The Sherry Cobbler was arguably the most famous cocktail of the 1860's, and Melbourne was renowned for producing some of the best. A mixture of spirits, fortified wine, citrus, sugar and copious mounds of crushed ice, this sweet little tipple relied once ice being supplied by the Melbourne Patent Ice Company, who imported enormous blocks of river ice from Massachusetts, USA. Packed in straw, the blocks were delivered to the ice house on the corner of Queen and Flinders Street where they were cut into usable sizes before being delivered to bars and restaurants. These days it's a similar story, with ours delivered by local ice purveyor, Rohan Donohoe. And our Cobbler plays with fortified wines matched with fruit, liqueurs and citrus.
The Lola Montez Spider Dance Fizz
In 1855, the infamous erotic dancer by the name of Lola Montez toured the far-flung goldfields of Victoria. The previous Melbourne performance caused such an outcry that the remainder of her Melbourne shows were cancelled for fear that the authorities would close any theaters who dared to book her. However, while the newspapers of Melbourne were showering Lola with scorn, the gold diggers of Ballarat were showering her with gold nuggets, all because of her raunchy spider dance! This legendary routine saw Lola clad in layers of petticoats and skirts, dancing to the slow realisation that her clothes were filled with spiders. Growing ever frenzied, much to the crowd's delight she'd lift her skirts higher and higher, scattering the stage with imitation spiders, and slowly revealing more and more Lola with each movement. We celebrate her tour with French Champagne and seasonal fruit.
Sous Vide Shrub
In the dusty midst of Victoria's gold rush with no refrigeration and very few roads, preserving food was paramount to survival. When you can't use cold, heat is generally the alternative to preserve fruit. Couple that with a healthy dose of alcohol and you have a fruit preserve that will last and last. From as early as 1700, heating and dosing with alcohol to create a Shrub was a major part of pioneer societies.
These Shrubs would be bottled, stored and then consumed with chilled water, creating what were probably the first fruit cocktails in the world. These magnificent cooked flavours have been missing from the modern drinking experience, so we've taken the liberty of applying some new techniques to recapture them. For our Shrub we seal and slow cook seasonal fruit with herbs and match them with plenty of booze.
Leatherwood Old Fashioned
For much of Melbourne's early history, native honeys were widely deemed to be the most luxurious of all locally foraged delicacies. This was largely due to the fact that 'sweeteners' of any kind were somewhat difficult to come by, with every grain of sugar still being painstakingly shipped from the other side of the globe. Hence, any local sources were immensely valuable which, in turn, made sweetened, sugar-laden cocktails a declaration of wealth and sophistication. To this very day, one of the most delightful local honeys is Leatherwood - a prodigious Tasmanian blend that's renowned for it's subtle floral hints, sweet front palate and herbaceous finish. We stir our Old Fashioned with single malt whisky.
In the 1860s, Melbourne was widely regarded as one of the food and drink capitals of the world. Indeed, for the best part of 30 years, alongside London and New York, we reigned as one of the planet's premier cocktail destinations. But there's nothing like war, depression and recession to ruin a good time.
However, thanks largely to the fresh energy and passion of a new generation of local bartenders, Melbourne has returned to being a global cocktail hotspot. To celebrate this, we're championing these modern cocktail mixers cocktail of choice, the Negroni; Fosco Scarselli's 1920 classic from the heart of Florence. Bombay Sapphire gin, Carpano Antica Formula, Campari and a huge sphere of ice, our version is dressed with an orange twist and served with blanched almonds cystalised in Campari and orange sugar.
The Vodka Pour Over
Melbourne isn't just famous for cocktails, it is also the coffee capital of the southern hemisphere (despite what the Kiwis might tell you). We therefore felt it essential to present not only the Melbourne stalwart Espresso Martini, but also an evolutionary expression of the new waves of coffee that continually sweep our bustling back alley barista haunts. Starring Belvedere Vodka and single estate coffee, and served icy cold with hints of white and dark chocolate, our Vodka Pour Over is about as modern Melbourne as milk crated on cobble stones, skinny black jeans and food trucks.
The Lui Martini
Since its creation some time before 1880, the Martini has owned the position of the world's greatest cocktail. It has evolved seamlessly from its vermouth heavy origin, to the 1950s triple Martini lunch, through the pure spirit extravagance of the 1990s, and today the true King of Cocktails can be enjoyed as the perfect blend of origin, and evolution. Less vermouth than the Victorian Era, but more than Frank Moorhouse enjoyed, stirred with chunks of purified, hand cut ice, in a frozen martini jug, and served in a frozen martini glass with the Lui Martini condiment array. Choose you garnish, and play with drops and mists of vermouth and bitters to perfectly match your chosen spirit, and rediscover why the Martini will always be the King of Cocktails, and the Lui Martini the King of Martinis.
A stalwart of the roaring Twenties, The Cognac Stinger was one of the few cocktails that was illegally served throughout US prohibition. A perfectly peculiar mix of white creme de menthe and fine cognac, shaken and served straight up, it's a strangely compelling yet baffling combination of flavours. Inspired by the humble Koala, we've managed to go one better, adding white chocolate liqueur and eucalyptus tincture to this accidental hero to create an icy cold, straight up Stinger like no other.
Velvet Rotor Macadamia Martini
One of the joys of modern Melbourne, is the ease with which we embrace new ideas, flavours, and theories. Occasionally we have the chance to taste a cocktail that brings together these new ideas and technologies with a quintessential Australian native flavour. We begin with fresh Australian Macadamia nuts that we heat, then fat wash with Belvedere Vodka. We then employ the magnificent Rotary Vacuum Evaporator to purify a clear macadamia tincture. This velvety spirit is mixed with sugar cane reduction, and vermouth, then served well chilled with vaporised butter, and smashed macadamia praline on the side.
Nothing screams kitsch tropical holiday like a Pina Colada. Created in Puerto Rico with coconut cream and pineapple, this cocktail has spread the world, consumed wherever the English gather to get sunburnt. Despite its sometimes comic reputation, and pop song baggage, the combination of coconut, fine rum, and pineapple remains one of the greatest flavour matches in cocktail culture. So how can we improve it? We toast whole pineapples with black pepper corns, then puree them with a mixture of coconut milk and malt sugar, served well chilled with a massive measure of Bacardi Superior Rum. From the last high tide of a tropical beach we evolved those classic flavours to present a rich, warming memory of summer past to soften the bitter wind of a Melbourne Winter.
Sparkling & Champagne
NV Chandon Brut Yarra Valley, Victoria
NV De Souza Brut Tradition Avize, Champagne AOC, France
2003 Dom Pérignon Épernay, Champagne AOC, France
2012 Huai Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand
2009 Xanadu Chardonnay Margaret River, Western Australia
2011 Girlan Pinot Blanco Alto Adige, Italy
2012 Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley, South Australia
2011 Ten Minutes by Tractor Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
2010 Miette Mataro Barossa Valley, South Australia
2009 Fire Gully Cabernet Merlot Margaret River, Western Australia