For Door Knock’s Tops N Tails cocktails, they make their own vermouth

Bartender Judith Zhu makes vermouth from waste wine.

For Door Knock’s Tops N Tails cocktails, they make their own vermouth
This drink is one of the Boothby Top 50 Drinks of the Year 2023 — you can see the full Top 50 here.

Tops N Tails cocktail


From the drink’s originator, Judith Zhu:

“The concept behind Tops & Tails draws inspiration from the fundamental beliefs of Flor De Cana as a brand. Its name symbolises the utilisation of ingredients derived only from wastage within our own bar’s ecosystem. Further, the falernum can be repurposed as a base for any tiki cocktail and mocktail creation. Our homemade vermouth showcases the remarkable potential of lengthening the use of wine. The chocolate was sourced from sustainable and fair trade brand Callebaut, with any excess melted and reused for indulgent whiskey and rum tastings.”


  • 45ml flor de cana 12
  • 15ml reclaimed homemade waste wine vermouth
  • 15ml homemade waste falernum
  • 3 dash orange/chocolate/saline solution

Garnish with tempered dark chocolate art


90ml batch pour over ice in old fashion rocks glass, garnished with tempered dark belgium chocolate.

For the Reclaimed Homemade Waste Wine Vermouth:

1.Herbal Rum Base for Vermouth

  • 500ml Flor De cana 4
  • 0.01g Worm wood
  • 0.005 Gentian Root
  • 0.005g ground Oregano
  • 0.001g Angelica Root
  • 0.001g Vanilla Bean
  • 0.01g lemon Peel
  • 0.005g Orange peel
  • 0.001g Cinchona
  • 0.001g sage
  • 00.1g thyme
  • 0.001g Basil
  • 0.001g Rosemary
  • 20g Carrot head/offcuts
  • 20g Tomato stem/offcuts
  • 10g Bell peppers (stem/offcuts)

Combine all ingredients, vegetable waste (diced) in vacuum seal bag and sous vide at 40 degrees for 2 hours. Make sure to massage ingredients through the bag throughout the sous vide process. Filter and strain with an oil filter. (yield ≈ 500ml)

2. Adding Waste Wine and Dosage to Rum Base
500ml Herbal Rum Base
1500ml Waste Wine (Viognier/skin contact wines were used as that was the highest wastage at Doorknock)
500ml (1:1) Sugar Syrup

Combine herbal rum base with ratio of waste wine, based on availability and amount of ingredient usage. (yield ≈2.5L)

Homemade waste falernum:
500g Lemon Husk
75g Banana Skin
100g Pineapple Skin
200g Dates
200g Lime Husk
4 star anise
20 cloves
400ml water
750g sugar

Combine all ingredients, fruit waste (diced) in a vacuum seal bag and sous vide at 60 degrees for 1 hours. Make sure to massage ingredients through the bag throughout the sous vide process. Filter and set aside.

Clarification of Falernum:
4g Agar
250g water

Heat up water to 90 degrees, combine with agar and mix consistently. Pour hot Agar Solution into a metal container. Pour falernum undisturbed into agar mix. Refrigerate in the freezer for 30 min or until slight jellylike consistency. Lightly break jelly consistency and allow it to thaw through oil filter for clarification. (yield ≈ 750ml)

Chocolate/Saline/Orange Solution:
5ml Orange Bitters
5ml Chocolate Bitters
5ml water
1g salt

Combine in dropper

Tempered Dark Chocolate Garnish
Acrylic sheets
Dark chocolate
Sous Vide
Food scale
Non-serrated knife
Small vacuum bags
Vacuum seal 500g dark chocolate into bags
Melt chocolate at 40 degrees using sous vide, whilst massage thoroughly.
Lower temperature to 27 degrees to reach first stage of crystallization
Increase temperature of chocolate to 31 degrees, optimal form for tempering.
Cut vacuum seal bag and spread onto acrylic sheets using spatula
Once chocolate is hard enough to touch, use pastry molds to cut out shape.