Welcome to 'In The Paddock'. As you may know having dined with us recently or by reading this blog page - we recently released our new season's menu. Not only did we make changes to our food but we created a brand new cocktail list. As the bar manager for The Paddock, Ron tasked me with designing our cocktail list which is something I always get way too over enthusiastic about! We sat down together and discussed what we liked and disliked with the old menu and what direction we wanted to take with the new menu. We agreed that we needed to use more of our Australian liquor in drinks that have more flavour and balance. The drinks on a menu needed to be nostalgic with more variety without physically making it bigger. It sounds like a lot but I believe we’ve achieved just that. The drinks that I chose encompass all of these factors and then some. These cocktails (and other booze in our bar) tell some cool stories which I'm going to share with you.
The original daiquiri is believed to have been created in the town of Daiquiri, Cuba around the turn of the 19th century. A bartender was mixing a cocktail similar to a Gibson (gin and lime) for a group of American mining engineers when suddenly the gin had been drunk dry and he had to improvise. Sounds like a Sunday at my place. The bartender grabbed a bottle of Cuban rum, added a healthy measure of lime, a small amount of sugar, gave the drink a short, sharp shake and served it straight up for the imbibing group. This delicious cocktail became their favourite drink. Long after the group left Cuba they continued to teach bartenders in different towns how to make the drink. One of the gentlemen decided it was finally time to create a name for it, and what better name than the beautiful city where the cocktail was first made!? Almost 120 years later - the daiquiri is now a staple cocktail known by bartenders all over the World. However, this story doesn’t end just yet.
Enter Ernest Hemingway - The famous American writer who loved a drink. After his wife divorced him and took his children away (due to his infidelity) he decided “screw it!” and jumped in his boat and sailed from the U.S. to Havana in Cuba. He bought a massive farm and his mistress moved in. Play on, player! During this time he wrote his most famous novel ‘From Whom The Bells Toll’ which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for literature and re-established him as a pioneer in his field.
Hemingway frequently visited the La Floridita Bar. However, after learning that he suffered from a diabetic condition he had to be mindful of his sugar intake. On his latest visit he asked the barman to produce him a daiquiri without sugar and headed to the toilet. By the time Hemingway had returned the bartender had produced a daiquiri with maraschino and grapefruit. The theory goes that after the barmen tried Hemingway's drink he wasn’t very fond of it and added the extra ingredients to make it better. Regardless, Hemingway approved! After more than 70 years and a 15,000-kilometre journey from Havana, the Hemingway Daiquiri (or Papa Doble it is often known) has made its way to tropical Far North Queensland at The Paddock Restaurant and Bar! I like to think that on a humid evening in Cairns (weather similar to Havana) this cocktail is what Hemingway would be enjoying while devouring some of delicious grass-fed natural beef!
The Margarita has a myriad of different origin stories ranging from experimenting bartenders that dedicated their drink after the singers and/or actresses that first tried their creation, to American socialites who arrogantly gave their own name to something they made for their guests at their own house party. One thing is for certain though – tequila, curacao, lime, sugar and salt are all ingredients in the classic cocktail regardless of when or who made it.
Now, the modern classic Tommy’s Margarita was first made by Julio Bermejo in the 1990s and is a dedication to his family’s restaurant. Since the drink was conceived more recently (unlike the daiquiri) it’s categorised as a modern classic, for now. However, it has made its way into bars all over the World in such a short period of time. We probably have modern technology to thank for this one (Unlike those dumb cat video or that new Rihanna song no one knows the words to). Julio made a twist on a Margarita that used 100% agave tequila rather than inferior 51% agave tequila, fresh Parisian lime juice and agave nectar in place of orange curacao. The drink is served over ice with a slice of lime and does not have salt rim! This means it takes less time to make and you have more time to drink this cocktail that tastes just as good, if not, better than it’s Daddy! Julio’s choice of 100% agave tequila stemmed from his restaurant’s claim-to-fame. Tommy’s Restaurant in San Francisco has the largest range of 100% agave tequila in the U.S. and arguably the World. It’s a tequila lover’s paradise! Side bar - Tequila that is 51% only just meets the minimum requirement to be tequila whereas 100% agave tequila is the best that you can get!
These are just some of the stories from a couple of the drinks on our list at The Paddock Restaurant and Bar! We’re open Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30pm so stop by and enjoy our Australian liquor and tight cocktails.