Refined Vices

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Jamie Black Pearl

When you first step inside the Black Pearl you immediately feel right at home, drawn in by the warm, relaxed interior design and welcomed by the friendly staff member behind the bar. I waste no time and walk straight to the bar to order a drink. While waiting, I notice a few familiar faces from the Melbourne bar scene as well as international visitors.

Most unexpectedly I bumped into a friend I’d made at the Rum Fest in London last year. It was one of those surprising ‘hey, I know you!’ moments. The word of the evening’s special event we had arrived for, had definitely been passed around.

Lorena and Greg It was the arrival of Lorena Vasquez, the master blender of Ron Zacapa, that had attracted us all to the Black Pearl and not only that it was the launch of a cool new section upstairs at the Black Pearl, appropriately named the Attic. In preparations for Lorena’s visit, the Attic had been decorated with Ron Zacapa branded oak barrels, the shelves stacked with Zacapa rum and menus created specifically to celebrate Lorena’s first visit to Australia.

Furthermore, three bartenders from the cocktail bars Gin Palace, 1806 and Newmarket Hotel had been invited to work behind the bar recreating their top Ron Zacapa cocktails from the World Class Gentleman’s Cocktail Round, presented by Diageo Reserve Brands.

It was actually Benny McKew’s blazed cocktail, Camaron that gave the place the final touch in cosiness with its home baked aromas wafting all over the Attic. The bartenders made sure that everyone who wanted, had some form of Zacapa cocktail in their hand and if one needed to cool down, then Shaun Byrne from Gin Palace was there to help you with his Freeze One Ron cocktail.

While politely introducing herself to every patron in the Attic, Lorena was also seen enjoying one of the bartender’s creations, Mayan Sacrifice, by Jamie Chesher from Newmarket Hotel. The atmosphere and mood was completely relaxed, and it was particularly wonderful to see Lorena casually making her way from armchair to armchair and engaging in conversation with everyone like old friends.

Yet another great way to end a full day of work and begin a new week.

World Class Zacapa Cocktails

Jamie Chesher from NewMarket Hotel (Mayan Sacrifice)

30ml Ron Zacapa 23
25ml Cinzano Rosso
15ml Cherry Heering
15ml Plum & Clove spiced Tokay

Stir and strain into cocktail glass

Grapefruit twist

Benny McKew from 18o6 (Camaron)

45ml Ron Zacapa 23
7.5ml Amaro Montenegro
10ml Monin White Chocolate Syrup
7.5ml Monin Chai Syrup
15ml Hot Water
A small knob of butter (approx. 1cm x 1cm)
A pinch of salt

Method, Glassware & Garnish:
Combine all ingredients and blaze in the traditional manner.
Serve in an old fashioned glass on a tea saucer with two shortbread biscuits on the side.

Shaun Byrne from Gin Palace (Freeze One Ron)

45ml Ron Zacapa 23
30ml Cold Pressed Chocolate syrup
House made mineral water top
Few Fee borthers cherry bitters

Method, Glassware & Garnish:
Build over ice in goblet 

Related reviews:
Ron Zacapa Centenario 23

Related articles:
Ron Zacapa Part I: Interview With the Master Blender
Ron Zacapa Part II: Solera System Explained
Ron Zacapa Part III: Evolution of the Packaging

Were you there? Tag yourself or anyone you know on the Facebook photo album or talk about the night in the forums.



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