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My Top Shelf Day | My Faves from the Day

Sunday, 9 February 2014
Folks in the bar industry, everyday quality beverage lovers and professionals/owners were all found under the roof of the Melbourne Exhibiton Building in the Carlton gardens on Sunday at The Top Shelf Event. I was also included in that list, but unlike those around me this was my first event like the Top Shelf, as I have never been to anything like this before.. 
And here I am today (Monday) sitting here pretty hung-over and a little bit seedy after mixing a wide range of alcohols and cocktails in my belly, only to head off to the St. Kilda festival afterwards. Pretty sure I will not be drinking for the rest of the year.

Attending the Top Shelf I not only discovered new brands and drinks out in the market and created relationships, but I walked out with a brain full of knowledge.

I cannot wait to attend this event each and every year and watch just how much it changes. You honestly get your monies worth attending this festival, as you would drink your pennies worth in samples and may even pick up a free hat or fan along the way like me J 

One of the important things for you to do while at the event is check out the demonstrations. You will have to wait until next year Melbournian’s as the Top Shelf Show has packed up and left town for this year.

The first piece of information I wanted to share with you comes in the form of tequila- you know that drink that has the “Shot” label, the one we all start off with at a bar to get us going with a lick of salt and a bite of lemon.  Well thanks to the Top Shelf event that has all changed for me and I have A LOT of respect for tequila now (not that I like it.) Did you know it can take anywhere from7-15 years just to grow the agave plant, which produces the tequila but then it needs to be cooked and cured. So the process it takes to just to get that pure liquid into a bottle should be respected a lot more then shotting it down at the bar. I was lucky enough to taste quite a few varieties including………..  All very interesting hearing the stories and those families that own the Agave farms in Mexico.

SOME OF MY FAVES FROM THE TOP SHELF EVENT:::

YCHILLI

I found a stand there that I wish I never did.. This stand was the Ychilli liqueur.. Let me tell you first hand, that stuff is HOT!!!! I don’t like chilli, but having my partner with me who loves the stuff talked me into trying it… All I can say is I can still feel it today, and it is a taste I will not forget. Like I said above I am not a chilli person so this was not for me, but my partner did try it and absolutely LOVED it and encouraged me to buy him a bottle, but we couldn’t carry it around at St Kilda festival without getting it confiscated. I did try the yChilli’s pinapple liqueur and fell head over heals- this could potentially make the BEST pina colada.





MR BLACK

As seen on my blog a little while ago, you can find the link here. Luckily at the Top Shelf I was able to meet the brains and director of Mr Black- MR Baker (Tom Baker) It was lovely speaking to Tom about his product and just seeing his passion behind the black gold! The only shame is I wish more people knew about this product and to get it on more bar shelves. If you like coffee or any cocktail that is made with coffee this is your ultimate alcoholic bevvy. Chuck it in you coffee in the morning for a kick, or just into milk to create an ice coffee- I tried an Ice coffee at the Top Shelf expo, threw it on ice and this was AMAZING… Breaka can kiss this customer goodbye, I found something better!!



BROOKEVALE UNION 

The biggest compliment probably came from Matt with this drink. He doesn’t like ginger beer at all and I could go as far to say he HATES it. Butttttt he loved this drink and even went back for a second sample, naughty, naughty.
If I did not have the St Kilda festival after Top Shelf Show I would have purchased a whole heap of these at home. The Brookevale Union Ginger beer for me would have to be the ultimate summer drink, and one they MAY go down way to easy. You cannot taste the alcohol in the bottle what so ever and if I wasn’t told it was alcoholic I probably wouldn’t have known any different.
What caught my eye with this product is the packaging and hologram logo.  Brookvale union also make a mean apple cider, but hands down the ginger beer is my favourite of the two. Pretty sure you will also LOVE the website, I know I do. 



PAVAN LIQUER

This is another bottle I wanted to add to the shopping list but couldn’t as we were catching a tram to the St Kilda Festival and would have had it confiscated. For me this liqueur won the award for best bottle of the expo, and is one that when you finish you want to pop on the table just for decorations filled with water.
But then after I got over my little trace with the bottle I was blown away and taken to a French heaven when my palate came into contact with the contents of Pavan. The sweet grape flavour was delish and I would say even purple Hubba Bubba like, I would enjoy this drink in lemonade and on ice. Very girls and very French - Oui Oui (yes, yes.)


CASA MEXICO- Bruxo Mezcale

So at Top Shelf I tried a little more tequila then I expected and almost all of them taste exactly the same with a small difference in smoothness and kick. But Casa Mexico had a clear stand out with their Bruxo Mezcale, having a real smoked flavour to it. Again I was taught a lot of amazing tricks to turn tequila into a cocktail rather then shotting it down and wasted that precious mother milk as Casa Mexico call it.
Again my partner and I are not really tequila kids but we will be making it our mission to have Casa Mexico at our next Cocktail party!

The last one from me is

ANGOSTURA

Dead set had no idea Angostura made anything but bitters. I have never tried another bitters other then Angostura, but seeing there FULL range at the Top Shelf show has opened up a whole new door.
On show they had Angostura Reserva which is aged for up to 3 years. The Angostura 5 year old and then the Angostura 7 year old. I started with the Reserva and moved up to the 5 and then the 7 to see if I could taste the difference. For me the 7 year old was the clear favourite as there was not bite or kick at the end and was so smooth on the entire palate.



See you next year Top Shelf- Ps can you tell Melbourne to not be so windy this year so I can enjoy the Gin Garden, as when I arrived it was sooo windy they had to close it off and bring most of it inside.


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