Winter in Hobart brings with it two special things – tons of festivals with excellent art and the opportunity to stand around in the cold embracing it.
“It’s cold, people are out watching extravagant art shows or watching people set very large things on fire, so something that warms you up is the perfect drink for that,” says Campbell Nicol, venue manager at The Still, the new bar from Tasmania’s Lark Distillery. “Whisky does that perfectly.”
In 2021, Lark released a very limited edition single-malt whisky called Dark Lark. This year, Dark Lark returns in greater numbers, this time in a black matte bottle. “Although the bottle is dark and brooding and fits in within the aesthetic of winter, the spirit within it is vibrant and has pop,” says Nicol. “It’s got fresh stone-fruit flavours coming through. It’s aimed at being approachable and fun.”
Aged in ex-muscat barrels, Dark Lark is ideal for winter nips or mixing up in a cold weather cocktail.
“I’ve gone with the Scottish Gaelic word for ‘hug’,” says Nicol of his cocktail, dubbed Midwinter Uchd. “It’s inspired by what it feels like as a drink. It’s a nice hug for you and it warms you up. In the vaguest of ways it’s based on a Manhattan, but it’s taken a long journey from the simple whisky-vermouth-bitters combo.”
To accentuate the muscat flavours of the whisky, Nicol has added a little more muscat as well as amontillado sherry. “It’s a drier style of sherry that’s got a light nuttiness and acidity coming through,” says Nicol.
There’s also a liqueur called nocino, made by local producer Pat Garnham’s brand Osare. “He has this beautiful, rich, slightly bitter green walnut liqueur he makes with a very traditional Italian approach,” says Nicol. (Mainlanders might be best off looking for a similar liqueur made by Melbourne’s Marionette.) Finished with a couple of drops of chocolate bitters, Midwinter Uchd is a nutty, spicy and fruity sip for cold winter nights. “It’s got a big, warm richness that sits on the palate and warms you up,” says Nicol. “Once you’ve taken a sip it’ll stay with you for quite some time, which is what you want on a cold winter’s night.”
Here’s how to make Campbell Nicol’s Midwinter Uchd at home.
Campbell Nicol’s Lark Midwinter Uchd
Makes 1 serve (approx. 2.6 standard drinks)
60ml Dark Lark Single Malt Whisky
30ml amontillado sherry
5ml Seppeltsfield muscat
2 dashes chocolate bitters
Add ingredients to mixing glass. Stir over ice until glass is ice cold. Strain into a chilled coupe or Nick & Nora glass.
Garnish by expressing an orange peel over the glass (discarding the peel – you just want a hint of orange oils on the nose) and adding a jasmine flower.