Take an unusual setting in what was once an old gaol. Dress up an accented butler in Victorian garb and have him pour tea from Hendrick’s fine china as he greets you at the door. Invite a bunch of adventure-loving people around. Add a good measure of Hendrick’s Gin. Top up with an Australian Legend of Adventure. And afternoon teas couldn’t get any quirkier.
The location is the Justice and Police Museum in Circular Quay where the Adventurists, a British-based company which organises adventures around the world in the name of charity, held their first afternoon tea in the southern hemisphere. With a philosophy of “if nothing goes wrong, it’s not an adventure”, they urge you to flush the guidebooks down the toilet and join them to combat a boring and sanitised world in their quest for adventure and saving the world.
In the last two years, the Adventurists have been holding afternoon teas around the world and spreading their passion for adventure and quirky travel. Sydney had a first taste of their program on a Saturday afternoon filled with a selection of T2 teas on arrival, an entertaining talk by adventurer Jon Muir followed by an indulgent tea with cakes, finger sandwiches and Hendrick’s Gin cocktails.
Hendrick’s Gin is distilled in Scotland and made with infusions of cucumber and rose petals which give it a refreshing and unique floral aroma. Made in small batches of 450 litres at a time, it is the only gin made in a combination of a Carter-Head and copper pot still, resulting in a smoothness and balance of subtle flavours. Perfect for that British tradition of partaking in afternoon tea.
Hendrick’s tea pots
Hendrick’s tea cups
After a brief introduction, Vicky Fairhurst of the Adventurists presented two videos that highlighted to the audience the nature of their adventures in travel.
Vicky Fairhurst of the Adventurists
The first video shown was of the Mongol Rally which traces a route from London to Mongolia, a race in a car that adventurers have to provide themselves. The second video was of The Ice Run, a gripping two week adventure that begins in February 2012 and involves going around in -40ºC on a Ural motorbike with a sidecar through the icy wastes of Siberia. Right in the middle of winter.
Guest speaker and adventurer Jon Muir made a theatrical introduction to the podium by rising from the floor behind a table. He introduced himself as a recluse, then took the audience on a gripping and entertaining journey of adventure, determination and courage.
Dubbed as the Legend of Adventure, Jon Muir made the first Sherpa-less ascent of Everest from the South, initiated a new route to the South Pole and was the first person ever to walk solo and unsupported across Australia. Speaking to a captive audience, mesmerised by his raconteur skills as much as his achievements, he shared his experiences from the television show that got him fired up as a 14 year old to what it felt like when he reached the top of Mount Everest.
Jon Muir, acting out the bear and gun sequence from his adventures
“I was busting,” he said. The urge to christen Mount Everest was strong, and so he did. At this relief, he lit a cigarette.
“Living in the vertical weeks on end is draining mentally,” he explained. “With good management and good focus, you can do these climbs.”
“A very pleasant day” is how he described the photograph above.
Jon has authored a book, Alone Across Australia, described simply as “a story of a man who took his dog for a walk” across Australia. His presentation was punctuated with humour, acting and humility, and will be a featured separately on Gourmantic in the future.
After the presentation ended with Jon signing copies of his book, it was time for imbibing. The much anticipated Hendrick’s Gin bar opened for business.
Barbara Hernandez and Lee Potter Cavanagh behind the Hendrick’s Gin bar
A Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic served in tea cups with a floating slice of cucumber could convert anyone to make this tipple their favourite. Light, refreshing, yet generous in alcohol, it’s an easy to drink libation as the sun goes down or any time of the day.
Hendrick’s & Tonic – Anyone for Tennis Cocktail
Anyone for Tennis, another Hendrick’s cocktail, is a mixture of strawberry and vanilla tea, strawberry preserve with Hendrick’s Gin set to please anyone with a sweeter tooth.
Selection of finger sandwiches, chocolate cake, orange and almond cake and carrot and pecan cake
An afternoon tea is not complete without a selection of finger sandwiches, delectable chocolate cake, orange and almond cake, and carrot and pecan cake which were consumed as soon as they were served.
Jack Pollock (William Grant & Sons), Cida Wen (William Grant & Sons), Jon Muir, Steve Stammers (Weber Shandwick)
Jon Muir and Jack Pollock (William Grant & Sons) enjoying a Hendrick’s G&T
The balcony of the Justice and Police Museum
Justice and Police Museum
Cnr Albert and Phillip Streets
Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000
Photography by @MrGourmantic
The Adventurists Afternoon Tea with Jon Muir and Hendrick’s Gin was held at the Justice and Police Museum on Saturday 12 November 2011. Gourmantic attended the event as media guests.
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