Joey Tai’s ‘Dawning Star’ twist on the Rob Roy

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Joey Tai’s  Dawning Star – Oz Whisky Review


We love a classic Rob Roy at Oz Whisky Review, but we also love seeing Scotch whisky’s answer to the Manhattan levelled up. Here, Joey Tai creates a rich and brooding Rob Roy using Starward Fortis.

‘I’ve played around with Starward in cocktails more than any other Australian whisky,’ says Joey Tai, the celebrated hospitality legend and whisky expert whose resumé includes everything from bar managing to brand repping, consulting to distilling.

‘Whisky has to be cost-effective when you use it in cocktails. You don’t want to be charging your customer $35-40 a drink when they’re trying to be adventurous and have an experience. And Starward whiskies are really well-priced. They’re easy to work with, not overpowering and they don’t overtake other ingredients.’

Tai has worked in almost every corner of the industry, even becoming a distiller at the lauded Anther Distillery and creating her own Anther Moon Cake Gin, inspired by her heritage growing up in Hong Kong.


Joey Tai – Oz Whisky Review

Now working the bar at Flower Drum, the iconic Melbourne Cantonese restaurant, she’s fusing that heritage and experience into some brilliant cocktails, like this bold riff on the Rob Roy using Starward Fortis.

‘At Flower Drum, we like to highlight some of the traditional ingredients we’re using daily in Cantonese food, and in this drink we have our house-made pu-erh tea syrup. It’s a very thick reduction of pu-erh tea, a traditional Chinese black tea which is really cleansing and soothing in between dishes, and it gives you this soft, leafy, slightly minty aromatic flavour.’

‘Married with Fortis, you get these great textures and flavours, chocolatey and buttery and with a sweet finish. I think Fortis works really well in a Rob Roy or Manhattan-style cocktails.’


Dawning Star


50ml Starward Fortis Single Malt Whisky

10ml Flower Drum pu-erh tea syrup

10ml Pedro Ximenez sherry

10ml Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino

3 dashes each of Angostura and orange bitters.

Garnish orange twist or optional cherry.


1. Stir all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

2. Garnish with an orange twist.