Cocktail, Melbourne

The Pharmacy

So this was it, a drink that I had come to try. Laid out on a surgical steel tray, the Aperol syringe, the iced pill bottle filled with pear and capsicum infused Gin and a single white capsule, lying in wait. The famous Pharmacy cocktail at Melbourne’s Der Raum.

Around the world there are a precious few classic bars that are defined by a single drink. The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel and their Singapore Sling, The Cuban Home of the Floradita Daiquiris, The Caribe Hilton and their Pina Colada. A great drink can represent a comfy bed of laurels.

Singapore’s national drink is now premixed and shipped in from Malaysia, a Cuban reality struggles to live up to words penned by a genius of imagination, Ramon Marerro’s strained pineapple sloshes in machinery better suited to the Kwik-E-Mart than a fond memory of a forgotten era.

There exists not only the bad, The Martini Bar in Barcelona serves a very pleasant Martini and I’ve seen too many brown sludge toting fools gush about the perfection of Harry’s white Bellini for me to doubt there are those precious few that try so hard to get it right, and succeed.

Which side does the Der Raum signature come down on? The latter mostly, I can happily report.

I applaud the concept, beautifully rendered in front on me.  The infusion of the Gin is delicious, the involvement one gets in the assembly phase is fantastic and the way the Aperol compliments the infusion is, well, delightful. It is difficult to not have a smile creep onto your face while you sip it on down.

The gelatin encased pill take a bit of waiting for, and after the ice had melted enough to relinquish its grip I have to admit, if I was looking for a weak link the pill is it. The astringent finish, I get, but the flavour you are left with didin’t have any of the subtlety the rest of the drink offered.

Still, all in all, my expectations were probably unattainably high, and they were exceeded. I’ll write a more general note on my impression of the rest of the Der Raum experience in the next couple of days…


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