Have you ever snuck a glance into someone's recycling bin to check out what they're drinking? Or eyed off another restaurant table to find out what's in their glass/ice bucket? Well, leer no longer, as today, sommelier and presenter Samantha Payne has asked a range of sommeliers, bartenders, chefs and winemakers what they're really drinking. The results are fascinating - and even more diverse than we expected.
In a world of endless choice, flavour profiles, dietary requirements and unique condiments, there has never been a more exciting time to peek into people's (ostensibly) well-stocked fridges. Unfortunately, food often overshadows the drink offering when talking about fridges but let's be honest, after a long day of wine service or standing for hours on a bottle shop floor; you're reaching for a beer – not a jar of wasabi mayonnaise.
For most (and no surprises here), beer is on the consistent rotation.
'Usually something sessionable, like a pale ale or an XPA. We have been smashing the Mountain Culture Status Quo lately,' explained Mike De Iuliis, winemaker and owner of De Iuliis Wines.
Bryce Faiella, Head Sommelier at Chiswick in Woollahra, has chosen the local classics.
'Beer, as cold as possible. Young Henry's Newtowner & Grifter Pale are on a steady rotation'.
But for those wanting a little more flavour post-work, Mikey Hamilton, Group Restaurant Manager for Liquid & Larder, is planning ahead and pre-batching drinks to save time during post-work imbibing.
'I like to pre-batch my Negroni's so I don't have to waste time making them when I get home, and it's just 'pour and drink' within 5 seconds.'
And lastly, ever the typical chef with a love of all flavours, chef Julian Cincotta - COO and co-owner of Butter Sydney, Sydney's palace of fried chicken, hip hop, Champagne and sneakers – is doing a double combo of classic spirits and beer.
'I have to say; I'm pretty partial to a bit of Hennessy. I think it's an underrated spirit - especially in Australia. I love making Henny margaritas or for a stiff drink just on ICE. But if it's been a hot day, I also can't go past an ice-cold beer, and I love what a lot of the Sydney breweries are doing - Young Henrys, Hawkes, Yullis, Philter. I'm loving all the new additions to the scene.'
Regarding the non-negotiables in any fridge, there was a resounding shout for aromatic and crunchy white wines. De Iuliis stayed true to his Hunter Valley home,
'Hunter Valley Semillon. There is always a bottle or two inside every fridge I own.'
To Nick Capel, manager of The Drink Hive bottle shop, picking the crowd-pleaser:
'JJ Prum. I always have one in the fridge… even people who don't drink wine normally enjoy and somms generally love'
With her knock-off drink being a crunchy white wine, Rebecca Lines (co-owner and sommelier of Tequila Daisy in Barangaroo) fridge non-negotiable is a little more measured,
'Petit Chablis will do nicely, thanks, but kombucha helps when I have the urge to drink a crunchy fresh white wine but probably shouldn't.'
If anyone knows about a 'secret shame' drink, it's me with my love of a cheeky Aperol sour, but it seems I'm too far off the mark with my fellow compadres also adoring things with a little more sweetness stashed in the backs of their fridges.
Cincotta (a chef after my own heart) says, 'I love sweet things because I'm so sweet. I'm partial to a stripper-tini or perhaps a Vodka Cruiser.'
De Iuliis is stashing a few 'Black Rats' (rum & cola) away for those late-night sugar cravings, and Lines is firmly in the Aperol camp with me, 'my husband and I are suckers for an Aperol Spritz. Unfortunately, most places make them terribly.'
Being at the forefront of the drinks and food industries means there's always an element of discovery that finds its way into our fridges, and it seems spirits (both full-strength and sans-alcohol) are leading the charge.
We see it with somms who are drinking the entire spectrum, as Faiella notes:
'Hoju Soju – an all-Australian Soju (a clear, mid-strength, Korean spirit traditionally distilled from rice) made by two local legends, Paul & Damo. This summer's new highball!'.
With Lines also loving 'Lyre's Dry London & Capi Dry Tonic w fresh lime - also an alcohol-free day hero!'.
Similarly, Capel has discovered Ed Loveday's very successful bottled cocktail range, particularly 'Killa Beez from Big Mood – spicy and lovable.' And Cincotta is sharing the spirit love with both international and Australian-made - 'Henny is pretty new as one of my go-to drinks. But I am loving Four Pillars gin cocktail in a bottle range.'
Finally, it seems carbonated drinks are on the chopping block for things we will never find in the fridges of certain friends in the industry, with De Iuliis taking issue with this new trend of seltzers (no one tell him that Faiella's 'secret shame' drink is the watermelon flavour) and Lines has vetoed 'standard soft drinks - Coke, lemonade etc. There is no need for them in any fridge. Anywhere. Ever.'
So what's in your fridge?
Photo source: Instagram