Luke Ashton of Vasco: A World Class 50 Experience

Luke Ashton needs little introduction. Winner of the Australia’s Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year for 2013 and top eight finalist in the global competition, his accolades include Time Out Sydney’s Best Bartender Highly Commended for 2012.

You’ll find Luke at Vasco, a small, vibrant bar located in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, an area that is currently undergoing gentrification with hip bars and eateries along the main strips. Named after Italian rock and roll legend, Vasco Rossi, the bar’s owner, Max Greco pays homage to rock and roll with authentic memorabilia, electric guitars, Fender bar stools, a jukebox and a black-and-white photo collection by rock photographer Ross Halfin.

Luke Ashton
Luke Ashton

Enter the bar and you are immediately drawn to the frenetic, musical and welcoming vibe that makes you feel like a long-time regular. The cocktail menu, or rather the Vasco Playlist is printed inside old sleeves of 45 rpm singles and gives a nod to rock and roll with names such as Eagle Rock and The Hendrix Experience.

Luke Ashton’s New Frontiers cocktail has been featured in The World Class 50, a definitive guide to some of the best drinking experiences around the world, an online passport for any visitor or traveller to a world class experience.

Luke Ashton
New Frontiers Cocktail

New Frontiers was created for a person who is not a bourbon drinker but enjoys sweeter and fruitier cocktails, Luke explains. The drink is a mix of Bulleit Bourbon, Ron Zacapa 23, Galliano Vanilla, fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, orgeat and Angostura bitters, shaken and strained into a tall glass over ice.

Half an orange wheel and a mint sprig with cracked black pepper make up the garnish of what is a Tiki style of drink with pronounced fruit, spice and vanilla flavours to accompany the bourbon and rum. Freshly-juiced Queensland pineapples add brightness to the cocktail while the spirits balanced with the bitters add complexity and offset the sweetness – a drink that can easily convert a non-bourbon drinker into appreciating its flavour profile.

Luke Ashton
Luke Ashton

Vasco is located at 431 Cleveland St in Surry Hills.

Editor’s Note: In 2013, I photographed Luke Ashton of Vasco for The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide, a website that showcases fifty of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe, their cocktails and inspiration. Click on the link below to see the full article on Luke which includes his cocktail and features my photography.

Luke Ashton’s New Frontiers

Next… Tim Philips of Bulletin Place


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.