Melbourne loves nothing more than a pop-up, so the idea of rotating between three venues is an inspired one. The Plus Ones were invited to kick off the first of the three visits at Loop Rooftop. If you’ve never been (and why haven’t you?) Loop Rooftop is the partner to Loop Project Space on Meyers Place, off the Paris end of Bourke Street. Every time I go it looks a little different – no double because the lush plants are doing their best to turn the rooftop into a jungle paradise. Add in strings of lights, a bar pumping out cocktails, a tasting booth, and strategically-placed menus of what to expect, and you have yourself a great kickoff party.
I’d heard of Appleton Estate, but until learning about the Appleton Trail I didn’t realise it was from Jamaica. Greeted by two friendly Jamaicans (out of the small community of only about 400 Jamaicans in Melbourne), I was quickly handed a coconut filled with a delicious cocktail. You know there’s a party about to start when everyone’s got a coconut in hand!
I learned more about Appleton when my +1 and I did a tasting of three of their premium blends, two of which were matched with dark chocolate and orange dark chocolate. Aged for a minimum of four years, this is some good tipple. The Appleton rep made us jealous with tales of visits to the plantation in Jamaica, which is pictured on all the bottles. Dream job? You bet.
If I had to choose one liquor to drink for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be gin, certainly not tequila – it would be rum. So I was pretty much in a one-woman paradise trying out all the cocktails. There was the ‘Grand Discovery’ (Appleton with peach, lime, almond). ‘The Trail Less Travelled’ (cranberry and pomegranate with lemon and cherry). And my favourite, ‘From Jamaica with Love’ (featuring passionfruit, citrust and pineapple). Add to that the Jamaican jerk chicken, dry fish curry, and even fried plantains (a relative of the banana and staple of Caribbean cooking).
Jamaica might be half a world away from Melbourne, but thanks to Appleton Estate you can experience a taste of the Caribbean life this autumn.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa has only been to the Caribbean once. She’s thinking that’s got to change, and soon.