Hickson House Distilling Co
Hickson House Distilling Co is a paean to gin tours, tastings and popping cocktails beneath soaring ceilings and sparkling chandeliers.
It’s part of the heritage Metcalfe Bond Stores, and the 100-year-old building’s striking brickwork, wooden beams and grand spaces have been preserved. On the ground floor, a wall of illuminated gin bottles backdrops the main bar and dining room. The intimate mezzanine upstairs is home to a smaller bar, High & Dry. Seating ranges from roomy bar stools, timber chairs and cosy lamplit sofas.
Mikey Enright and Julian Train of the Barrelhouse Group (The Duke of Clarence and The Barber Shop are behind the venue, with head distiller Tim Stones (ex-Manly Spirits) manning the custom copper stills.
For the house gin range, Stones has created a Martini-ready London Dry, a Harbour Strength (which follows the same recipe, but with greater intensity and a higher alcohol content), and the native-heavy Australian Dry. To see them in action, a distillery tour and tasting costs $40, $5 of which are redeemable on a purchase at the Hobbit-sized cellar door.
The house trio – along with 600 other spirits from around the world – are mixed into G&Ts, Martinis and signature cocktails. There’s also a lengthy international whisky list and a neat collection of wines.
Head chef David Penistone’s (The Duke Of Clarence) menu is scattered with native ingredients. Share plates might include salt-roasted prawns with charred lime and chilli, or kangaroo tartare with horseradish, Vegemite and toast. Mains range from a chicken schnitzel made with a signature seven-spice to a full-blood Wagyu rump with smoked bone-marrow butter and jus.