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:

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: Der Raum

Step 1. Hail a taxi and direct him to the corner of Swan and Church St in Richmond♣.

Step 2. Pay the boatman, step the curb and approach the blackened door.

Step 3. Smile at the bartender♥.

Step 4. Take a spin through the menu♦

Step 5. Accept a welcome drink, casually diguised as an amuse bouche.

Step 6. While you finish your drink, select another and order‡

Step 7. Repeat step six, as many times as you can whilst remaining upright.

♣ Be aware that if there is a game on at the Gee, the crawl down Church St will be interminable. If this is the case, best sneak a roady in your pocket. ♥ Do not call him a mixologist. ♦ Don’t try to walk off with it, it has been attached to the bar. ‡ The drinks here, while lovely, can take some time to produce. Best keep one in the chamber at all times.

Well, you’ve waded through my short, but David Foster Wallacesque introduction to Der Raum. I suppose I now owe you an explanation.

Der Raum is a temple to process. Come forth, ye unwashed masses and worship at the altar of method.

Fine, innovative drinks, using techniques that wouldn’t seem out of place on Lost in Space or The Jetsons. The bottle above is a vermouth welcome drink, infused with floraln tastes and smoking with the addition of dry ice, ostensibly used to open the flavours up. While it’s not likely to make it onto my regualr roster of drinks at home, it was a pleasant welcome.

The Blue Moon, below, is a champagne salute to the ‘real’ Aviation. The violet flavor fog carried more taste than I had expected and the visual effect was indeed stunning. The Penicillin, served on an enopurmos sphere of ice and finished with a spray of Laphroaig, amazing. The Smokey Old Bastard, finished with cigar smoke delivered by a machine that wouldn’t have been out of place in a coffee shop on the Keizersgracht, should the Penicillin not deliver enough smoke. The Pharmacy, which i wrote about before, for the show more than anything. All the drinks on the list are incredible.

Der Raum consistently does well in awards and best bar in the world listings. The forest of suspended bottles over the bar is a joy to look at, with hidden treasures, like Tapatio Tequila that don’t come out very often at all, at least in this country. A fantastic bar, just heed my advice on ordering your next when you receive your first.
438 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121, Australia‎ – (03) 9428 0055

On Google Maps here.

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: The Supper Club

In briefest terms, the place where you end up.

Somehow though, this place deserves a little more. A place for florid language, festooned with the detritus of a great Melbourne night. The penultimate step of an evenings libations♣. A standard to be set for the rest of the world.

Commit to a stroll onward and upward, and perched upstairs on Spring St, The Supper Club will enfold you in its ample bosom, provided, of course, everyone else hasn’t made it here before you.

While I’m sure you could order a cocktail here, if you’ve done things right through the rest of the town a simple Scotch, a glass or bottle of wine and a late night munch. Whereas in Kings Cross you might be seduced by the red-haired punchinello and his premium Angus, the Supper will entertain your with gastronomical delights to slake even the most cavernous of inebriated ravenousness. The eel and jamon croquettes, follwed by the polenta fries and perhaps the pate with those tiny little toasts please.

Smoking, now banned in all public indoor places in Australia, finds a spectactular home on the upstairs terrace, past a reassuringly large humidor.

My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.

Winston Churchill.

1st/161 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia‎ – (03) 9654 6300‎

On Google maps here.

♣ Home, either yours or someone else’s being the ultimate. Hopefully at least.

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…

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: 1806

World Cocktail Day has slipped down our collective throats once more, It would be easy to grow despondent at the thought of waiting another annual cycle to celebrate the birth and evolution of finely mixed drinks.

Luckily however, hope as they say, springs eternal. At least on Exhibition St that is, where Sebastian Raeburn has built a stage for the art of mixing drinks, a temple whose rites eek out the fullest balanced flavours and where an uplifted spirit will just as soon be drunk. Named for the year in which the word cocktail was defined in print, 1806 is a must visit destination for anyone who like a great drink.

Step inside the doorway and you’ll be escorted through to the first available seat in the two-leveled theater of drinks. The bar and it’s tenders are very much the feature of the venue, with a backbar rising so high into the stratosphere it must tickle the very nose of God. Appropriate then that the uppermost reaches hold the works of Carthusian Monks, in greater variety than me eyes have laid on before. I’m not so sure the festoon of empty bubbles will have the same effect.

We ordered the Southside and a Clover Club. Both came, well made and silky in their deliciousness. I would have liked to stay and sampled more, but Pumpkin time was upon us and the Hotel bed beckoned. I’ll be back, if only to try the custard.

169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000‎ -(03) 9663 7722‎

On Google Maps, here.

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: Madame Brussels

It seems a good rule of thumb that some of the best things in life take a little finding. After an all too brief visit to Vernon Chalker’s infamous den of iniquity, a lovely young lady in perhaps the furriest coat I’ve ever seen gave me a cryptic set of instructions describing how to find a certain lady’s parlour up a distinctly 1980’s back passage. Twists, turns and talk of trees that grew Spaghetti bought to my mind a persistent memory of Cadaqués and its confusing laneways.

Entry to this Rather Fancy Terrace and Public House requires ascent, in particular as the lift is resisting any movement as it revels in its own shoddy decrepitude. The three flights of stairs are worth the effort however, as you arrive in the softly Astroturfed Parlour.

Ignore the queue of younger pups that line the bricked approach to the small bar and head out on to the Terrace and find a table. Wintry Melbourne is held at bay by gas lamp heating and cuddly blankets, I’m told Sunny Melbourne (if there is such a thing) can be equally assuaged with a silken parasol between your fingers.

There is a slight tennis theme running through the venue, and very soon after taking your seat you will be joined by a pretty young thing decked out in Fred Perry. The drinks list leans heavily on English summers, and by the number of Pimm’s jugs, I’d say the venue is leading the charge in repopularising that most Wimbledon of beverages. Measures come in Singles (for two) or Doubles (for four) and the generous servings means you’ll get round the table a couple of times before you need a re-order.

We started with the Finsbury,  a delightful concoction featuring the much misunderstood Stone Green Ginger wine, and followed up with a Pimm’s No. 3 Cup, the lesser known hot brandied cousin of the traditional summer cooler. Served under a cosy it banished Jack Frosts fingers perfectly.

Once you’ve arrived, you’re unlikely to be in a hurry to leave, as staff, service and stunning tipples arrive effortlessly. A mercifully short food menu should stave of any lingering need to alight the terrace, and I thoroughly recommend the chicken sandwich and the liver parfait.

Any mention of Mde. Brussels would be incomplete without attempting an answer to the question of who she was; a brothel keeper, sweetheart of Royalty, aristocratic wife,w ho by all accounts knew every facet of how to have a good time in life. I do love a good story, and the venue website shows the homework has been done.

All and all, Madame Brussels delivers a great experience, fit for a Lord. I’ll be back again, and hopefully this time the Madame herself will be on hand to complete the experience.

Level 3, 59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne, Victoria | (03) 9662 2775

On Google Maps, here.

Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: Berlin

One of my perennial favourite things to do in Melbourne is a visit to the dumpling filled streets (just for the record, there are no dumplings in the streets, this is a figure of speech) of Chinatown. It might be the time I spent in Shanghai, It might be the opportunity to order food in Mandarin, it might be my undying love for Hui Guo Rou, I always find time to visit.

Some time ago I twisted and turned down Croft Alley to the Institute, probably my first ever small bar visit in the fabled Australian 03. I was excited to hear that a new addition to the scene could be found down another of the dead ends on that block, up a set of stairs and behind a locked door. On paper, Berlin is my kind of place.

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Bar, Melbourne

On Tour: The Black Pearl

Last week I jumped a plane to Melbourne for a weekend of shopping, eating and drinking. You know, the things Sydney’s southern sister does so well. Top of my list was a trip to the charmingly disheveled suburb of Fitzroy and Australia’s award winningly best bar, The Black Pearl, to catch up with Australia’s award winningly best bartender, Chris Hysted and the other members of Australia’s award winningly best bar team.

Sometimes when a place wins a slew of awards, things start to fall apart. The foot comes of the accelerator and the drive that propelled them to such giddy heights falls away leaving a sad, lame duck. Painfully mixed metaphors aside, this is most certainly not the case with the Pearl. Perhaps because there has seemingly never been a foot on the accelerator, but more likely that the bar is stocked with fine spirits, both in the bottles on the back bar and inside all the staff, the Pearl delivers a level of comfort that’s hard to come by and pretty much impossible to fake.

This then, is place to feel at home.

The bar itself is a tardis of soft seats and couches, but if you’ve come as a one or a two, take a seat at the bar, hang your coat and bag on the hooks under the counter. The bar team are all tremendous fun, the patrons a close second and if there is a tiny moment you’re not fully engaged, the cycling CCTV screen can prove to be entertaining.

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Cocktail, Event, Melbourne, Sydney

World Cocktail Week.

On the 13th of May, 1806, the word cocktail was first defined in print. The paper that printed the word was called The Balance, and Columbia Repository. It was volume V if you’re interested. The truly passionate amongst you might even want to jump on Google books and read the original here. The word appears on both page 142 and 146.

This little word has employed a lot of people, and intoxicated even more. It is in that spirit that people gather for a weeks worth of festivities around this most important day in the mixocoligcal calendar to mix, pour, shake, learn and most importantly imbibe!

It is a happy event for Australia this year, with more than a few bars getting in on the action. Here’s what I’m aware of thus far, I’m happy for people to add stuff in the comments if there are one’s I’ve missed.

I’ll be at Eau de Vie on Thursday for sure.

Monday May 10th

Eau de Vie – Classic Vintage

Eau-de-Vie opens the spirit cabinets, offering great classics made with rare and hard-to-find spirits from the house collection.

7pm-9pm, $80pp (Includes food & 4 Cocktails)

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Tuesday May 11th

Eau de Vie -5 Cocktails Every Man Should Know

6pm-8pm, $ 75pp (includes food & 5 cocktails)

Hosted by The Dr & Sven Almenning

Eau de Vie, Private Whisky Room.

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

The Den – Vintage Cocktail Night

Merivale head mixologist Mikey Enright and Mixxit mixologist Jason Crawley, will host four veteran bartenders, Ben Davidson, Dylan Howarth, Simon McGoram and Marco Farone to mix vintage cocktails in The Den.

$70pp includes cocktails and canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Hemmesphere – Tequila Masterclass

Brown Forman’s brand ambassador Shae Silvesto and Hemmesphere’s very own hombre, Sebastian Derbomez, take guests through the history of Tequila before hosting Tequila tastings and demonstrating three Tequila cocktails, including the classic Margarita. Ole!  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

The Den – Vintage Cocktail Night

Merivale head mixologist Mikey Enright and Mixxit mixologist Jason Crawley, will host four veteran bartenders, Ben Davidson, Dylan Howarth, Simon McGoram and Marco Farone to mix vintage cocktails in The Den.

$70pp includes cocktails and canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Wednesday May 12th

Eau de Vie – Cocktail Degustation Evening

Enjoy 4 sublime cocktail and food pairings

7pm-9pm $ 85pp (includes food & 4 cocktails)

Hosted by Elle Wormald & Maximillian Greco

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Hemmesphere – Gin Masterclass

Learn more about those obscure juniper berries when gin specialist Ben Davidson and Gin Garden mixologist Paul Mott discuss the history of gin, host top-shelf gin tastings and show guests how to shake up three classic gin cocktails.  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Sand Bar & Slip Inn – Bourbon Masterclass

Take a trip through the Kentucky cornfields as  Beam Global’s bourbon specialist, Jarred Plummer, talks about the USA’s most famous spirit and its history. He’ll also demonstrate how to make the most of bourbon, sharing some of his favourite bourbon cocktail recipes.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Tiki Cocktail class

Learn to master tropical cocktails served in pineapples or coconuts as Nick Van ‘Tiki’ Tiel – a seasoned Tiki specialist and Reserve’s brand ambassador – and Mikey Enright talk through the history Polynesian pop culture and demonstrate how to make the perfect Pina Colada, Mai Tai and Zombie.  Each student will have the opportunity to make a Tiki classic cocktail and the winning cocktail will take home a Tiki Drink set.

$70 includes 3 cocktails including and canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Thursday May 13th

Eau de Vie – Martini Masterclass

A look at the development of this enigmatic drink, the styles, history & how it is made today.

7pm-9pm $ 75pp (Includes food & 5 martinis)

Hosted by Barry Chalmers & Nick Fury

Eau de Vie, Private Whisky Room.

On facebook, or call Barry on 9357 2470

Ivy – The Magnificent 7 – ‘The final shootout’ – World Cocktail Day

One of Australia’s leading bar-training-programs, Mixxit, is gearing up for the final leg of a competition that has attracted some of the country’s finest bartenders. The winner of the Magnificent 7 competition will fly to New York and attend the world famous five-day BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource).   Guests are invited to come down and cheer on their state finalist and see some of the best Australian cocktail makers battling it out on the main stage at ivy. The seven finalists: Anita Strother,Byblos, Brisbane; Edward Murphy, Baden Powell, Melbourne; Erica Richards, Crown & Sceptre, Adelaide; Richie Brenton, Charlie’s Bar, Melbourne; Nick Edwards, The Lark, Brisbane; Christian Blair, Crown & Sceptre, Adelaide; Luke Reddington, Hugos Bar Pizza, Sydney.

6.30pm, Thursday 13 May at ivy, level 1, 320 George Street, Sydney

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Ivy – Vodka Masterclass

Oliver Stuart, Russian Standard Vodka’s brand ambassador and Bartendermagazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2006, will talk through the subtleties of his favourite spirit and share three fantastic vodka cocktail recipes.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Friday May 14th

Ivy Pool Club – Luxury Vodka Masterclass

Moet-Hennessey’s Garth Foster and Jimmy Sakajani from ivy’s Pool Club show guests how to make the most of luxury vodka with three favourite vodka cocktail recipes. They’ll also host a tasting of different luxury vodkas.  

$70pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

Saturday May 15th

Lotus – Rum Masterclass

Pernod Ricard’s cocktail guru and brand ambassador, Ben Davidson, and Lotus’ award-winning mixologist Petr Dvoracek will conduct rum tastings before guiding guests through the art of making the perfect pina colada, daiquiri and a surprise rum cocktail.

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000

The Den – Whisky Masterclass

Pernod Ricard’s cocktail guru and brand ambassador, Ben Davidson and The Den’s resident mixologist Nico Darras show you how to make magic with a splash of whisky. They will demonstrate three classic whisky cocktails, including the Rob Roy and Bobby Burns.  

$65pp includes 3 cocktails & canapés

visit www.merivale.com or call 02 9240 3000


For four weeks in the month of May, 1806 in Melbourne will showcase the evolution of this remarkable cocktail from the earliest mentions, to the most modern molecular interpretation.

Just to give you an idea of how much of a following these events get around the globe, here’s a video from the Museum of the American Cocktail, who have really been the driving force behind the event and its slow global rollout.

World Cocktail Week ™ NYC from Lush Life on Vimeo.

Cocktail, Melbourne, MixMarch

MixMarch #30: The 1951 Martini

One of the joys of Cocktail World Cup in Queenstown was listening to Vernon Chalker, Australia’s Most Infulential Person in the Bar Industry, wax lyrical about his first and favourite love, the Martini.

It is the simplest of drinks often butchered. A martini should have two ingredients, three at a push, with a garnish that compliments the drink. Lightning in a bottle, perfection in a glass, simplicity personified. A Dry Martini, well made, does not need anything else.


What if you add something else? A small change, a tweak, a nuance? something that adds layers and mystique?

This Martini won a Martini competition in 1951. It is excellent. There truly are no other words.

The 1951 Martini

Take an extremely cold martini glass and aromatise it with Cointreau. This can be done by pouring a little in the glass, swooshing it round and expelling any excess. You could also use one of those little spray bottles too. The object is to coat the glass with a film of the Orange liqueur.

In an iced tin, stir a healthy splash of vermouth to coat the cubes and dissolve any cheeky shards of ices, discard the liquid, retaining the ice. Pour in between 60 and 90 mls of Gin, I like Tanqueray, but decide for yourself. The amount of gin should reflect your thirst and the size of your vessel. Strain into the aromatised glass and adorn with an anchovy stuffed olive.

The oily film of liqueur, the funky anchovy in the olive, the dryness of the martini. Damn this drink works.

Bar, Beer, Melbourne, Sydney

The Local Tap House

1039-2They say the best thing out of Sydney is the road to Melbourne, and anyone who has enjoyed the fantastic drinking culture of Sydney’s southern sister would be inclined to agree.

Lucky for Sydneysiders, Melbourne’s best is filtering to the top and making the long journey north to our benefit.

One of the newest Melburnian exports is the Local Taphouse. This boutique beer hall serves a stack of truly fantastic Beers from the tap. $15 $13 gets you a six beer tasting platter and a bloody good time.

The taphouse also runs a blog, just to keep you up to date with all things cold, bubbly and amber coloured.

The food looks good, and if my glowing endorsement isn’t enough, get a load of what is currently on tap:

Got a powerful thirst? Get along to 122 Flinders St to quench it.

Google Map

ANZAC special on Saturday, Microbrews from NZ and Aussie, really good, hard to find stuff. Come and play some two up! You might even find a Pink Elephant….

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Bar, Melbourne, Training

If I were in Melbourne tomorrow…

I’d definitely be going to this, Sebastian is a legend: 

Mixology Management 5 Day Cocktail training Course 

The Mixology Management 1806 cocktail bar training week is conducted at 1806, a fully functional, modern cocktail bar and training facility.
As well as taking students through the basics of bartending and customer service, we educate our participants in all the components of modern cocktails.

Course Objectives and Outcomes
The course is designed to take candidates with little or no experience and prepare them with knowledge and practical skills to comfortably begin an entry level bartending position in a bar or cocktail bar. Our course provides all the necessary knowledge and skills required to work happily, safely and efficiently in a modern cocktail bar.
Students who show willingness to succeed and excel will become part of Mixology Management’s casual and event staff database and will be given opportunities to gain experience. Those students will also have the opportunity for their details and CV to be distributed through Mixology Management’s extensive hospitality venue database and will be recommended for bar positions as they come up. There is no guarantee of work, but there is access to details about Melbourne’s best bars, bar managers, venue operators and advice on the best way to enter the hospitality industry.
There is currently a shortage of skilled bartenders in Australia, most venues in Melbourne are looking for reliable and competent staff, so there has never been a better time to enter hospitality, and there is no better cocktail community resource than Mixology Management.

169 exhibition Street

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