Lot 20 is hosting four celebrations of Russell’s Reserve Bourbon in Perth, part of a larger Australia wide series of events. I was invited along to the second of these last week – and a rollicking, enjoyable, entertaining and informative show it was.
Luka, from the Campari Group, the distributors, as compere, gave a running commentary on the bourbons on display, as well as on Campari and Cinzano and showed us how these iconic Italian drops can be boon companions to bourbon in, for example, a classic Boulevardier cocktail. Luka has a certain flair and turn of phrase which kept us all enthralled and laughing.
And Doctor Zinc, Jerry Fraser, was there to shuck the oysters and give a rundown on those we sampled, along with a choice of toppings to complement the bourbon. And in the shucking he was ably assisted by his sons who helped the old man out.
We kicked the evening off with Iced Tea – made with Russell’s 10 year old, Earl Grey tea, Lemon juice, spiced maple ginger syrup and bitters – could make this my breakfast tipple! With it exceptional cornbread from the Lot 20 kitchen, along with house-smoked coffee and maple bacon and charred corn salsa – this got us settled in and ready for more.
The first trio of oysters came next – Wallis Lake Rock from NSW and Smoky Bay Pacific both with Shallot Vinaigrette and Firehorse special edition Bourbon and Chilli sauce – and Island Inlet from Tassie, another Pacific matched with Cinzano Rosso Vermouth Vinaigrette.
The accompanying 10 Year Old 90 Proof showed a fragrant bouquet of musk, bay leaf, vanilla and spice, while the smooth, rich, warm palate was all chilli, aniseed, finishing with spicy and caramel notes.
Next we were treated to Luka’s Boulevardier cocktail – mixed by some of the guests – and a wonderful drop it proved – the 10YO again along with Campari and Cinzano Rosso and squeeze of dried peel – the perfect companion to some more Lot 20 delights – Hickory Smoked chicken wings with a bourbon glaze – and to refresh the palate a glass of house-made Maple and Ginger soda (no booze in this one, however!)
Then it was back to the bourbon – this time Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Non-Chill Filtered 110 proof – what a beauty – aromas of almonds, cloves and mandarin peel, so like a Christmas pudding; flavours of molasses on the palate with a note of white pepper, and a lingering, smooth, satisfying finish of spice, so warm and rich.
With this another oyster trio – a sensational smoked Smoky Bay – smoked with an infusion of bourbon – plump, juicy – another Wallis Lake with a sorbet made from the Boulevardier – excellent, clean, fresh, cool flavours and finally Franklin harbour Pacific with a brilliant grilled pineapple and bourbon topping – for someone who almost always has his oysters natural this topping almost swayed me to change.
This drew the evening to an end but before we went a wonderful and unexpected gift for us all – a handcrafted oyster knife from Ryan Butcher of Carr Street Forge – made from recycled material each one was individual and simply amazing – what a talented guy Ryan is.
A fabulous night – Lot 20 a top bar, great company, excellent bourbon, as always outstanding oysters, fun and interesting commentary and to top it all off a work of art from Ryan. Long to be remembered. And you too can experience it all with two more shows to go – one on 7 September and the last on 21 September – if you love oysters, bourbon or just simply interested in food and drink matching – these shows are for you. Hop onto the Lot 20 website for details and to book. You will not be disappointed.