Sonia Bandera was our young waiter of the year in 2013. Here she shares top trends for 2017 and her go to classic cocktail recipe The Martinez..
What do you see trending in Melbourne right now?
The trend of people making Australian Vermouths, Bitters etc is really starting to take off and we’re seeing better quality products. There’s also more of an openness from the general public to try alternatives to the brands of Campari and Aperol and other big names like them. As the public becomes more informed and more open, the market for these things is opening up. I’m a huge fan of Contratto Bitter and Aperitif as substitutes for Campari and Aperol as well as their White Vermouth. I also love that the Australian counterparts are embracing our native ingredients. There is so much to be utilised and appreciated here.
What’s exciting you about 2017?
I think that I’m excited about the same thing everyone is – Melbourne playing host to The Worlds 50 Best! We’re going to have all the leading Professionals in our industry coming to our shores and I’m excited to show them just how rich our Food and Drink culture is. I’m hoping we are able to showcase the things that are native to Australia and also our multiculturalism. Hopefully this also includes us embracing and showcasing our Indigenous culture, which shamefully, we don’t do enough.
What do you see as the next big thing in 2017?
I think we’re going to see the emergence (or re-emergence) of the proper late-night eatery. As Melbourne moves to be a 24 hour city, we’re already seeing more venues do one off late nights or venues such as Kirk’s with their new site. Hospitality staff may rejoice at the prospect of something other than Ling Nam to eat after work!
What are you ‘crushing on’ this week?
I’m a big fan of a good cocktail. I owe most of what I know to the patient and talented people at The Black Pearl. I have been known to sit and pick their brains and ask lots of questions. To their credit, they’re free with their knowledge and make an amazing drink. I have a few standards that I fall back on but the one that tops the list and that I’m really loving again this week, and to take us back to Vermouths and such, is the Martinez. I love a good classic and the guys down at the Pearl make a mean one with Ransom Barrel aged Gin. I like mine Vermouth heavy but you can play around with the specs depending on your tastes.
|My preferred recipe for this Grandfather to the Martini is…|
50mls Sweet Vermouth
25mls Old Tom Gin (I like Ransom Barrel Aged personally)
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino
Dash of Orange Bitters (technically Boker or Jerry Thomas but doesn’t have to be)
Stir down and serve straight up in a Coupette or Martini Glass.
Lemon garnish (traditionally a lemon triangle but a twist does fine as well).
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