Ahoy. Cruise season has officially started. So in our search for supreme cocktails we decided to shake it up a bit, get our sea legs on and go offshore.
Eddie Allen is the man behind the latest small bar sensation, Alchemy on Carnival Cruise Line. So we sailed into the sunset for a couple of days to check out one of his Carnival Cruise bars on Carnival Spirit.
Before we sailed, we caught up with him on his latest visit to Sydney. While here, inspired by our outback and Australian native produce, Allen came up with a new libation, aptly called... drumroll please... The Red Centre Cocktail. We taste tested it with him in The Rocks. What a combo! And we even got him to share his cocktail recipe:
Eddie Allen’s Alchemy Bar: The Red Centre Cocktail
1 lime cut into sections
Lemon myrtle essence with spritzer
60 ml Grey Goose Vodka
30 ml Aperol
30 ml cranberry juice
15 ml agave nectar
5 dashes Strawberry Gum Tree essence
Spritz a martini glass with the Lemon Myrtle essence making sure to get some on the outside rim of the glass and covering the interior.
Muddle lime in a cocktail shaker.
Combine remaining ingredients in the cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a lime twist.
Once onboard Carnival Spirit our first port of call was The Red Centre and Alchemy Bar. Perhaps surprisingly, the quality of the Carnival Alchemy bars mixes it with the best small bars in Sydney, and the world. Cocktails are created for each guest depending on their preference of ingredients. Get this: the Alchemy Bar even stocks Eddie Allen's own hand made bitters. Not what I had expected on a cruise ship.
What did Miro make mine? Well as an Islay whisky lass, head Alchemy bartender on the Carnival Spirit Miro mixed me up a special smoky, stirred not shaken. Invented especially for me, with Bowmans whisky, Frangelico and cigar smoke, he pinned me in my first elegant drop. Perched on my stool, I watched him and the Carnival Spirit Alchemy team make other new creations and nail it every time for every passenger. First night out, we also discovered a specialist rum bar, and a specialist tequila bar. And showed no prejudice.
Of course. cruising isn't only about the cocktails. Carnival Cruise Line in a first for Australian cruising has released - in partnership with the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel - its own craft beer. Onboard Carnival Spirit, there were plenty of other beverages and other bars to check out too. Plus cruising good food includes a wonderful range from wooden benches in a specialist sushi restaurant, to tables set with white cloths and napkins, to poolside DIY burgers and 24 hour soft serve. And the variety of top entertainment has something for everyone and every time of day and night- from acoustic folk to a piano man and a bit of rock 'n roll. There's an outdoor cinema. And I even got my cruise dag on and did (what I do on every cruise) and played - you guessed it - BINGO. Such fun.
If you're working on your bucket list, and you love a fine cocktail, why not make your next one as a sunset sail away toast past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House from the most beautiful harbour in the world. Cheers to The Alchemy Australian!