Australian drinking has never been so good.
It has been a busy week here at Boothby HQ as I’ve been pulling together the second annual Boothby Top 50 Drinks of the Year.
I like to think of this as a snapshot of the way we drink at bars right now. These aren’t drinks designed for cocktail competitions and never made in real life behind the stick — instead, the Awards set out to highlight the great drinks bartenders are slinging across the bar every night.
So a few weeks back, bartenders from bars all across the country put their best drinks forward to be considered for the 2023 Boothby Drink of the Year Awards.
First up, the stats. We had 246 entries come in, around another 100 on last year, from bars across the country.
Some 42 percent of the Top 50 drinks are coming from NSW; 24 percent come from Victoria, and QLD increased its representation on the list this year nabbing 8 spots. Adelaide stayed steady with three drinks in the Top 50, Perth nabbed three, Canberra two, and Darwin got one.
What are we drinking right now?
Yoghurt, by the looks of things, with a number of recipes using yoghurt and other dairy products to add texture to, and clarify, their cocktails. Yakult even gets a run in a cocktail this year, but the trend of Milk Punch isn’t going anywhere.
Verjuice seems to be the alternative acid of choice for many Australian bartenders, and in-venue experiments with fermentation continue apace.
And we love carbonation in this country. Perhaps it’s a response to the climate here, but it appears the bartenders of Australia love serving up Spritzes and alcoholic sodas, often with juicy Australian ingredients.
And that’s the big takeaway: big bold flavours are the order of the day, along with an emphasis on great Australian produce.
Australia is a very good place to drink at in 2023. You can read all the recipes for each of the drinks in the Top 50 — just check out the list here.
So what happens next?
Each of the bartenders with a drink on the Top 50 are invited to the exclusive Boothby Drink of the Year Awards on Sunday 19 November at Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern in Sydney. Invites are going out shortly, so please keep an eye on your inboxes, save the date and book your flights — we're going to have one heck of a party.
On the night, we’ll be counting down, from 50 to 1, the Drinks of the Year, and awarding four big awards along the way:
- The Drink of the Year presented by Patrón Tequila;
- The People’s Drink of the Year presented by Orlando;
- Bartender of the Year presented by The Exchange;
- and Drinks List of the Year presented by Perrier.
In the meantime, voting is open for the Boothby People’s Drink of the Year presented by Orlando — all you have to do is check out the Top 50 and vote for your favourite below before Wednesday 15 November 2023.