At The Bar with Sydney’s Bar Besuto Owner Joel Best

A new Japanese whisky bar can be found at Sydney’s Circular Quay; with more than 150 whiskies on offer – many of them collected over years from trips to Japan by bar owner Joel Best. His decision to open a bar and restaurant speaks for itself -and is now the home of Sydney’s largest collection of Japanese whiskies with more than 50-single cask exclusives to be found here. 

Joel Best spoke to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY

Born in Sydney, grew up near Hornsby and now living middle of the CBD. It means I can walk to and from work, and it’s an easy drive to the Sydney Fish Market – a daily ritual for me when sourcing fresh seafood for the bar snacks at Bar Besuto and also for my omakase restaurant.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

Tasting fresh tuna as an apprentice chef, as my mum only ever had canned tuna and I hated it.

BEST INTERNATIONAL BAR 

Bar Kage in Ginza. The owner Takeshi Kageyama’s knowledge is perhaps the best in the world. If you like whisky and you’re going to Tokyo, this is an absolute must.

BEST INTERNATIONAL WHISKY EXPERIENCE

It’s a draw between two for me – Chichibu in Saitama, just west of Tokyo – they use mizunara Japanese oak barrels. Also, Kanosuke in Kagoshima as they use shochu barrels to process the mash. A lot of other distilleries will use American or French oak and so they’re all quite similar. But Chichibu and Kanosuke have a point of difference in those first eight to 10 days of processing the whisky, so it’s great to visit their distillery, see the barrels, and taste the difference.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR 

Elysian on Brunswick St, Fitzroy

DRINK THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOU 

I love my sake and whisky.

DRINK AT HOME

Fuji single malt whisky – it’s their 50th anniversary this year.

BEST HANGOVER CURE 

Another drink.

NEXT DESTINATION 

Japan, of course. I travel to Japan regularly to attend whisky festivals, tour distilleries, and sample new whiskies for the bar, as well as eat at lots of different places to continue to be inspired for our omakase dishes as a chef.

 

 

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