Cocktail menus can be overwhelming, especially when you find yourself in a venue of high-repute. On one hand you want to experiment, but you don’t want to ruin the occasion by ordering the wrong thing. We’ve put together a guide that takes the guesswork out of it – from bartenders’ favourites to signature drinks, here’s what you should order at some of the best bars around town.
Hidden behind a bright orange door on Ann Street in Fortitude Valley, Savile Row is a combination of wallpaper, brick and art-detailed walls. Most prominent is a back bar of 750 spirits, spotlighted by a large overhanging chandelier. There are hundreds of whiskies, 50 gins, 50 rums and 20 tequilas. There are also 20 cocktails (with matching illustrations), a few beers on tap, 15 white wines and 15 reds.
It’s no surprise then that manager Jonte Highton’s recommendation for Savile Row’s ideal drink, the Dr. Edward Morbius, has an ingredients list longer than your arm. It’s a combination of Talisker 10-year-old Scotch whisky, sherry, absinthe, fresh tomato juice, citrus, black pepper, burnt grapefruit zest, egg whites, spirit fire bitters, and a dehydrated cherry tomato garnish. “Served long,” says Highton.
“Everyone should order an Old Fashioned,’ says Ryan Lane, general manager of The Gresham. “It's a punter and industry favourite alike.” The drink’s old-world charm is a neat match for The Gresham, situated on Queen Street in a 200-year-old building.
“The Old Fashioned gives people a lot of options for the base spirit,” says Lane, who suggests an American whiskey like Bulleit bourbon as a starter from which to build. “The drink is incredibly customisable. It keeps everyone happy.”
The Junk Bar
Wedged between a homewares shop and a barber on Waterworks Road in Ashgrove, The Junk Bar is the unlikely home of the fantastically named, The Charlie Brown and The Peanut Butter Fiasco cocktail. “Customers tell us they dream of it,” says manager Mia Goodwin. The in-house favourite is a combination of homemade dark chocolate sauce, peanut butter, coffee liqueur and vodka, and topped with some secret ingredients Goodwin won’t share.
The Apo on Ann Street in Fortitude Valley is a menagerie of 19th century brick, leather curtains, polished concrete floors and marble feature walls. Downstairs, the moodily lit eatery features various pieces of custom-made furniture. Upstairs, a bar has been sculpted from rare Croatian oak. Designers as diverse as Alexander Lotersztain and Michael Anastassiades pepper the more intimate spaces.
The drinks menu is based on a selection of cocktails inspired by bartenders around the world – including Australia’s own Death Flip, created by Chris Hysted of Melbourne bar The Black Pearl (recently voted Best International Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards) and featuring Don Julio Blanco tequila, yellow chartreuse, herbal digestif and a whole egg. In-house bartender Pez Collier also suggests ‘Tommy’s Margarita”, a twist on the classic that uses Don Julio Blanco tequila and lime juice, but replaces the traditional triple sec with agave juice.
The most striking feature at Cobbler is the extensive back bar, equipped with its own sliding ladder to access more than 400 whiskies from around the world, (along with a smaller – but no less researched – range of tequila, rum and liqueur).
Cobbler’s seasonal cocktail list is extensive, with a focus on modern twists of the classics – fizzes, highballs, flips, blazers – the list goes on, all with Cobbler’s own intricate additions. But the Negroni is still a calling card, the classic recipe of Tanqueray gin, herbal aperitif and rosso vermouth the benchmark of any great bar.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with World Class Drinking.