Event, Melbourne

One more night for this pearl



I’ll be the first to admit, I’m late to the party on this one.

For the past six days the crew at Black Pearl have been part of a collaboration with Bacardi, leading up to tonight’s Legacy Cocktail competition final.

What it means for you is a list of 10 Bacardi cocktails, including Fred Siggins’ excellent Empire of Dreams, are up for grabs from one of the most talented bar teams in the country.


Get down there tonight to try some of these great drinks and stick around for the party when the Australian winner of tonights Legacy comp is announced.


In case you’ve never been, the Black Pearl can be found on Brunswick St in Fitzroy, number 305.IMG_5890 IMG_5893 IMG_5902

Awards, Melbourne

Time Out Melbourne Bar Awards

InstagramCapture_519b892e-29cf-4766-8cf9-e18caf705a75_jpgLast night Melbourne got Sydney’s weather and also a version of Myffy Rigby’s TimeOut bar awards. The upstairs deck of the refurbished Emerson Hotel held host to more Ray Bans than have ever been seen outside of a Sunglass Hut, and lashings of Havana Club, Tempus Two wines and Sail & Anchor beer ensured the golden hue of new-age fun with a vintage feel descended in earnest.

Jason Crawley presided over the smokier crowd than attends most Roots concerts, resplendent in suspenders and dad jokes approaching the mastery of one James France.

Anyways, if history be written by the winners, let’s hope these folk are drafting prose anew.


Evan Stanley – Black Pearl


Cumulus Up


Mr Wow’s Emporium



Sweetwater Inn


The Alehouse Project



The Everleigh





Los Barbudos


 Black Pearl



Sarah Fulford – Lily Blacks





The Carlton Club


The Standard Hotel

Michael Rodrigues, joint CEO for Time Out Australia, explains: “Melbourne’s bar scene contributes so much to the texture of this city, and its great for Time Out to be able to put on these awards in recognition of their contribution. Like great cities, great bars stand the test of time – they weather changes in trends, changes in staff, changes in circumstance. They navigate these challenges because they are able to keep one thing in mind throughout. And that’s us, their lucky customers.”

Gemima Cody, Time Out Melbourne’s food and drink editor, adds: “It’s a great thing to have such a strong mix of new and established venues amongst our winners this year. It really shows that our bar scene has roots and wings, and good drinking isn’t going anywhere.”

For more information on Time Out Melbourne Bar Awards, visit www.au.timeout.com/Melbourne

TimeOutMelbourne  TimeOutMel  #TOMBarAwards

Bar, Melbourne, Sydney

Boom! A cocktail book you can get involved with.

541845_549492218424030_468301822_nSven and his band of merry men at Eau De Vie have made a start on something pretty special.

It’s a cocktail book, and instead of having it appear without fanfare on the market, they’ve decided to crowdfund the photography and production.

There are any number of packages/products and offers, although the 2.5k bar tabs with 10 signed books have understandably sold out already.

Get involved here. They’ve already met the target, so this is happening people!



Cocktail, Melbourne

The Kilmarnock Pearl

Sven Almenning’s venues in Sydney and Melbourne are gaining renown for their abilities in putting up cocktails that match and extend food items from their kitchen.

The pepper bitters lift the drink, and the oysters into a really tasty place. Egg white and pineapple gives great mouth feel.

The Kilmarnock Pearl

50ml Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
30ml Pineapple Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
20ml Chargrilled Pineapple Syrup
3 dashes pepper bitters
Egg White
1 Oyster

This drink was created as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label in Australia. Eight bars, across the country, were selected to receive the liquid ahead of general trade and had the chance to come up with a signature serve to make the most of the spirits versatility and showcase their bars style and service.

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: Pandora’s Box

Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind;
the others have left and gone to Olympus.
Trust, a mighty god has gone, Restraint has gone from men,
and the Graces, my friend, have abandoned the earth.
Men’s judicial oaths are no longer to be trusted, nor does anyone
revere the immortal gods; the race of pious men has perished and
men no longer recognize the rules of conduct or acts of piety.

When Pandora opened the box Zeus had entrusted her with, one of two things happened; all the evils imaginable were let loose upon the world, or, as Theognis of Megara so elegantly put it, all the virtues of men escaped. Now many people think the box a symbol of loss, but there is one commonality between the two stories outlined above: that Hope remained inside, hope of virtues return perhaps? or simply that blind hope for all things best. Pandora’s Box then sounds like a pretty great place to be.

Tucked a hop, skip and a jump down Duke St, off Melbourne’s Chav shopping mecca of Chapel St , lies this Pandora’s Box. Four walls filled with hope, a great tapas menu and a simple list of drinks on offer.

Anywhere that has a Corpse Reviver No 2. on the list is ok by me, and backing that up with a Buffalo Trace Sazerac, a Tommy’s and a French 75 takes things way past ok into great territory. Probably not a place if you’re looking for cocktail fanaticism, but if you want a fine drink and some food to match coupled with some great service courtesy of Winter and her team.

2 Duke St, Windsor, 3181 Melbourne. (03) 9529 4590

On Google Maps, here.

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: Sousoul

One of the things I’ve found to more true than anything else as I’ve moved through bars, sampling drinks and talking to bartenders, is that a list of twisted classics usually should be avoided.

Classics became just that because of the fine memorable taste the mix delivered. Take inspiration from the recipes sure, but you can’t improve on perfection.

Or can you?

On the mini crawl Jason Chan took me on after dinner at his, Sousoul was one place he’d mentioned a couple of times. The cocktails and their quality came up again as we crossed Chapel street and ducked down Greville St, beside the clocktower. As he popped his head into the new outpost of Ladro Pizzeria, next door to Sousoul, I’ll admit I was thinking “I’ve been drinking stuff you can’t buy anywhere, how is any cocktail meant to follow that?

Making it the door we were met by Nathan, our consummate host, Jason recommended and ordered the Chocolate Sazerac (below). The smoked cocoa is a triumph in this drink, I’m not sure if it has the fabled ‘wrongness’ of the rye and anise match in the original, but I’m sure Matt Preston would pull out his new favourite phrase “it’s yum yuck, a triumph” before hurling the glass at the back wall.

Well done Sousoul, one from one thus far.

My eyes didn’t get much further down the list before my eyes rested on the Aviation in 2010 (below).

Fuck with the classics, be my guest, but the Aviation is my personal favourite, opening a good gin up with citrus and the funky sweet lick that maraschino brings. Frankly I don’t care if they used to drink it with Creme de Violette. Most of the new liqueur approximations of this floral throwback stamp out any of the subtlety of the simpler ‘modern’ version (although none of my books have a violet version, isn’t that the Blue Moon?) Sousoul have updated the cocktail but my three ingredients are the ones in the glass.

That’s a tremendous tick in my book.

The boys behind the bar have captured an essence here. The Creme Yvette’s that are coming in the second wave of production are greatly improved. Adding it to the liquid in the glass might be dicey, so what’s the other option?

At Sousoul, the other option means spherification of the liqueur in a tidy little caviar spoon on the side. After the astringent brilliance of a perfect Aviation in the glass, these purple pearls wash your mouth with sweet floral goodness, ready for the next rinse.

I loved it. It is exactly what it set out to be: the very best Aviation you could put up.

I’m thinking of driving down again this weekend, just so I can have it again. If you are in Melbourne and only are going to have one drink, this, in my opinion, should be it.

I stand by what I said. Don’t fuck with the classics, unless you can do as well as this.

160 Greville Street, Prahran, VIC, Australia, 3181 (03) 9529 5670

On Google Maps here.

Bar, Melbourne, The Cure

On Tour: Batch

Chur cuz. Sick of the fucking bouncing kangaroos? Worried about that thing with the beady eyes you always thought was a bear but apparently is called mar-soo-pee-ill? Simply looking for a place where you can consistently find a decent cup of coffee, free from the hands of the pervasive criminal element?

Rejoice reader, this paradise exists and you can find it hiding at 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava in Melbourne’s wonderful southern suburbs.

This place might be a cafe, but the fact you also get a measure of El Dorado 25yr old rum means that this little cafe has a back bar that many cocktail establishments around the world would envy. Breakfast and booze in one tidy package, Cure and Cause in four tight walls.

Started some time ago by another ex-Kiwi like me, Batch brings the cosy feel of Dunedin or Kingsland to Sydney’s southern sister. Jason Chan, owner, master barista and rare spirits aficionado can be found strapped into the coffee machine delivering perfect espresso, time, after time, after time.

Simply a must visit in Melbourne.

Shop 1, 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava (03) 9530 3550

On Google maps, here.

Oh, this will probably help too: