From the tasting team

The Halliday Tasting Team's off-duty drinks

By J'aime Cardillo

10 Apr, 2024

Have you ever wondered what the Tasting Team drink when they're off duty? As we wrap up the tasting season for the 2025 Companion, we asked the team what they'll be sipping on during the break.

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The Halliday Tasting Team have just wrapped the 2025 tasting season, a mammoth effort; collectively our esteemed panel have reviewed over 7500 wines. And while we release new tasting notes every week, the annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards, and the release of the latest Companion, provides a major moment in the calendar where we celebrate the very best of Australian wine. In the meantime, the Tasting Team have earned themselves a well-deserved break. But what will they be drinking while on their Halliday holiday? We found out!

Dave Brookes says his current out of office drink is the Penicillin. "I guess it could be considered a 'modern classic', formulated in 2005 by Aussie bartender Sam Ross at legendary NYC cocktail bar Milk & Honey." Dave says the Penicillin is a combination of blended scotch, lemon juice, ginger (muddled or syrup) and honey syrup. "With a scant 7.5ml of an Islay scotch like Laphroaig drizzled or even atomised over the top.

"It starts off peaty and robust but morphs into a complex, perfectly balanced, refreshing drink as the Islay mist suffuses through. It's a beauty and cures all your ills. Make sure you whip up a 'Paper Plane' too... another classic from Sam."

Mike Bennie, Campell Mattinson, Shanteh Wale, Dave BrookesTasting Team members Mike Bennie, Campbell Mattinson, Shanteh Wale and Dave Brookes.

Master of Wine Toni Paterson says her drink of choice is always wine. "An off-duty tipple would be a glass of fine Australian fizz (such as from Deviation Road), a new season Hunter semillon (like the 2023 Thomas Braemore Semillon) or a freshly minted Clare Valley riesling."

Like Toni, Jeni Port says, regardless of work or play, wine does tend to consume her life. "I love it at the end of a day’s tasting, which I know sounds a little weird and strangely worrying to some. But, on the odd occasion when it’s not wine in the glass, it’s probably more than likely a beer or a Guinness."

An avid cyclist, Jeni says after a big day in the outdoors, there's nothing like a cold beer. "After cycling around Lake Burley Griffin in recent years we have started finishing the day at the Capital Brewery in Fyshwick. My favourite frothies are Trail Pale Ale (American style and bitter) or Coast Ale. I’m hooked. I’m also partial to my second favourite ACT brewery, BentSpoke, and its super refreshing, Crankshaft IPA. At the other end of the spectrum, I am always up for a pint of Guinness – can’t help it, it's the Irish in me!"