Where to Drink Bottled and Barrel-Aged Cocktails in Melbourne
In Melbourne, bartenders are taking one of mixology’s latest trends to new heights: cocktails that have been bottled or aged—sometimes both. Though the quest for convenience sparked the craze, it turns out premade drinks have their own special character. “You can achieve an amalgamation of flavors not possible through shaking or stirring,” says Daniel Mason, manager of Joe Taylor. Here, five standard-bearers of the batch-cocktail revolution—all within bar-crawl distance.
At its launch party, the bar staff mixed and bottled Palomas, a tequila-grapefruit highball, ahead of time for easy serving. The cocktail was a hit, and since then they’ve tacked on new batch drinks like the Cuba Negra: a blend of vermouths replicates cola, then the blend is carbonated, bottled, and served with fresh lime. fb.com/joetaylorbar.
This intimate bar offers a single aged cocktail, the aptly named From the Solera: Aberfeldy whisky, rum, house-blended vermouth, and a chocolate malted orgeat. It’s created in a tiered, three-barrel solera, a centuries-old aging system used by Spanish sherry makers. As the mixture is bottled from the lowest barrel, each level is topped off from the one above, making the final drink a complex blend of batches old and new. boilermakerhouse.com.au.
Founder Michael Madrusan—the man behind the award-winning bar Everleigh—cemented his reputation as one of Melbourne’s mixology elite when he launched the Everleigh Bottling Co. last year. At this divey, neon-lit pub, EBC’s “Famous Four”—Manhattan, martini, negroni, and Old-Fashioned— make up the entire cocktail menu. heartbreakerbar.com.au.
Countertop casks announce the serious aging intentions of this drinking den. Its extensive list includes a page of barrel- and bottle-aged specialties, all of which are left to steep for at least two months to let the flavors develop. Try the Spencer Takes Manhattan, a blend of bourbon, vermouth, and blackberry liqueur aged in a black-raspberry-and-coffee-seasoned barrel. thenobleexperiment.com.au.
Co-owner Michael Bascetta prepares four different cocktails daily, decanting them into apothecary bottles for service. The list changes regularly, but the Briny Bay (vodka, olive brine, Murray River salt, and bay-leaf oil) is a must-try when it’s on the menu. It’s a stylish, martini-inspired tipple to finish off an evening. barliberty.com.