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SoCals Dragtails Competition Winner

Applejack hosted it’s first Dragtail Cocktail Competition at The Butler as part of Sydney WorldPride 2023.

Our very own bartender, Chris Pennington, represented SoCal at the DragTails competition, where he was tasked to create a cocktail, using Absolut Vodka, that brought out his inner drag queen.

Inspired by gay activist Marsha P. Johnson, a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. As quoted by our Queens, Chris’s presentation was a “mic-drop” moment. With floral notes, and an eye-catching colour, it was a clear winner in the eyes of our judges.

Keep reading to discover what inspired Chris to create the ‘Marshtini’, what WorldPride means to him and book a table today to come and try his delicious creation.



Tell us a bit about youself!

I’m 19 years old and I grew up in Sydney’s North. I’m currently studying primary education and psychology at Macquarie University, and work at Applejack’s iconic SoCal restaurant in Neutral Bay.

How did you get into cocktail making?

I got into cocktail making in lockdown in 2021 as something fun to keep me entertained. When things started opening up I would have mates over to try these home creations (with varying successes, some weren’t great drinks if I’m being honest!). It became something I absolutely loved doing, making cocktails for my mates at my place, and at their parties. I decided that working in hospitality would be something that aligned well with what I enjoy! It’s been great settling in at SoCal and learning the ropes of classic cocktails, getting to know our lovely clientele and having a good laugh with my co-workers. SoCal’s experienced shakers were instrumental in my success at Dragtails, and their mentorship has to be recognised!

What does WorldPride mean to you?

To me, WorldPride is a time of reflection. Between the hustle and bustle of parties and drinks is an ongoing story of protest. These celebrations we share are contributions to this narrative, that queer joy is rebellion. World Pride is an opportunity for Sydney to be on the world stage. We can show the queer artistry that thrives in our city, whether that be cocktail design, drag or even food. Through this joy and celebration we rebel, that is what World Pride means to me.

Tell us a bit about your winning creation?

The Marsha Martini, or “Marshtini”, is an expression of this perspective on World Pride. To me the spirit of rebellion and community defines the queer experience, and this is embodied in the life and legacy of activist Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha was an influential figure of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, the embers of queer activism in the United States. The cocktail is centred around floral elements, as Marsha was known for wearing crowns of flowers. This was portrayed in the cocktail through the use of elderflower liqueur, orange blossom and butterfly pea infused Absolut vodka. The cocktail also included lemon juice and blackberry syrup, garnished with edible flowers. The cocktail has a purple hue, which it’s colour represents the spirit of the queer community on the Pride flag.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

What I love about the Applejack’s World Pride Campaign is the celebration of our queer staff that serve in our venues. This campaign has given opportunity for our queer creators to take creative agency in their hospitality, and serve our communities. This is really exciting.

Taste Chris’ in house-creation to celebrate WorldPride, from 17th February – 5th March at SoCal with $1 of every cocktail sold going to The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, Australia’s longest-running HIV charity!

Click the links below to find out more about the Marshtini cocktail and discover how Applejack is celebrating Sydney WorldPride 2023.