As if Kensington Street in Chippendale isn’t already cool enough, bourbon Russell’s Reserve is hosting a popup bar for one weekend. Celebrating the craftsmanship that goes into each batch of bourbon, the brand is putting on artisan workshops for the public. The Plus Ones got a preview of what that entails — both creating and drinking craft items.
Right next door to our favourite, Handpicked Wines, Russell’s Reserve have turned a historic house on Kensington Street into a workshop space and bar. We entered the workshop room to find rows of tables all set up with the accoutrements for our leather-making workshop.
Local leathergoods company Bas and Lokes led us through a wallet-making workshop. With needles on both ends of a piece of thread, we slowly got the hang of how to sew the pieces of leather together. Soon enough, I was flying through the sewing — and then it was onto the burnishing.
I now have a lot more appreciation for the work that goes into their hand-made wallets. And I’m proud to say that my wallet looks so good I was able to give it as a gift to my partner, who loved it.
Next up: venturing into the cute outdoor bar area. With limestone walls on one side, the wooden bar on the other, we were well situated for our bourbon tasting. Gruppo Campari ambassador (the parent company of Russell’s Reserve), Daniele Pirotta, took us on a journey through two different bourbons, the 10-year-old and single barrell.
We learned about the father-son team Jimmy and Eddie, the master distillers who founded Russell’s Reserve, all while trying the bourbons on offer. Each one was better than the last, and worked perfectly in cocktails.
With an Old Fashioned in one hand, a Boulevardier in the other, my friends and I soaked up the atmosphere along with our delicious drinks. It’s an adorable space that Russell’s Reserve have created, and the classes are one-of-a-kind.
The only shame is it’s a popup — I would love for them to have a permanent workshop/bar hybrid in Sydney. Now that’s a great idea.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa’s new favourite cocktail might just be the Boulevardier.
The Russell’s Craft Reserve runs 12-13 May 2017 (48 Kensington Street, Chippendale). Sign up for an artisan workshop + tasting in the daytime, or for a guided tasting in the bar in the evening.
To be part of the Russell’s Craft Reserve, visit www.russellsreserve.com.au.