Waltzing Matilda – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

1 part Sugar Syrup 

1 part Passion-Fruit Nectar 

1 part White Gin (I recommend Beefeater) 

2 parts Dry White Wine 

A few dashes Orange Curacao to each drink 

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into Collins glasses, filling each glass about 1/3 full. Add ice cubes and fill glass up with club soda or ginger ale. 

The above, which is the original recipe, is a tall drink. It can be served as a cocktail, omitting the soda or ginger ale.

Waltzing Matilda is Australia’s unofficial national anthem and I have memories of it wafting around stadiums while NZ was playing them at one sport or another, a tune I normally associate with NZ losing, and something which amplifies our rivalry with Australia.

The song itself has strange origins, ‘written’ by Australian poet Banjo Paterson near the beginning of the 1900’s and is likely to commemorate a sheep shearers strike which bought Australia close to civil war in the 1890’s, and ended after one of the instigators, after a gun battle fled into the outback pursued by police. The official story sees him commit suicide rather than be captured by the posse, and it’s this story that is said to be the material for the song. Later analysis though likens his death more to a gangland slaying than the romantic billabong ending banjo would have us remember, it would seem Australia had a wild west of its own.

As far as the drink goes the addition of ‘Passion Fruit Nectar’ seems a strange one for Embury, its an ingredient that doesn’t pop up anywhere else in his book, or any others that I can remember, and looks like it should have more presence in something by Trader Vic than Embury. And this drink slips into my ‘terrible’ category. Its light, dull, and tastes a little like dishwater, you’d think that the wine and passionfruit would go well together (think big brash kiwi sauvignon blanc), they do not, and I couldn’t finish this drink.