Award-winning Australian mixologist reimagines 1850s gold-rush era cocktails with modern twists

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am


For Sebastian Reaburn, being a successful bartender is about more than just making a great drink.

'You've got to like people and the drinks you make,' the award-winning Australian mixologist said.

'Bartending is about hospitality and it is your passion that people relate to.'

Australia's bartender of the year in 2008, Reaburn is in town for MO Bar's fourth annual Masters of Mixology series, which started on Wednesday and ends tomorrow night.

This year's line-up of top bartenders includes Japan's Manabu Ohtake and America's Jim Kearns, John Lermayer, Eric Alperin and Adam DelGiudice.

For the event, Reaburn introduced modern twists to some classic recipes. For instance, he added eucalyptus leaves to the cognac-based Koala Stinger. And his version of the Sherry Cobbler is inspired by cocktails from the 1850s.

'I really love the history of cocktails,' said Reaburn, who founded a popular Melbourne bar called 1806. That was why he pored over newspapers and documents from the Australian gold-rush era, looking for classic recipes that disappeared after the period ended.

The gold rush, Reaburn said, had brought bartenders to Melbourne from around the world.

'But when it ended, everyone left. So that part of history was gone. By looking at how the bartenders back then did the classic recipes, I try to reinterpret them [with a modern twist].'