DISCOVER THE WORLD CLASS 50

The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Luke Ashton’s New Frontiers

Luke Ashton represented Australia at the World Class Bartender of the Year final 2013.

Vasco is a one-year-old bar in Surry Hills, an area of Sydney synonymous with hipster culture, slow gentrification and a blossoming restaurant scene. The venue is owned by Sydneyside bartending legend Max Greco, formerly of Eau-de-Vie down the road in Darlingshurst. It has a very laid back vibe, serves simple Calabria-inspired bar food and a music themed seasonal cocktail list. The interior has been described as a student’s bedroom, bedecked with Rock & Roll memorabilia and some fantastic photographs.

The Bartender

Luke Ashton followed up plaudits in Time Out Sydney’s Best Bartender competition 2012 by winning World Class Champion of Australia 2013. Luke, 32, has been bartending for four years, and honed his skills in Melbourne with Mitch Bushell at Corner House and Charlie Ainsbury at Duke. Luke takes a lot of inspiration from food, and finds that access to some of Sydney’s most talented chefs helps bring his ideas to fruition. He has an artisanal approach to creating drinks, sourcing the best possible local and seasonal products.

In a city blessed with excellent drinks and haunts, seek out Luke. He likes his drinks to be fun and to some extent irreverent, often using brands that make you rethink traditional ingredients. Luke utilises elements of spice and bitterness to add length and complexity and take a good cocktail and make it truly great.

The Drink

The New Frontiers cocktail plays on the vanilla and coconut characteristics of Bulleit Bourbon, creating a Tiki-inspired concoction with Zacapa 23 and fresh lime and aromatic Australian pineapple. Smooth-leaf pineapples arrived in Queensland from London’s Kew Gardens in 1858 and found a perfect tropical home, producing exceptionally sweet and juicy fruit. This concoction was born one balmy night when a group of Luke’s friends gave him free rein to experiment. He wanted to create a tropically inspired Bulleit drink, and the result was a combination of refreshing pineapple and the warmth of Bourbon.

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The Technique

Bulleit Bourbon • 40ml
Ron Zacapa 23 • 10ml
Galliano Vanilla • 10ml
Fresh pineapple juice • 40ml
Fresh lime juice • 25ml
Orgeat • 10ml
Angostura bitters • 2 dashes
Contains 19 grams of alcohol per serve

Place all the ingredients in to a shaker. Shake well and strain in to a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and half an orange wheel with cracked black pepper on it for aroma.

Best enjoyed on a hot summer night in Sydney, when all you could want is something tropical and fresh. The best seat in the house? Sit at the bar and enjoy Luke and Max’s banter.


Images by gourmantic.com

Luke’s Insider’s Guide to Sydney

Place to stay
Shangri-La

Place to eat
Momofuku Seiōbo

Place to relax
Botanic Gardens

Place to lounge
Room 10 café

Place to dance
Frankie’s

Place to shop
Alfie’s friend Rolfe

Place to visit
Museum of Contemporary Art

Place to see
Milk Beach