Drinks News

On the House: Bad Hombres in five drinks

In On the House, the tenders of our favourite bars talk us through their spiritual homes, glass by glass. Here Bad Hombres co-owner Sean McManus walks us through his line-up.

Sean McManus

Nikki To

A vegan, an omnivore and a carnivore walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a pretty bad joke. But this was the real-life situation my partners Toby Wilson and Jon Kennedy and I found ourselves in when we decided to open Bad Hombres, a Mexican restaurant in Sydney’s Surry Hills. The three of us have different dietary needs, but Mexican food can feed us all.

Bad Hombres piggybacks off the love machine that is Toby Wilson. You’d know him: he’s the guy behind Ghostboy Cantina, the slightly off-kilter taquería that opened (and closed again) last year in the Dixon House food court in Chinatown. Bad Hombres is a much bigger beast. Now we have 55 seats, tequila, some craft beers and a constantly growing natural Australian wine list to go with your tacos. And the name? Well, yes, that’s a jab at Donald Trump’s racism towards Mexicans living in America. Saddle up.

Empezar: 2016 Tim Wildman “Astro Bunny”, Ricca Terra Farms, Riverland, South Australia

This one is bound to get you jiving. Australian resident and UK wine master Tim Wildman has somehow liquefied “Out of Touch” by ’80s duo Hall & Oates into a beverage. Also known as Instagram’s favourite Aussie natural, the Bunny has been popping all summer long. If you believe the rumours, the last of it is all gone, but we still have some. With zero sulphur, zero additions and zero adjustments, it’s literally just juice made from grapes. And tasty ones at that: it’s 50 per cent vermentino, 25 per cent nero d’Avola and 25 per cent zibibbo. One glass is like biting into a ruby grapefruit. It explodes with crunchy nectarine flavour and sharp bite, a little like a mixture of sherbet and Pop Rocks dancing on your tongue.

More on the house: Nick Smith of Bar Rochford, Canberra

Entrada: 2016 Tom Shobbrook Grenache Rosé, Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Straight outta Seppeltsfield, Shobbrook’s Grenache Rosé speaks loud with its light and tight mineral body. The fresh snap of sour watermelon and light rosewater dryness pairs perfectly with our bonito tostada with soy, fresh lime, sesame, seaweed and avocado mousse. Plus, Tom’s farm has been certified organic and biodynamic since 2009 – so you’ll feel good while you’re drinking it.

More On the House: Ed Loveday of Bar Brose, Sydney

Plato principal: 2015 “Moon” Chardonnay, Nagambie Lakes, Goldfields, Victoria

Want to talk moon juice? Look no further than this biodynamic gem. Mike Boudry and Greta Moon work their farm down at Nagambie Lakes with traditional and Old World style, producing wines with real structure and complexity. River stone minerality, nectarine and snappy citrus notes hover over a rich body of honey and fresh butter. You’ll want to slurp it alongside our savoury deep-fried cauliflower. It’s served with lightly toasted Chinese pancakes, and adorned with cashew nut cream, coriander and a vibrant salsa verde.

More On the House: Banjo Harris Plane of Bar Liberty, Melbourne

Postre: Tequila Siete Leguas, Añejo, Los Altos, Mexico

You’ll need something to sip with a plate of our chamomile sugar churros dunked in gooey cajeta (an even better version of dulce de leche). Say hello to Siete Leguas. This distillery was responsible for producing the original Patrón tequila brand, but as Patrón grew in popularity, Siete Leguas couldn’t keep up. When Patrón left to open a distillery in 2002, Siete Leguas was left to focus on its own top-shelf tequilas. This one is made of 100 per cent Agave tequilana, also known as blue agave. Candy apple and light vanilla cascade into caramel and orange rind. It leaves your mouth with a medium-to-hot wood tingle that’ll make you think you liked the bourbon-aged barrel it was made in. Yee-hah.

Algo más: Albo Corn Ale, Willie the Boatman, St Peters, New South Wales

This beer, produced by the studly gents at Willie the Boatman in St Peters, is the Karl Lagerfeld of bad hombres. It nods to the Prohibition days and all the hardworking farmers who would enjoy a cheeky tipple after working up a sweat. I love it because it’s light, crisp and easy to drink, but still classy. You could smash a few with a plate of tortilla chips and pumpkin mole to start, save a couple for your finale, or both. It’s a great palate cleanser and will send you straight back to the beginning, wanting to do it all over again.

Interview: Maggie Scardifield

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