In celebration of International Women’s Day and the newly launched Women of Australian Distilling initiative, Nip of Courage has once again teamed up with the excellent Claire Van Vuuren of Bloodwood Newtown for an IWD lunch with a difference.
We spent the Sunday after International Women's Day at Bloodwood Newtown to celebrate women's achievements in the emerging Australian craft distilling industry.
Bloodwood—a community-focused restaurant and bar serving bold and heart-felt food and drinks—is the perfect venue for a get-together of likeminded supporters of Australian craft spirits and the women in the industry.
Between exquisite degustation courses crafted by three of Bloodwood’s female chefs and cocktails that not only paired with the dishes but also represented Australian craft spirits brilliantly, we heard from the remarkable woman distillers at some of Australia’s best craft distilleries.
Speakers included Sam Stefani from Banks & Solander, Susannah Robinson from Brookies and owner-distiller Nicole Durdin from Seppeltsfield Road all took up the mic to tell us about their own personal journey and how they’ve fought to #BreakTheBias—the focus for this year’s IWD.
It’s so good not only to see more women working in what was once an industry only inhabited by men, but also to see them enrich it too. And not just as distillers. In all area of Australian spirits, women are representing.
From administration to logistics to blending to sales and marketing, the value that women bring to the workforce cannot be overlooked any longer.
Founder of Nip of Courage—and as of March 8 2022, chair of the board of Women of Australian Distilling—Kathleen Davies explained:
“Diversity is important to all industries. The aim of our organisation is to develop, encourage and inspire more women to get involved in emerging Australian craft distilling movement in all sectors of the industry.”
International Women’s Day Lunch at Bloodwood Newtown
With no seat spare at this annual ticketed event, the food was once again superb, but this year it came with a twist.
Instead of being the driving force behind the wheel, owner-chef Claire Van Vuuren handed over control to Sarina Fang, Deanne Parmaxidis and Jessica, who created a menu from their heart.
Leading with fresh focaccia, pecan paté, marinated mushrooms and olives—then following with sugar snaps and snow peas with crunchy puffed fennel seeds, we were treated to an excellent French 75 cocktail using Banks & Solander’s Limoncello.
Next was a dish of perfectly seared scallops with a delicate Thai basil pesto, toasted rice and a wonderfully textured congee from Sarina.
The Tom Collins using Seppeltsfield Road Barossa Dry Gin matched beautifully.
Jessica’s duck san choy bow and her addictive Indonesian gulia sauce went surprisingly well with the super-smooth and delicate espresso martini that harnessed Grainshaker’s spicy Rye Vodka and a house-made vanilla syrup.
Deanne’s family recipe of slow-braised lamb in filo pastry took over the next course—a dish she learnt from her yiayia. And the gin tea using Never Never Distilling’s Triple Juniper Gin worked perfectly with the juniper Deanne used in the dish.
Finally, crunchy churros and a rich warm chocolate sauce with crushed macadamias finished us off, along with a generous pour of Brookies’ subtle yet satisfying Mac—a macadamia and wattleseed liqueur.
And as a final treat, we were also served bespoke IWD fondant cookies from The Sweet Chick.
Shortly after lunch ended, we all moved across the road for another drink or two at Earl’s Juke Joint—a cocktail bar with the most profound selection of spirits and eloquent cocktail menu you’re likely to find in the whole country.
We can’t wait for next year’s IWD—it’s sure to be another cracker of a day. Make sure you’re following Nip of Courage and Women of Australian Distilling on social media so you know when tickets go on sale.