail competition centred on new and current cocktail trends influence the bartending industry and culture?
Cocktail comps are a great method to push the drinks to new places, getting to come up with wild, one-off creations is freeing. Some of those aspects can find their way into the bar as a regular feature on lists and then become part of the norm. Barrel aging, batching, using molecular aspects of cooking and twisting classics are all now commonplace, perhaps somewhat due to people trying them in competitions.

In partnership with Spirits Platform.

Photo Credit: Steven Woodburn for Disaronno, used with permission.

Meet Australia’s Disaronno Mixing Stars 2016 was last modified: October 4th, 2016 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.