Monday, September 25, 2023

A mixologist walked into a bar in Maldon…

Recent stories

If you didn’t know that gin was distilled from vodka or whisky from beer, you’re not alone. So, when award-winning mixologist Gorge Camorra came to Maldon last weekend to discuss all things spirits, the people came to listen. And it’s not too late! He’ll do it all again this weekend.

Mixology, if you must know, is a discipline involving studying the history and techniques of making cocktails. Craftsmen of the Cocktail world, a mixologist has an intimate understanding of the art and science of mixing drinks.

Gorge only came to the craft in his mid-30s. Self-taught, he had the ambition to place in a national or international competition every year and has achieved this aim while also competing in exotic and enviable destinations such as Morocco and Iceland.

With a desire to open a venue in his hometown of Geelong, he succeeded, and that first venture, Cloud 9, flourished. Passionate about living regionally and tired of trying to crack the rather conceited big-city cocktail scene, Gorge sought to put regional Victoria on the specialist spirits world map. Indeed, his Jagermeister cocktail called the Banana Buckmeister made it into a prestigious industry Best Cocktails of the Year publication.

Soon after that, he was asked to help teach the art of hospitality and mixology to disadvantaged youths. He mentored and trained more than 700 students, many of whom went on to work in the industry.

Now he’s the proud owner of a specialist cocktail bar named after the prohibition era, 18th Amendment, which has two thriving locations: one in Geelong and the other in Ballarat. During Covid, he branched out into distilling and bottling his own line of gins with offerings that hark back to history, like Old Tom Gin and even a Genever, the original gin that was developed in the Netherlands.

In fact, Genever is behind a term we’re all familiar with, ‘Dutch courage’, while terms like ‘gin crazed’ and ‘mother’s ruin’ relate more specifically to the very cheap and lethal British version of Genever using moonshine, turps and a splash of sulphuric acid, to give the burning impression one was drinking a clean spirit. During that illustrious gin period, the death rate was higher than the birth rate, and is it any wonder?

On the cards for Gorge is a third exciting venue venture whose name Non-Disclosure is inspired by the former legal business that utilised the art deco premises. If knowledge, passion and service are anything to go by, patrons of the bar are in for a world-class treat.

Gorge doesn’t drink that much these days unless it’s a special occasion. When asked about being tempted, he said, “This is my seventh masterclass this week. If I drank at all of them, I’d be a raging alcoholic!”

To find out more about the origins of alcohol and hear the spectacular histories, wars and cultures behind the beverages we love to imbibe, head along to a masterclass as part of Maldon in Winter this weekend. If Whisky is your vice, book for Saturday’s class. If Gin is more your tipple, book for Sunday. Classes run from 2pm to 4pm. For more information, head to

Tarrangower Times 7 July 2023

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 7 July 2023.


Sign up to the Australian Rural & Regional News newsletters

Manage your subscription

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

For all the news from the Tarrangower Times, go to