Food & Drinks

Try Whiskey to Soothe Your Mind

Do you know what the greatest invention is since fire? We think it’s whiskey. Here’s why: it soothes the mind, relaxes us, and lightens the heaviest of moods.

whiskey - bottle label

The Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey is one of the best-selling Irish whiskeys in the world.

Its main ingredients include unmalted and malted barley, maize, and Irish water brought to the distillery from the Dungourney River local.

This whiskey is a blend of fine-grain whiskeys and traditional Irish pot still. It is then stored in bourbon and sherry barrels to age for at least four to seven years.

A bottle of the Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey is triple distilled, giving it a smooth texture.

A sweet vanilla flavour is also added, and the robust 40% alcohol content is quite enough to get your mind and body swaying after a few pegs.


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Benefits of Being Triple Distilled

Before we delve into the benefits of this whiskey being triple distilled, you should probably be clear on what it means when whiskey is said to be triple distilled.

Whiskey is produced either in a column or a pot still (in the case of the Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey, it is the latter).

In the method that uses pot still, the distillation must be carried out in batches, and with every batch, the alcohol is separated as it becomes more concentrated.

Most whiskey companies stop at the second distillation, but at Jameson, this is done one more time, and you have the best triple distilled Irish whiskey.

In fact, this technique is strongly associated with Irish whiskey, although now it can be found in parts of the US, England, Sweden, and Australia.

One word to describe triple distilled Irish whiskey? Smooth. The refined nature of alcohol is truly incredible.

In the course of the three distillations, many things happen that then result in the beautiful whiskey.

Aromatic and flavorful compounds are used to concentrate the whiskey, which gives it a silky-smooth taste.

Reviews by customers who have drunk it at some point are testimony to the supreme quality of the whiskey.

One customer said- “It’s the best value for money easy-drinking whiskey. It’s a whiskey you can have with mixers or straight and be equally enjoyable. The supplier targeted me while drunk; somehow knew the whiskey I was drinking at the time! Haha but seriously, the supplier was good, quick, prompt, and packaged well.”

How to best enjoy the Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey?

There are a few ways to enjoy the great taste and sensation of this whiskey.

If you like your drinks clean and without any level of saturation, go for a straight on the rocks peg.

The smooth texture of the Irish whiskey will hit your taste buds and throat to create a soothing sensation.

The buzz you will feel after a few minutes will only help you relax and forget about all your worries.

Another way to enjoy the Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey is by drinking it with ginger ale.

Pour one part whiskey and two parts ginger ale for a refreshing drink to calm your mind.

Lastly, cocktails are always a fun way to quirk up any drink and make alcohol refreshing.

You can make a host of cocktails using this whiskey like:

There’s so much more!

Summing up

Things can never go wrong with a bottle of Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey by your side.

This drink is there to cheer you up and remind you of all the good things in this world.

So grab your glasses and enjoy the best Irish whiskey in the world!


Looking for inspiration?

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Caution is advised when drinking alcohol. Its over-consumption, or alcoholism, will do more harm than good. Ensure that consuming alcohol doesn’t become a habit and see your healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Rum, a spirit to calm the heart and soul

Rum is a timeless spirit with a rich history and pleasant smooth flavour. It is among the first branded spirits ever made. As well as its excellent taste, there are several health benefits associated with this spirit.

Decades ago, rum was used extensively in wartime for medicinal purposes. The spirit was considered a sure way to help soldiers stay calm under fire. They were given a tot, or tablespoon, each just before going into battle.

It was also believed rum would keep soldiers warm while they stood in muddy trenches, often in freezing temperatures. The British Navy routinely gave its sailors rations of rum with citrus juices such as lemon or lime to prevent scurvy.

Times have changed and alcohol is no longer permitted for soldiers at the front line, but history shows rum was long considered to be an alcoholic beverage with many benefits. As long as you consume it responsibly, you too can reap rewards.

Its many health benefits include:

Stress buster

The relaxing effect of rum, when consumed in limited amounts, can help when you feel too anxious or worried. Rum also has a relaxing effect that helps promote a better quality of sleep. The next time you find it hard to sleep, try drinking a little good-quality rum before going to bed. Overall, stress is more detrimental to your health than the odd shot of rum, but if you become intoxicated with the drink, it can have the opposite effect.

Reduces heart disease

The British Medical Journal has published studies suggesting non-drinkers were more likely than moderate drinkers to experience heart issues such as angina and heart failure.

Other studies have suggested that rum, like vodka, acts as a blood thinner and helps to prevent peripheral artery diseases.

Rum can also increase the amount of HDL or good cholesterol in your body. This helps prevent blockages in arteries and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Defends against dementia

Rum is believed to lower the incidence of dementia. A study out of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, showed participants who regularly drank alcohol had a 29 per cent lower incidence of dementia and a 42 per cent reduction in the occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease compared to teetotallers.


Drinking rum in moderation produces some health benefits, but caution is advised—its over-consumption, or alcoholism, will do more harm than good. Ensure that consuming alcohol doesn’t become a habit and see your healthcare professional if you have any concerns.


History Rum-down

The origins of rum can be traced back to the 17th century when the sugarcane plantation slaves first discovered molasses. Molasses is a by-product of sugarcane which, when fermented, turns into sugarcane alcohol.

Rum is made in many places in the world, including Australia, India, Indonesia and South Africa. However, it has its roots in the Caribbean. However, it has its roots in the Caribbean.

When you think of sugarcane, you naturally think of sugar, but not rum. Sugarcane was not a native plant in the Caribbean.

It is believed the Indians brought sugarcane to the island while they traded spices in this region. It came from Indonesia and went through China, India and then to the Middle East. In fact, during the late 15th century, in most of the Ottoman Empire, sugar was called Indian salt.

Sugarcane grows in a warm climate with an annual rainfall of at least 1000 to 1200 millimetres from the moment the shoot grows.

The harvest time takes seven months and in the West Indies, sugarcane is normally harvested from January until May. In Queensland, it’s between June and December.

An increasing part of the harvest is mechanised today, but some are still done manually with the help of animal carts and farmers. At the time of the harvest, the stem or the sugarcane is filled with a sweet raisin-like substance.

The weather and time of the harvest are important as the sugar can easily be affected and can be proven to ferment too early, which is why the sugar harvest is tested on arrival at the distillery.

After being tested for sugar, the cane proceeds to the crushing and pressing stages where the juice is extracted and will eventually undergo fermentation and distillation.

Rum’s earliest recorded appearance

The earliest recorded appearance of rum dates back 1000 years, with its origin in India and China. It was in Barbados that the drink was first referred to by the name Rumbullion, which means real disorder. This is still used to describe rum.

People specifically started making the new-world rum that we know and love today during the 18th century. The earliest recorded distillation was performed for the first time during the 17th century on the island of Barbados.

Sugarcane plantation slaves noticed the molasses would take up a lot of space at the back of the sugarcane factory and the sugarcane waste would seep out. It was a serious industrial waste problem, as this liquid did not serve any purpose. This liquid was called molasses.

The slaves and livestock ate the molasses, but it was still considered waste. Two pounds of sugar produced a pound of molasses, so the situation of a sugar plantation was like living in a swamp. They discarded it into the oceans sometimes.

One day, however, someone realised that by mixing the molasses with sugarcane juice while boiling and later fermenting this by-product, new alcohol was formed. This alcohol was called Rum. After that, molasses wasn’t considered just waste. Later, distillation took a role that removed impurities and produced the first modern rums.

Rum came to the new world in the long journey from the Mediterranean through southern Spain and the Atlantic Islands. It moved further along Colonial North America. England later became the distillery centre because of technical, abundant lumber production and metalworking. England even accepted gold as an acceptable currency during the Rhode Island rum period.

Caribbean Pirates were the first to popularise rum between 1560 and 1720—the pirates captured gold, silver, food and other valuable items as well as rum. However, they did not resell rum. They simply captured this specific item to consume.

At the beginning of the 18th century, when war was taking place at large, “Grog” was invented by the British Navy when Admiral Edward Vernon ordered a daily rationed mixture of rum and water instead of whiskey and gin. In fact, Grog was given this name because Vernon used to roam around the ship wearing an old grogram coat.

Rum made popular in the Caribbean

The Caribbean made rum popular, which lead to the widespread consumption of the spirit in Colonial America. A rum distillery was also set up to support the popular drink on State Island in 1664. The rum manufacturer became New England’s largest, most prosperous and most popular industry. It was voted the world’s best during the 18th century.

It is said that during the American Revolutionary War, people drank an average of 13.5 litres of rum each year. During that time, the trade between Africa and the Caribbean formed. Molasses and rum were profitable and the obstruction of the Sugar act in 1764 could have led to the American Revolution. However, the popularity of rum kept steady even after the American Revolution.

One of the biggest pioneers in popularising rum was a Welsh man named Henry Morgan. He was one of the notorious privateers, who were much like pirates but were individuals commissioned by the government, slaveholders and landowners. He died in Jamaica as a Lieutenant Governor of the Island of Jamaica.

The world-renowned Captain Morgan spiced rum company is named after this real person who wasn’t really as nice a guy as they portray in the cartoon Captain Morgan.

The British fleet captured the island of Jamaica where rum was produced. Seeing the availability of rum, the British changed their daily ration of drink to the privateers, pirates and sailors from French brandy to rum.

Rum also became an important trade in South Wales, and the people earned the reputation of “drunkenness.” This was even though they consumed far less rum than the British.

In 1735, as Jorge Juan and Antonio Ulloa wrote: “There was a practice in the Columbian coast at the Cartagena for officials to drink rum around 11’o clock before noon. The regular and sober person also drank a small glass every forenoon saying that it was good for appetite and it strengthens the stomach. The lower classes of people practised the same. They drank local product extracted from the juice of sugarcane called agua ardiente de cane or cane brandy at 11’o clock am every day.”

You can see that rum has a long and elaborate history in the world. It has been consumed for centuries and is still one of the most highly consumed spirits in the world.


What’s strange in the Granite Belt Wine Region?

Something strange is happening in the Granite Belt Wine Region of South East Queensland, and it’s not just the birds.

Soon after driving into Stanthorpe last November, I heard about the Strange Bird Wine Trail, which advertises its wineries as offering personalised, unhurried wine experiences.

To qualify as a Strange Bird wine, the alternative wines of the Granite Belt Wine Region must represent no more than one per cent of Australian wines varieties.

Excellent! I’d experience something different here.


Well, that statement was certainly true. As I nosed around the area I found not only Strange Birds but also a number of other strange things that raised my eyebrows.

The South African ex-pat owners of Rumbulara Estate Wines were showing Buffalos, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards and Lions.

Ridgemill Estate had Moggies, Three-legged foxes, Sly dogs, Howling dogs and even Hungry horses.

At Wyberba, what used to be a Balancing Rock was now a Balancing Heart. And, near Glen Aplin, there was a Jester on the Hill.

The strangest of the strange was at Harrington Glen Estate where the jovial host took great delight in showing off not only the train he was converting into cabins but also his man cave!

My New Guinea-born host invited me to look behind his bar to the mezzanine floor where his man cave was located, complete with a large television, computer games and books.

He also gave me a great commentary on the upcoming US presidential election and his reviews of the movie streaming services.

Oh, and I did get to taste his Verdelho, as well as some dessert and fortified wines, eventually.

As I left, my host said that next time, I might like to invite some friends along, bring some cheese and crackers from ALDI, relax beside his bar, and enjoy his wine and vineyard view.

Clearly, the winery owners in and around Stanthorpe, a three-hour drive southwest of Brisbane, have a sense of humour.

They’ve needed it. The year 2020 has gone down in history as one of their worst yet.

After five years of drought and devastating bushfires in the summer of 2019-20 that burned more than 12.6 million hectares of land across Australia, many wineries were left with no crop to harvest and others with just 10 to 25 per cent.

Hot on the heels of these disasters was the Covid-19 pandemic and global shutdowns.

Faced with such adversities, the Granite Belt Wine Region people had to get creative if they were to survive.

Most had water trucked in to keep their vines alive; many bought grapes from other regions and others started blending varieties, something they wouldn’t do normally, from what little was left of their harvest.

My host at Ballandean Estate Wines said that when the Covid-19 shutdowns started in March 2020, they were seriously concerned about their future.

“By August, no one was coming in, no one was buying. But, soon people started buying online and once we re-opened we were smashed,” she said.

“My daughter said we should tell Scott Morrison to get organised now to close Australia down every five years so people will spend their money in this country.”

And spend I did, visiting eight wineries over my two-day whirlwind tour of the Granite Belt Wine Region. At each, I bought one or two, and sometimes three or more, of their finest wines.

Here is a summary of what we found in the Granite Belt Wine Region.

Granite Ridge Wines

Granite Belt Wine Region - Clear wine glasses

The range at Granite Ridge Wines included Chardonello and Caberaz. The Chardonello was a combination of Chardonnay and Verdelho, crisp but not too dry.

Its brother, the Caberaz, was a blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, making it a light easy-drinking red with coconut, leather and spice aromas.

Website: Granite Ridge Wines

Balancing Heart Vineyards

New owner Greg Kentish has made significant changes at what used to be Balancing Rock Wines.

Granite Belt Wine Region - Balancing Rock Winery

Not only had he changed the winery’s name but he also introduced new wines and a range of modern, colourful labels.

Their Energy & Grace Chardonnay had a typical Chardonnay character but was lighter and more delicate with wild fig and rockmelon aromas.

The Evolve & Inspire Viognier had lots of stone fruit character such as dried apricot and creamy peach.

Blossom, a Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, had lots of strawberry character with a well-developed ruby colour.

Website: Balancing Heart Vineyards

Golden Grove Estate Wines

Granite Belt Wine Region - Lady serving wine

The 2020 Vermentino, made with fruit sourced from Mildura, was a 60/40 blend of Chardonnay and Sémillon, with floral, stone fruit and sea spray aromas.

Their 2019 Durif had a red berry flavour and hints of cedar. It’s ideal for drinking now for freshness or tuck away for up to eight years to soften and mellow.

The 2018 Joven Tempranillo was a medium-bodied style of Tempranillo made for early consumption with fresh cherry and red berry fruit to set the tone for things to come.

Website: Golden Grove Estate 

Rumbulara Estate Wines

Granite Belt Wine Region - man serving wine

The five animal-themed wines – Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Lion – were designed to be consumed much colder than traditional wines and are preservative-free.

Buffalo, a lunch-time Chardonnay, was deliberately made not to taste like a Chardonnay.

Elephant, more suited to mid-afternoon, was designed to be consumed without food. It has residual sweetness with more fruit and body.

Rhino was made to drink with strong cheeses such as blue or vintage. Customers wanted a wine that tastes like fresh grapes, so Rhino was made from Waltham Cross, an eating grape, not a wine grape. Our host said Rhino was the only wine in the world made from Waltham Cross grapes.

Leopard and Lion are simply grape juice and alcohol. Our host said they’re the only wines made in Australia deliberately to go to zero degrees Celsius. Made the same initially, they both sit in the tanks as Lion. When they want to bottle some Leopard, they add unfermented Shiraz, which sweetens it from Lion to Leopard.

Website: Rumbulara Estate Wines

Jester Hill Wines

Granite Belt Wine Region - External view of cellar door

Our host at Jester Hill Wines said it’s the only winery in Queensland to commercially make wine with Roussanne, a white wine grape grown originally in the Rhône wine region in France.

Eleven other Australian wineries that use it are located in the other states.

Jester Hill’s 2017 Touchstone Roussanne is dry crisp wooded white.

Their Chardonnay is a lighter style. Rather than being full buttery, it has a creamy feel to it with some of the pineapple flavour coming through. It’s not as heavy as some Chardonnays.

Joker’s Blush Rosé is made on Merlot and is a sweater style with a hint of dryness.

Their Sangiovese Rosé is a dry, crisp style with a lot of guava.

The 2 Fools Trinculo Red is a Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend and light, like a Pinot, with an aroma of cherries and soft plums.

The Muckle John Fortified Shiraz is smooth with a hint of dryness and tastes much like a Christmas cake.

Website: Jester Hill Wines

Ridgemill Estate

Granite Belt Wine Region - Lady showing wine bottle

At Ridgemill Estate, their Semillon Viognier Riesling, named Hungry Horse, is nice and light.

They also have an off-dry Riesling that’s fruitier than Hungry Horse, if you want something dryer than a Chardonnay.

They had a new 2020 Rosé that’s a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Grenache, and Chardonnay that’s very floral on the nose.

Their straight Verdelho is a sweet fruity white called Moggies.

Howling Dog is their liqueur Black Muscat, aged at just over five years, and not for drinking on a full moon!

As our host said, their Sly Dog, a fortified Verdelho with a touch of liqueur Muscat, sneaks up on you so it comes in a smaller bottle for your own protection. It has nougat, raisins and nut flavours with a hint of rosewater.

The Three-Legged Fox is a bitza – bits of Cabernet and bits of Merlot and even bits of other varieties from time to time.

Website: Ridgemill Estate


Granite Belt Wine Region - View of winery

Harrington Glen Estate in Queensland’s Granite Belt Wine Region.

Is it the Queensland, Macadamia or Bauple nut?

When I was a boy, we’d occasionally get a treat which we knew as a Queensland nut. I was amazed to learn a few years later they came from Hawaii.

That’s only part of the story though and, as with many stories, it involves bias and inaccuracies.

The nut was indeed a native product of Queensland but could also be found in parts of northern NSW.

I wonder if the “Queensland nut” label was just a case of state rivalry and one-upmanship.

Other names used for the nut include Macadamia Nut, Maroochi and Gympie.

More recently, I learned the nut was known, perhaps, as the Bopple (or Baupal or Bauple) to the indigenous people of the Wide Bay hinterland where it was first recorded by Europeans; to wit, Allan Cunningham.

I say perhaps, because, as with any translation or appropriation from the native tongue to another language, there are many pitfalls.

Indeed, at the turn of the 20th Century, in the closest European settlement to the locale of Cunningham’s “discovery”, all three spellings were used in the town; the Post Office was called Baupal PO, the school and the mountain were Bopple and the sugar mill was Bauple.

This wasn’t settled until 1913, though the decision to go with Bauple, seems rather arbitrary.

There was, for a time, a coastal trading vessel, the SS Bopple, registered in Maryborough, that plied the waters between Wide Bay and Grafton in NSW.

Four native species of “our” Macadamia Nut

I have also discovered, latterly, that there are four native species of the nut.

Interestingly, one species, M. jansenii is quite poisonous, releasing a cyanide compound that can kill.

The Hawaiian connection arose from the fact that the trees were first imported to Hawaii to act as windbreaks for sugar cane and were later successfully commercially grown there.

Currently, South Africa holds the distinction for the largest commercial production of “our” nut.

Macadamia Nut

Bopple Maryborough, from the State Library of Qld and John Oxley Library.

macadamia nut - SS Bopple












Let’s discover chocolate. Is it really a fruit?

Chocolate lovers rejoice – the love of your life is a fruit! Well, that is according to Chris and Lynn Jahnke’s light-hearted theory.

“Chocolate is made from seeds of cocoa fruit, so in my mind, that clearly makes chocolate a fruit,” joked Chris.

“And are we not encouraged to eat more fruit?” he asked of the 24 people visiting a Charley’s Chocolate Factory tour in April 2018.

They all nodded in agreement and chuckled as if hoping his theory was actually true.

What is true is that chocolate is produced from cocoa beans, which come from the husked and ground seeds of Theobroma cocoa fruit.

But it’s the high fat and sugar content of chocolate as we know it that lowers its reputation as a healthy food.

Obesity and high blood pressure are just two of the medical issues associated with its high consumption.

It’s not all bad news for lovers of the popular treat, however.

According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, eating dark chocolate may lower bad cholesterol, prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.

I learnt this and many other fascinating facts about chocolate on a ‘Cocoa Tree to Chocolate Bar’ tour at Charley’s Chocolate Factory last week.

Owners Chris and Lynn are “walking encyclopaedias” on the subject.

They’ve become deeply entrenched in the industry since moving from Melbourne to rural Queensland and buying their 400 acres at Mission Beach.

“We first came to Queensland in 1994 to escape the cold winters,” Chris said.

“We loved it and kept coming back year after year during winter and eventually came across this property at Mt Edna.

“It was a banana farm back then. We bought the place but didn’t want to grow bananas so we removed them and set up to run beef cattle but there wasn’t enough land for a full-time venture.

“After a few years commuting between Melbourne and North Queensland, we sold our inner-city apartment and business and moved here permanently.

“We looked at growing other fruit crops from macadamias and mangoes to lychees but most took too many years to bear fruit and I’m a bit impatient!

“Then I watch an ABC Landline show on cocoa. I knew chocolate was made from cocoa and chocolate is ‘moderately’ popular!  The rest, as they say, is history.”

Today Chris and Lynn successfully grow cocoa on Mt Edna and turn it into award-winning chocolate.

They also take guests on regular tours of their nursery, plantation and factory at 388 Cassowary Drive, Mission Beach, North Queensland.

For more information and booking details phone 4068 5011, email or visit

Ancient people were chocolate lovers too

Traces of cocoa have been found in drinking vessels carbon-dated to 3800 years ago, said Lynn.

“The earliest civilisation associated with the drink is the Olmecs of southern Mexico.

“It’s thought the Olmecs watched animals crack open the cocoa pods but they spat out the part that’s now used to make chocolate.

“What they wanted was the sweet, sticky lining that protects the seeds.

“The Olmecs opened the pods, extracted the seeds and left them to ferment. They then let them dry in the sun, then lit fires and roasted the beans.

“They cracked the beans open and extracted the nibs, which they pound into a powder-like substance to make a beautiful and nutritious drink.

“How did they know to do that 3800 years ago? They didn’t have the technology, food science, and chemistry as we do today. They just knew instinctively what to do.”

Lynn said that throughout most of its history, cocoa was a drink until English chocolate maker Joseph Frye made the first solid bar in 1847.

Today, 83 billion US dollars worth of chocolate are eaten worldwide every year and it takes five million tonnes of cocoa per year to make that much, said Chris Jahnke.

“Seventy per cent of those five million tonnes of cocoa is grown in West African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana.”

Statista figures show that in 2015 Switzerland had the highest per capita consumption of the treat worldwide at 8.8 kilograms in that year. China ranked the lowest at only 200 grams per capita.

Chris said more recent studies ranked Australia at No. 7 in the world, just behind the United States at No. 6.

“Cocoa is a tropical tree that’s fussy about where it’s grown,” he said.

“It likes hot, humid conditions with lots of rain.

“Worldwide, cocoa grows most successfully within 15 degrees to the north and south of the Equator, provided the local conditions of high humidity and rainfall are also present.

“To grow cocoa in Australia, the best areas are in North Queensland near the coast between Tully and Mossman.”

Where is Charlie’s Chocolate Factory?

Mission Beach is located between Tully and Mossman.

At Charley’s Chocolate Factory, the plants are grown from seed and the chocolate is manufactured onsite.

Among their accolades, the business won the 2017 International Cocoa Award under the Cocoa of Excellence Program.

For more information visit