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Muscat Mixology: From aperitif to dessert in a glass

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Calling all aspiring home bartenders! Muscat Mixology is here. 

Muscat. You may remember it from the dusty shelf of your parents’ pantry that was only brought out when old uni friends dropped round for dinner.

But while you’ve been stocking your (very non-dusty) liquor cabinet with old standards like vodka, gin and tequila, Muscat has been quietly making its way into the menus of some of the coolest cocktail bars in the world.

Kerrie Brewer Photographer_Cocktail shoot Hotel Hotel

The Venetian, the aperitif cocktail

Sweet and syrupy traditional Fortified Muscat is only produced by a handful of vineyards in Australia and has to be stashed away in barrels for anywhere from five to 105 years to mature properly. Rutherglen, in Victoria’s North East, is one of the only Australian homes of Muscat, as their unique climate gives the grape a longer, warmer ‘hangtime’ on the vine, meaning it can ripen to optimal sweetness before being processed.

Part of the Tastes of Two Regions experience that will bring over 100 regional wines to Canberra, the Muscat Mixology Masterclass at Monster Kitchen and Bar (say that five times fast) on Friday 26 August is set to challenge Canberra’s expectations of just what Muscat can taste like.

Kerrie Brewer Photographer_Cocktail shoot Hotel Hotel-6

Maiden’s Retreat, the ‘main course’ in the Muscat Mixology cocktail flight

We were lucky enough to catch up with Monster Kitchen and Bar’s cocktail master Tioni ahead of Muscat Mixology, who gave us a sneak peek into what we can expect from the masterclass and why muscat is the perfect addition to your drinks trolley.

For the masterclass, Tioni has created four unique Muscat-based cocktails – an aperitif, entrée, main course and dessert.

“We’re mainly a restaurant and I wanted to create a whole dining experience with these cocktails,” explains Tioni. “I wanted people to see that you could go from an aperitif to dessert in a glass.”

Tioni explains that Muscat, while not often the natural choice for a cocktail base, is actually a great foundation for a fruity cocktail.

Kerrie Brewer Photographer_Cocktail shoot Hotel Hotel-9

“I don’t use Muscat very often, but when I created these cocktails I based the drinks on the Muscat’s body acidity and flavour profile,” explains Tioni.

“The Muscat actually made it easier to get the flavours I wanted, for example, the Muscat used in the Aperitif cocktail, The Venetian, has a very strong stone fruit and apricot flavour and medium-minus acidity so I lifted up the acidity to enhanced the apricots. When Muscat is the foundation, it’s easy to build on.”

To give HerCanberra readers a sneak peek at what they can learn how to make at Muscat Mixology, Tioni shared his recipe for The Venetian with us.

Kerrie Brewer Photographer_Cocktail shoot Hotel Hotel-3

The Venetian

30mls Muscat

15ml Aperol

20ml Apricot liqueur (Vedrenne brand is best, more natural flavor)

15ml freshly pressed lemon juice

Top up with Prosecco

Garnish: large fresh basil sprig


  • Add all ingredients into a white wine glass
  • Fill with ice
  • Top up with Prosecco
  • Garnish with fresh basil
  • Place straw next to basil

the essentials

What: Muscat Mixology Masterclass
Where: Monster Kitchen and Bar, Hotel Hotel
When: Friday 26 August from 6-9pm
Tickets: $100 per person
For more information and to purchase tickets click here: www.ticketebo.com.au

Photography by Kerrie Brewer Photography

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