Spirits & Wine

Fire Drum Vodka

If you think vodka is merely a clear, flavourless spirit, Fire Drum Vodka is set to change your perception.

Fire Drum Vodka
Fire Drum Vodka

Fire Drum Vodka is a small batch spirit that is made in collaboration between Amanda Beck and Patrick Maguire, Head Distiller at Sullivans Cove. Early in 2009, Amanda approached him at Sullivans Cove with an idea to produce vodka that represents the expression of raw ingredients and its origins and to have its own personality. The result was Fire Drum, a pot-based vodka made from 100% Tasmanian barley and Tasmania’s purest water.

The spirit is made from wash and a specific type of yeast with the barley kilned at a set temperature and double distilled in a copper pot still. “We did a lot of trials on the wash,” Amanda explains. It comes out at 75% ABV, is non-chill filtered and doesn’t need it as the heart of the run is very sweet. Nothing is added, no sugar or texture adjusters, it is then married down with water in stages, letting it settle and taking it down to 40% ABV.

Crystal clear in the glass, the first thing you notice when nosing the vodka is an aroma of vanilla along with malted barley. On the palate, the liquid is very smooth with good texture and mouthfeel. Sweet notes of vanilla and cocoa nibs along with liquorice are evident with some nuttiness. there is a noted absence of pepperiness you find in many vodkas. The finish is medium to long, and the smoothness of the spirit invites another sip.

In the glass at room temperature, the vodka develops more of its sweeter cacao notes but once used in a chilled dry Martini, more nutty and savoury elements develop and the cacao notes are subdued. This is a vodka with flavour and character. The sweeter style from the vanilla / cocoa combination makes it a sipping spirit.

Fire Drum Vodka is positioned at the premium end of the market based on quality and price point, RRP $80 to $90 AUD. You can find it in over 100 venues in Melbourne and slowly making its way into Sydney bars.

Fire Drum Vodka Cocktails and Mixed Drinks

Fire Drum Vodka can be enjoyed chilled from the freezer and in easy to make cocktails and mixed drinks at home.

Fire Drum Vodka and Soda

Fire Drum Vodka
Fire Drum Vodka with Soda

In a rocks glass, build over ice, add a dash of soda and garnish with a wedge of pink grapefruit.

Fire Drum Vodka Martini

Fire Drum Vodka
Fire Drum Vodka Martini

For this dry Martini, we used another Australian product, Maidenii Dry Vermouth Australian and garnished with an Australian indigenous fruit by adding finger lime vesicles.

60 ml Fire Drum Vodka
10 ml Maidenii Dry Vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: Finger lime

In a mixing glass filled with ice, add the vodka and vermouth and give it a good stir. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and add the finger lime.


Bar tools and rocks glass by barGeek.

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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.