Hosting the perfect cocktail party with Duncan Jamieson from Luxe Brew
For my 40th birthday party last weekend I was SO excited to introduce my friends to my favourite cocktails made by Luxe Brew, who handcraft a premium range of pre-mixed cocktails right here in Melbourne.
I was first introduced to Luxe Brew a couple of years back at a tea party where they were serving the Gin Blossom cocktail and as soon as I had the first sip I was smitten! Fast forward 3 years and I have served Luxe Brew cocktails at a range of different events and they have always been savoured by my guests.
To coincide with the celebrations I caught up with Duncan Jamieson, one of the founders of Luxe Brew, to hear all about the range, his tips for creating the perfect cocktail bar at home and their plans for the future.
I hope you enjoy and have fun creating your own Luxe Brew cocktail bar at home or at your next event.
How did you come up with the idea of Luxe Brew and what inspired you to create premix cocktails?
Duncan "We first developed the concept of making high quality cocktails, in an instant and without training, based on experience within our coffee space. We knew and recognised the complexity in making an Espresso Martini, and watched the popularity of that particular cocktail explode. We also saw so many bad attempts at making it, especially in bars where a bartender is not always the best barista (and remember, a bad coffee makes a bad espresso martini). So, we put together a high quality and fail-safe Espresso Martini, complete in a bottle and virtually instant to serve. From this cocktail we thought that we could bring other high-quality cocktails to life, and bring them to more people regardless of their skills behind the bar."
What are your tips for creating the perfect cocktail bar at home?
Duncan "Firstly, start with “the right tools for the job” principle. Buy a well-weighted cocktail shaker, and probably start with a cobbler because they are simple and user-friendly. Get a basic strainer and learn when and how to use it. Buy a nice jigger. You can’t go wrong with buying a good quality one right from the outset. It will be accurate and easy to use. These give you a good platform of utensils. Then, based on your favourite cocktails, buy good spirits, liqueurs and good quality juices/mixers. Combining all of these things, you will be in a position to test and build your cocktail-making skills. Once the basics are mastered, then set about the process of buying some “adventurous” ingredients, and then upgrading and extending your utensils."
What makes Luxe Brew cocktails stand out from other premix options in the market?
Duncan "There are a few things that make our products different. Firstly we do begin with traditional recipes, ingredient ratios and flavour profiles. Taking these, we use our skills in development and ingredient technology to produce cocktails that are easy to serve and which remain stable, fresh-tasting and have long life."
Which is your favourite cocktail and why?
Duncan "I have to say it is the Gin Bramble. It is an old classic with some complexity and great strength. it is beautifully balanced with sweetness of berry fruits, light sourness of lemon and wonderful florals of gin. It looks so inviting when served ice-cold and its flavour is just something special."
Can you share some tips on how to properly store and serve Luxe Brew cocktails when hosting a party or entertaining guests at home?
Duncan "I can’t think of a cocktail that doesn’t benefit from being ice-cold. So, if you have the ability to do so, chill your Luxe Brew cocktails on ice for some hours before your party. If not on ice, then at least refrigerate. It helps save time in preparation and serving during your party time, and it will help you serve your guests the highest-quality cocktail experience. Also, I always recommend taking time and care to add even just a simple and complimentary garnish when serving."
Are there any specific cocktails that you think are best suited for different occasions or seasons?
Duncan "Definitely so. In hot weather, not many would disagree that a Mojito or a Caipirinha could be beaten. Certainly an Espresso Martini in the afternoon isn’t out of place. Honestly though, I feel it is an individual thing. What suits me and when, isn’t necessarily going to match up with your own preferences. This is another reason that we have such a broad range of premixed cocktails. When people gather to enjoy a cocktail, each person may wish to enjoy a different cocktail and drinking experience. We make it possible for each person to create their individual experience in an instant."
How can someone elevate the Luxe Brew experience by adding their own personal touch or garnishes to the cocktails?
Duncan "This is important. A garnish can turn a drink into a delight. We encourage every person and every venue to take the time to add a special signature to every cocktail. A garnish adds delicious, fresh and amazing aromas to your cocktails, and can provide that visual “wow” and turn a drink in an experience."
What advice do you have for beginners in terms of experimenting with Luxe Brew cocktails?
Duncan "Beginners should take a quick look at our website for the brief instructional videos for each cocktail. They show people how to use our products in a manner which guarantees that they will prepare something truly enjoyable. Experimentation is something we always encourage. Do little things like adding a dash of soda to turn some of the stronger cocktails (like Pornstar Martini and Bramble) into a long cocktail over ice."
Are there any specific food pairings that complement Luxe Brew cocktails?
Duncan "I could mention many, but just a couple of simple suggestions would be a Singapore Sling with a skewer of fresh fruits. The Espresso Martini with a bite-sized New York cheesecake. Try a Cosmo with triple-cream brie or other cheeses. A Mojito or Caipirinha is beautiful to enjoy with the most simple and relaxing barbeque. Our Fingerlime Margarita with freshly grilled chilli prawns."
What are your future plans for Luxe Brew? Are there any exciting developments or new flavours we can look forward to in the near future?
Duncan "Our future is going to be all about bringing our customers new and unique experiences. We are known for our innovation and creativity, so there will be more of it. Most definitely there will be new cocktails on the way and we plan to double the range. On the “something new and different” theme, we will be introducing high quality cocktails in a pack format that has not been seen before. In fact, come the Spring and the more pleasant weather, we will be providing something exciting to enjoy at outdoor events…..more on that later."