A spritzy cocktail primed for dinner parties and lazy weekends. MATTY HIRSCH, introduces us to the Waratah Spritz from renowned bartender, Evan Stroeve.
Sep 13, 2023 3:00am
If anyone’s positioned to forecast what lies ahead for Australian cocktails, it’s Evan Stroeve. In 2021, the Sydney bartenders was named Australian Bartender of the Year in Diageo’s prestigious World Class competition – a fitting honour for a young gun who cut his teeth at the legendary Shady Pines Saloon, before assuming general manager roles at the sorely missed Bulletin Place at Matt Whiley’s pioneering waste-conscious bar, Re.
“More now than ever, bartenders are using cocktails to tells stories that extend beyond spirit, syrup and juice, and to reconnect with people to the things that consume,” he says.
This decidedly holistic approach is front and centre in the Waratah Spritz, a produce-driven, low-ABV palate primer. To build it, Stroeve begins by infusing apera, or Australian dry sherry, with yuzu grown by Hunter Valley citrus farmer Peter Dryden. Rhubi Mistelle – the rhubarb aperitif Stroeve co-founded in 2020 – adds bittersweetness, and a piquant native shrub by fermenter Gabriel Gutnik (owner of Ziggy’s Wild Foods) doubles down on the tartness.
“To make a good cocktail, you need a garden, field, orchard or vineyard and, above all, people to tend them,” say Stroeve. “I hope the future continues to explode with their stories.”
How to make a Waratah Spritz
To make yuzu apera, peel 300gm of whole yuzu, set aside skins and slice the peeled fruit into very thin wheels. Combine slice fruit and peel with 750ml Australian Apera in a sealed container, refrigerate overnight, then strain, discarding fruit and peel. In a wine glass, combine 40ml yuzu apera, 20ml Rhubi Mistelle and 15ml Ziggy’s Wild Foods Wild Strawberry Gum, Watermelon & Feral Orange Shrub (see note). Top with ice, 80ml soda water and stir lightly to combine. Garnish with a lemon myrtle leaf.
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