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FOOD & DRINK

The Best Virtual Happy Hours for Your Working-from-Home Knockoffs

Send your mates a calendar invite and get set for a night of beer trivia, wine tasting and cocktail making at home.
By Libby Curran
April 16, 2020
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The Best Virtual Happy Hours for Your Working-from-Home Knockoffs

Send your mates a calendar invite and get set for a night of beer trivia, wine tasting and cocktail making at home.
By Libby Curran
April 16, 2020
  shares

THE BEST VIRTUAL HAPPY HOURS FOR YOUR WORKING-FROM-HOME KNOCKOFFS

Send your mates a calendar invite and get set for a night of beer trivia, wine tasting and cocktail making at home.

At the moment, you can't go visit your local bar for a round of after-work negronis on a Friday afternoon. But that doesn't mean you need to forego your usual end-of-week drinks with your colleagues. A heap of bars, wineries and distilleries are bringing the happy hour to you — virtually. Whether you'd like to learn how to whip up a Bond-worthy martini, show off your beer knowledge at a boozy trivia session or taste your way through some top drops (and learn a thing or two) at an online cellar door event, there are plenty of digital happy hours to get around while you work from home. Here are some of our favourites.

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    Beer Together Live Streams

    If it’s the knockoff frothies you’re missing the most, tuning into the new live stream programming from The Crafty Pint and Ale of a Time should provide some hopped-out, fizzy relief. The two Aussie beer publications have joined forces and launched a new YouTube channel, where they’re broadcasting a series of daily virtual beer-sipping sessions. The Beer Together videos are here to help during a time when the pub’s off-limits, inviting a roll-call of industry mates to your screens for some good ol’ beer appreciation, education and banter. Each session varies, though they’re mostly focused on celebrating great local beer, with guests from some of your favourite breweries and venues. We’ve had an on-couch tasting party with New Zealand’s Behemoth Brewing Co, a sit-down with Sparkke Brewing’s Carla Naismith, a cooking class with Casey Wall of Falco Bakery and now a regular beer quiz helmed by The Crafty Pint’s Judd Owen, streaming 8.30pm AEST every Sunday. And of course, if you miss any of the live streams, the videos are sticking around on YouTube for you to view any time you like.

    Image: Kate Shanasy

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    Digital Happy Hour

    Having an after-work tipple at a physical bar is just one of many social happenings that have been paused as measures to contain COVID-19 ramp up. But one South Australian alcohol company is keeping the spirit alive — albeit virtually — with its newly launched Digital Happy Hour. The crew behind Applewood Distillery and Unico Zelo wines is here to turn your isolation frown upside down, with interactive tasting sessions live streamed nightly from 5.30pm. Available via the Unico Zelo Facebook page, Digital Happy Hour will see Founder Brendan Carter crack open and discuss a different bottle of wine each night, with viewers invited to join in with questions and comments of their own. Expect funny stories, banter aplenty, blind-guessing wine, “shit wine invention” reviews and lots of down-to-earth wine chat.

    Then at 6.30pm, head over to the Applewood Facebook page for a nightly spirits-focused live stream with Brand Ambassador Henry Hammersla. He’ll be sharing some fun cocktail recipes for you to recreate at home — such as the much talked about Quarantini — as well as taking questions about all things booze. And as far as the actual drinking goes, Unico Zelo has you sorted with its Iso-Vino Care Package — a mixed dozen wines you can get delivered to your door, with free shipping. Or perhaps you’d prefer to stock up with Applewood’s Isolation Gin Pack, featuring three of its signature gins for $199.99.

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    Now you’re spending a little more time in your home, you may as well pick up a new skill. Always wanted to know how to shake a martini that would impress James Bond? What about learning some handy tricks in the kitchen for the dinner party you’re planning when this is all over? Well, Sydney bar and vegetarian diner Golden Gully is letting you level-up from the comfort of your living room. If you’re keen to take your boozy drinks from the humble G&T to a whiskey sour or manhattan, join bartenders Rachael and Danny over video chat for a one-hour class, which will show you how to mix up whatever you’ve got lying in your liquor cabinet. So, you can put that shot of Midori down now. Prefer to learn how to be a whiz in the kitchen? Golden Gully’s chef Emma Evans (ex-Alibi) will help you turn water into wine — well more like mi goreng into pad see ew, which is still a mean feat. You’ll join her for an hour via video chat to go through a recipe and cook up something tasty, even using the most mundane ingredients in your panty. Each class costs $60 and will not only see you through self-isolation, but also are life skills you should probably have under your belt anyway. To purchase a class, head here. And once that’s done, message Golden Gully on Instagram to arrange a time and date.

    Image: Trent van der Jagt

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    Innocent Bystander's Virtual Tasting Bar

    Yarra Valley winemaker Innocent Bystander might have temporarily closed to visitors, but there’s now a virtual version of its cellar door that should help fill the void. The team’s taking to Facebook to host a series of weekly wine-sipping sessions you can enjoy from the comfort of home. The Live Tasting Bar is set to grace screens from 5pm AEST over the next three Fridays, April 17–May 1, led by Innocent Bystander’s own sommelier Margaret. Get comfy and tune in each week for a relaxed wine tasting experience, complete with tasting notes, food pairing tips and general wine-related chat. Each session will be themed around a different variety — from this Friday’s Sipping Syrah to Chatting Chardonnay on May 1 — so you can line up a bottle of the same to sip while you watch. As an added bonus for those that want to stock up in preparation, the winery’s offering a neat 20-percent-off all drops in its online store, along with free shipping.

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    Virtual Indie Beer Showcase

    With both the Indie Beer Showcase and Good Beer Week sadly axed from our calendars this year, organisers have headed online to host a series of virtual beer events instead. And these ones you can enjoy anywhere, any time — heck, even pants-free, if you fancy. Streamed via the Independent Brewers Association YouTube channel, each of these online tasting parties celebrates a different Aussie craft brewery, led by a brewer or key member of the team. They’ll chat about a few signature beers, discuss what goes into making them, give an insight into the world of brewing and maybe even offer a sneak-peek at some future releases. The Good Beer Week Facebook page gives a heads-up as to who’ll be hitting screens next, so you can stock up in advance at the bottle shop or get that beer delivery sorted. The live stream schedule is fairly loose, though videos are mostly run during prime drinking times like after work on Fridays and Saturday afternoons. That said, the sessions are all kept up on YouTube so you can revisit later at your leisure — tune in any time you’re in the mood for a tipple and some beer talk.

    Image: Simon Shiff

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    Printhie Wines Virtual Wine Tasting

    Printhie Wines, run by brothers Ed and Dave Swift, has also taken its cellar door experience into the online realm, cracking the top off a new weekly virtual wine tasting series. The Molong-based winemakers are hitting screens from 4pm AEST every Friday, to help you wind down and kick-start the weekend in style. Or at least, in some good, wine-loving company. Via Facebook, the guys will guide viewers through a double tasting each week, showcasing a range of drops from their own label and answering plenty of audience questions along the way. To get you in the zone, Printhie is currently slinging a virtual tasting pack via its online store, starring six of the wines featured across the next few weeks’ live streams. Get one delivered to your door so you can taste along with the guys and discuss your favourites as the camera rolls.

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