The 1950s was a time of cocktails at 5. But far from being limited to more urban areas where devoted apron-housewives of the television variety waited at the door for hubby with a throw-it down martini on a tray, the bush had its own particular favourites. Yes, beer was consumed by the litre however when it came to drinkies the bush had their preferences. The infamous gin martini with an olive was high on the list but so were G&Ts, rum and water, gin fizzes, brandy and dry and the imaginatively titled, Western Wobbler.

stockmanThe wobbler is a particular favourite of mine in the naming stakes, having been served and drunk in Sydney’s Hilton Hotel’s ubiquitous marble bar for many years. I’m sad to say that on a recent reconnaissance mission – purely research based of course (The wobbler is the drink of choice in River Run), the bar staff had no idea what I was talking about. I duly informed them of the Wobbler’s heritage and with a bit of taste-testing we came up with a suitable replacement. The Marble Bar was the place where my father, his friends and many other graziers (I use the term generically remembering that there were many more land-holders raising livestock than farming crops back then) partook of this rather potent (top shelf) concoction in the 1950s and 60s, creating some landmark moments of their own. One story involves a friend releasing a five-foot goanna into these rarefied marble surrounds. The lizard was eventually recaptured but not before some well-heeled city ladies received the fright of their lives.


The Western Wobbler is thought to have been created in the late 1940s during the Sydney Easter Show period when spinifex castled pastoralists literally converged on the city from over the ‘other side’ of the Great Dividing Range. The Royal Easter Show and the horse-racing at Randwick, the Easter double as it was known (before the showgrounds momentous move west) was and still is a rather large occasion for some of us bushies. Maybe it’s genetic.


As for the ingredients of the Western Wobbler, the base note is rum – white and dark!

cockTastes vary but a good scotch whisky doubles the smoothness and adds some tang, while a dash of brandy completes the drop. Serve in a highball glass with two blocks of ice. Four equal parts. Don’t stir and beware.