South Australia’s coronavirus restrictions may have eased this week, but it’ll still be some time before bars and pubs get the green light to reopen. In response to the lockdown, Ambleside Distillers has rallied Hains & Co, Roxies, Bank Street Social and Midnight Spaghetti on a range of bottled cocktails to enjoy at home.
Ambleside co-founder Matthew Dickson says the new bottled cocktail range, Alongside Ambleside, is an attempt to lift the spirits – and revenue – of local venues that have not only been hit hard by Covid-19, but are still reeling from the bushfire crisis.
“It was obviously a pretty rocky start to the year,” he tells Broadsheet. “There were a ton of venues that put events on and raised a heap of money for local communities. And then all of a sudden we were faced with this [virus], and everyone was having to close … considering they’d just foregone potentially thousands of dollars of revenue – all donated to charity for the bushfires – I just thought, ‘What can we do to try and help them?’”
He reached out to venues that stock Ambleside spirits and asked each of them to design a cocktail that could be bottled as part of a series. Ambleside would provide bottling services and ensure regulations were met, and local graphic-design company Black Squid signed on to do the packaging. Profits from the cocktails will go directly to the venues that produced them (minus the packaging costs). The only guidelines? The cocktails had to be unique, and something that hadn’t been served at the venue before.
The six pre-batched cocktails can be purchased individually, or with a discount if you purchase more than four. There’s a Gin Milk Punch by Hains & Co that combines gin, apple juice, citrus, spices and clarified milk (in which milk solids are separated from the liquid, resulting in a rich, clear drink), best served over ice. Because of the work involved in its creation, the bar has made less than 20 for the first round of sales.
“The process of making it is fairly lengthy … it takes a full day or two to get everything ready and done,” says Dickson. “I’m trying to organise to get more made by them, so we can get it in bottles and keep selling it!”
The collection also features an Elder Fashion (gin, elderflower liqueur, orange bitters and water) by Bank Street Social, which is served straight or with a lemon twist; the Amberside (gin, grapefruit sherbet, citric acid, lime sherbet and peach liquor) by Roxies, which is topped with soda and garnished with a citrus wheel over ice; and the Gin Sour (gin, citric acid, lemon sherbet, water and plant-based Instafoam) by Midnight Spaghetti, which is shaken and poured over ice.
There are also bottled Rose Negronis and Espresso Martinis made by Ambleside.
“It was really a collaborative effort from everybody,” says Dickson. “This is all about trying to support the Adelaide hospitality scene that has done it tough with the start of the year… and [it] will hopefully inject a little bit of revenue into venues that have been shut down.”
The Alongside Ambleside range of cocktails can be purchased online (standard shipping is $10 Australia-wide and free for orders over $50) or from Ambleside Distillers’ cellar door in Hahndorf.