Aussie six-pack: Famous drink inventions

Aussie six-pack: Famous drink inventions

What drinks do Aussies like to call their own?
Most know about Fosters and XXXX, but what drinks do Aussies reckon they invented?

The Japanese invented sake. Brazil brought cachaça and the caipirinha to the world. Ireland conjured up Guinness.

But what has Australia contributed to the global alcohol menu?

Here are the six most iconic Australian alcoholic drinks. 

Illusion Shaker

The cocktail that commenced a nation's mixology fascination.Back in the 1980s, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a nightclub in Australia that didn’t have an Illusion Shaker on its cocktail list.

This sweet-and-sour cocktail is built on vodka, Cointreau or Triple Sec, pineapple juice, lime and Midori -- a green melon liqueur from Japan. It became a rite of passage for Australians coming of age.

“Before the Illusion Shaker came along, there was no consumer involvement in the creation of the drink,” says Manuel Terron of Midori. “But suddenly they were being given a shaker with ice that they would shake and strain for their friends.”

Today the Illusion Shaker is considered a little kitsch. But you’ll still find them at bars and pubs in popular tourist haunts like The Avenue in Surfers Paradise, where the Illusion Shaker is said to have been born.

The Avenue Restaurant & Saloon Bar, corner of Orchid and Cavill avenues, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, 11 a.m.-5 a.m., +61 7 5592 1678,

Coopers Pale Ale

A beer that is still owned by Australians.Made from a strain of 100-year-old yeast, Coopers Pale Ale has a higher alcohol content and distinctive cloudy appearance.

Coopers Brewery runs tours at its Adelaide brewery, taking visitors through every stop of the brewing process and to the Coopers Museum, with tastings of Coopers ales, stouts and lagers.

Although only four percent of local drinkers guzzle it, Coopers is now the biggest Australian-owned brewery.

The most popular draught beer is the green Pale Ale, while the red Sparkling Ale being a heavier, darker brew.

How does a beer taste for 150 years?

“We’ve lasted so long because of the unadulterated passion and belief our family has for Coopers,” says sixth-generation brewer Gary Cooper.

Coopers Brewery, 461 South Road, Regency Park, Adelaide, +61 8 8440 1800; tours ($22 per person) are held Tuesday-Friday at 1 p.m. Bookings essential.

Bundy ‘n’ Coke

Bundaberg residents drink a lot of this.Bundaberg Rum was created in 1888 when a collective of sugar millers in central Queensland took to the sugar cane fields to make rum from molasses.

Bundy 'n' cola was popular with American soldiers "over-paid, over-laid and over 'ere" during World War II.

Now available in pre-mixed bottles, the mix was featured among a list of "bogan" staples -- along with wife-beater singlets and "bloody" Commodores.

“Bundaberg Rum is the only domestically produced spirit recognized by the bogan,” say “The bogans’ grandfathers’ sexual and pugilistic conquests were fuelled by Bundaberg’s eponymous liquor, as were the bogans’ fathers, and now it is the turn of the modern bogan to do much of the same.”

Many football teams agree -- the bogan ones, that is.

Bundaberg Distilling Company, Avenue Street, Bundaberg East, Queensland, +61 7 4131 2999; one-hour tours ($25), daily 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  

Passion Pop

The drink Aussies are raised on.You can’t buy much for a fiver in Australia -- particularly when you're a teenager.

It may explain the staying power of Passion Pop, a carbonated wine-based beverage that’s the Champagne of the Chiko Roll world.

Since 1977, it's been celebrated at teen gatherings. (Though it's just so much harder in these days of photo ID, isn't it, kids?) The original passion fruit, mixed berry, lemon lime and strawberry are popular with the boys and girls.

“Passion Pop has been an iconic Australian retro-style brand,” says an Australian Vintage spokesperson. “A part of Aussie folklore, it evokes a smile and is reminiscent of carefree days.”

Those carefree days may well be necking the cheap bubbles before a school dance.

Penfolds Grange

A serious red wine drinker's tipple.Max Schubert of Penfolds Wines went to Bordeaux in France after World War II and studied the region’s red winemaking techniques.

The fruit of his labor that he brought home to the Barossa Valley was Penfolds Grange Hermitage, known simply as "Grange."

The 1955 vintage of the shiraz-cab blend won more than 50 gold medals and a "Wine Olympic Gold" in Paris.

"Grange" has become a collectors' wine. In 2004, one fan paid a record $50,000 for a bottle of the debut 1951 vintage.

The latest release -- Penfolds Grange 2006 -- pops for $599. Just over an hour's drive north of Adelaide, you can sip the drop on a $150 "A Taste Grange Tour."

Penfolds Barossa Valley Cellar Door, 30 Tanunda Road, Nuriootpa, South Australia, +61 8 8586 8408. Grange tours 2 p.m. daily.

Cask Wine

Colloquially referred to as a "goon," the cask is Aussie wine at its most humble.In 1965, Tom Angove came up with the wine cask -- a flexible plastic bladder in a tough cardboard box.

Inspired by a picture of a Greek shepherd drinking wine from a goatskin, the container was a hit at dinner tables across the country, where Lindeman's Riesling was toasted. At only $10 for four liters, it was a steal for a generation.

But the low-quality, mass-picked offering soon earned the moniker "Chateau Cardboard."

Winemakers have reacted, moving away from the large gallon-size boxes to more manageable two-liter casks, and doubling the price (which we hope improves the quality). 

But there are some winemakers that divide a vintage between bottles and the more environmentally-friendly casks.