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Disaronno Mixing Star People's Choice Awards

Home > Sydney > Free | Competitions | Cocktail Bars | Bars
by Katherine Thomas (subscribe)
Having spent the last few years living abroad I now wish to rediscover my home city of Sydney to keep that 'travelling feeling' and share my findings with those that might want a bit of inspiration.
Free cocktails anyone?
Ladies and Ladettes flocked to one of Sydney's premier waterfront venues on Wednesday 15/5/13 to taste and compare finalist creations in the Disaronno Mixing Star competition at The Loft at Cockle Bay hosted by Gracie Otto; part of the worldwide Disaronno Mixing Star Competition series.

Dim lighting, fantastic canapés, low tunes and a waterfront vista all set the scene for a truly fabulous night out made all the better by sampling 3 of the top 15 concoctions as voted by the of the judging panel.

The servings were not small; in fact they were generous. Each and every patron whom was on the guest-list was fortunate enough to be given 3 tokens that could be exchanged for 3 drinks from the bar and thus compare the competing drinks. After sampling; you were invited to vote for your favourite by dropping a people's choice casino chip into the martini glass alongside your preferred cocktails area of the bar. One was at least 15oz with a domed lid (similar to a Frappuccino cup from Starbucks) and filled to the brim! From the volume on offer alone; guests were guaranteed a fantastic night.

The three cocktails that were available for sampling and thus eligible for the People's Choice Award were The Scarlett Rose by Quynh Nguyen, The Disaronno Candy Bar Combo by Jordan Blackman & The Death Proof Highball by James Connolly.

People's choice token

Without needing to officially vote; the winner was clear as people voted with their feet. The Scarlett Rose was preferential to the crowd by a mile with multiple guests returning with their tokens to have another rather than try a competitor's drink.

My accomplices for the evening and myself approved of the public vote as the strong strawberry flavour complimented the distinct Disaronno amaretto flavour with gorgeous presentation; each drink featuring a single rose petal floating on top of the liquid. Our second preference was James Connolly's Death Proof Highball, which would not have been out of place if served on a beach in the Pacific with strong tropical flavours. Our least favourite sadly was the Candy Bar Combo, as although it was the largest serving (a large domed lid plastic cup) and was the most manly of those on offer, the bitters and root beer jarred with the majority-female composition of the crowd.

Prawn wonton, Loft, Sydney, Disaronno
Delicious prawn wontons

High-quality canapés were served throughout the evening, including delicate bruscetta, exotic-looking fried prawn wontons and rissole boxes to name a few, which ensured that the tone of the evening remained classy and that guests didn't descend into a realm of empty-stomach antics. Gracie unfortunately seemed absent for much of the evening apart from an opening message and one or two call-outs; although in hindsight this was quite nice as it allowed patrons to focus on their companions and cocktail-tasting rather than be shepherded throughout the night. Best of all was this event was open to members of the Keystone Group's mailing list rather than just socialites or 'invite only' industry personalities – essentially anyone on this mailing list was welcome to RSVP and secure their place without a fee. Free cocktails and finger-food at a waterfront venue? What better way to feel that you've made it to the A-List!

Gracie Otto, Loft, Disaronno
Gracie Otto opening the event

So next time you have a few minutes spare; subscribe to the mailing lists of the bars you like to frequent; particularly if it is part of a management group like Keystones. They partner with fantastic brands such as Disaronno to bring exciting events to the public. Other than signing up for's newsletter, it's the easiest way to make sure you don't miss out on a fantastic night out in your city!

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*Katherine Thomas was invited as a guest
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Why? Indulge in cocktail tasting and canapes with the stars
Where: 3 Lime Street Sydney
Cost: Free
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