GIN JOINT - THE NOBLE EXPERIMENT, COLLINGWOOD

The Noble Experiment - 283 Smith St Collingwood

This three-year-old multi-level, innovative, 20’s inspired cocktail bar is situated right on the boundary of where Collingwood and Fitzroy collide. The Noble Experiment (TNE) is truly a bar for the adventurous, fun loving cocktail drinkers of Melbourne.

The bar is split into three distinctively different areas over three level. The downstairs being the main cocktail bar and restaurant area of establishment, low lit with exposed brick walls, booths and tables. While the upstairs semi-mezzanine like bar area has more of a classic speak-easy vibe to it, with large decorative lounge chairs and plush sofas and the lower level bar serving as a function area.

The exciting menu is forever changing and being replaced every 3 to 4 months with cocktails that are even more inventive and outlandish then the last (3 pages of the exciting menu from when I visited, for your eyeballs to view in the carousel below). I was first learnt about this establishment, when a friend of mine described this incredible gin and tonic she encountered one night that was served in a miniature bathtub, rubber-ducky and all. The novelty sparked my interest and so of course had to go try the place out for myself, and I was not disappointed.

Onto The Questions…

House gin: Beefeater

Most Popular Australian gin: Uniquely enough, The Noble Experiment only stocks one Australian gin, which is Thirty-Six Short Gin from South Australia (Which oddly enough, I had never tried before and am pleased I now have as it is a blood orange and juniper extravaganza).

Busiest night of the week: Thursdays through Saturdays

Least busy night of the week: Sundays through Wednesdays

Most popular gin cocktail(s): The classic Negroni, and their Bathtub Gin (which are coincidently their most popular cocktails in general)

If you could make your own gin what flavour profile would it have: Lemon thyme, three different types of orange (blood orange, Valencia, and navel oranges), grapefruit, two different types of lemons (Essentially a citrus explosion).

Buck Friend from The Noble Experiment 

Buck Friend from The Noble Experiment 

Now the star of the show, The Cocktails:

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Of course I had to start with a Negroni (as always), but this one was a little bit different.  The Noble Experiment uses their own house made vermouth blend which they mix with Beefeater gin and Campari and allow to age in barrels right there in the bar for anywhere between 6 to 8 months (season and weather dependant) taste testing each week until they get it just right. Served in individually chilled brown medicine bottles and a large square of TNE embossed clear ice and a twist of orange. Apart from feeling like I was in Alice in Wonderland with the little Negroni bottle reminding me of the ‘drink-me’ bottle and being amazed by just how slowly clear ice melts, the Negroni itself was everything I wanted it to be. It was sticky, sweet, bitter and citrus all at once and all at the right proportions, while still being able to taste those delicate herbal notes hidden within the vermouth. I have to say this is probably on of the best Negronis I have had in Melbourne so far, I don’t know if it was the house vermouth, the barrel aging or the clear ice that made it so special, but whatever it was, it was delightful. I would rate this Negroni an 8/10 because of how well balanced it was as a drink, that no one element of the cocktail overpowered the other.

 

The Martini was a delightful fresh citrus experience. Made with 36 Short blood orange gin, vermouth, orange bitters and a twist of orange, I can only really describe it as amazingly orangey (which sounds like a poor attempt of a description, but truly it was very orangey, in a good way of course). It was incredibly fragrant with vibrant citrus notes, crisp and delicate. I toughly enjoyed this martini, and would highly recommend it to all citrus and orange loving martini fans, it was great. All in all, I would rate it a 7/10 for having a strong dry citrus theme while still being well balanced and refreshing.

 

Seeing as I was recommended to try TNE because of the bath tub gin, it only seemed fair that I gave it a go. So the bath tub gin is literally a miniature bathtub (complete with rubber ducky and all) full of this fruity frothy concoction of beefeater, Lillet rose, lemon juice, cranberry bitters, lemonesque syrup and what is described on the cocktail menu as ‘grapefruit and rhubarb air’ (which is the frothy bubbles of the bathtub). The novelty of drinking a fresh fruity cocktail from a bathtub does not wear off, it is a lot of fun and tastes great, sweet and sour fruit flavours combine really well together. This is a drink for anyone looking for a bit of fun!

One last thing about TNE. While I did not try any G&Ts while I was there I have to say they looked incredible, each of their selected gins is uniquely paired with garnishes and tonic water to specifically to complement the character of the gin itself, before being exposed to liquid nitrogen pouring over the top lifting all those beautiful botanical volatiles right to your nostrils. Again, I didn’t try any of these but they looked out of this world, I will definitely be going back again to give some of these a go!!   

The Noble Experiment is a bar that prides it self on being innovative pioneers of Melbourne’s cocktail bar scene and it truly is that, fantastically weird and wonderful drinks that both look incredible and will be sure to entertain but also taste delicious.

Highly recommend this bar to anyone in the area looking for something a bit exciting and different, but don’t worry all the classic cocktail lovers out there you will like it too, as these guys have an incredible understanding of the art and history of all your classic favourites, so be sure to give it a go.

GIN JOINT - BLACK PEARL, FITZROY

I walked off of bustling Brunswick street on a rather ordinary Thursday night into Black Pearl Bar and found myself transported to a world of classic unadulterated elegance. An Establishment of 15 years standing is firmly established as a true classic on the Melbourne Cocktail scene.

(*note* it is in no way Jack Sparrow or Pirate themed... just a heads up!)

The Age old Questions:

House Gin? Tanqueray

Most Popular Australian Gin? Four Pillars and West Winds, and there is an ever growing demand for quality Australian Gin

Busiest Night of The Week? Every night except Thursdays 

Most Popular Gin Cocktails? Would be a toss up between a Gimlet, Negroni and a Copo de Vida

If you could make your own gin, what style/flavour profile would it have? A London Dry Gin that is diverse and useable in as many different drinks as possible.

The Typical Patrons of The Establishment? We are your typical neighbourhood bar with the usual suspects from roughly 25 to 45 years old, who just happen to appreciate creative cocktails.

Mathew from Black Pearl

Mathew from Black Pearl

 

GIN-TAILS, GIN-TAILS, GIN-TAILS!!!

As per usual I ordered my fav, the  Negroni and was graciously directed by the very kind bartender, Mathew, to try a different cocktail along the same lines as a Negroni only a little bit more… French?? A marvelous drink known as a Lucien Gaudin, (which conveniently for me came with a brief history lesson of famous French Olympic fencers.) The Lucien Gaudin consists of: Tanquery gin, Campari, Dry Vermouth and the French contribution from a little Cointreau with a twist of orange. I was very pleasantly surprised, the cocktail had an incredibly citrus orange smell, with the Campari’s sticky bitterness balancing out the orangey sweetness from the Cointreau and the dry vermouth allowing the strong dry notes of the Tanquary to sing throughout. Overall I found this take on the classic  Negroni notable for the stronger and more fresh orange citrus kick to it. If you like oranges, and gin, I would recommend you this cocktail, it is well balanced and an absolute treat to drink. I would rate this variation of the “Negroni” as a 7.5/10 for being a bit different and delightfully refreshing.

Onto the Martini. A category of cocktails that are slowly becoming my favorite (sorry Negroni… I am moving on … it’s not me, it’s you!…). I am in love with the dramatic diversity you find between each one you drink, and how there are so many variations and martini possibilities out there, I am just fizzing with excitement to try them all (… on separate occasions of course….)

 Once again the  gin enthusiast barman Mathew put forward his recommendation, a Tuxedo no.2 (not one I had never had before so, it was kind of a big moment guys).

The Tuxedo no 2 consists of: Plymouth dry gin, dry vermouth, a dash of absinthe, a dash of orange bitters, and Luxardo Maraschino stirred with ice and no garnish (shock horror, a martini without garnish). My expertly stirred Tux no 2 was delicate, dry and floral, and nothing like the standard dry martini you might be use to. It had pungent aniseed note from that really tiny dash of absinthe that although powerful did not totally overpower the crisp dry finish from the Plymouth, which were elegantly complimented by the sweet cherry flavours from the Luxardo. There isn’t much else to say about this martini, other then it is another classic cocktail worth trying if you are a bit of an adventurous martini lover. I would rate this martini as a 6/10 purely because while absinthe is fun and great and all, however I personally find it masks some of those punchy juniper notes that I look for in a Plymouth dry martini.

As is my modus operandi, I conveniently had a wee gin-thusiastic buddy with me (she’s a bit of a newby to the whole gin cocktail scene so I am introducing her to this caper one baby step at a time) who was eager to get her gin drink on!! She chose the Copo de Vida (cup of life for all us non-portuguese speakers out there) and let me have a sip or two.

The Copo de Vida, being one of Black Pearl’s most popular gin cocktails consists of: Tanqueray gin, lime juice, kiwi, yuzo, truffle and egg white, shaken with ice and served in a tall cold glass with a pegged lime leaf.

This cocktail was fresh and fruity and outrageously easy to drink. One of the best demonstrations of how classic dry gins can be used in fruity shaken drinks that aren’t citrus dominated. I really enjoyed tasting this cocktail and believe that it was a good choice for my gin-tail novice friend, as it was light and easy enough to drink while still having the juniper hit of the gin coming through.

Of the three cocktails I tried at Black Pearl bar in Fitzroy I would have to say my favourite of them all would have to be the French Negroni, even though I am on a bit of a Martini craze lately. Thanks to bartender Mathew and Lucien Gaudin for introducing me to a very fresh orange tasting Negroni style drink, it is the freshness of the Negroni that gave it the extra winning points over the Martini this time.

I absolutely loved my evening at Black Pearl, it is exactly what you expect a cocktail bar to be,  low lit and table service from incredibly knowledgeable and talented barmen. I would recommended Black Pearl to anyone, if you are not a local already it is really worth the trip. I am sure you will have a great time there!

GIN JOINT - MAEVE FOX

MAEVE FOX – 472 CHURCH ST, CREMORNE

Maeve Fox early on a Wednesday

Maeve Fox early on a Wednesday

This bright and airy cocktail bar of exposed brick walls, high ceilings and the odd stag head looking down at the patrons is situated directly next to the East Richmond train station. Maeve Fox has been around for 7 years and is still a busy local cocktail bar in the Cremorne/East Richmond area.

Sitting at what is possibly the tallest bars I have ever sat at in my life (a mild health hazard for shorties like me) on a spring evening sipping on a few cocktails with a mate while chatting to the bartender about gin, made a perfect end to my Wednesday.

Zoe at Maeve Fox

Zoe at Maeve Fox

Let's move onto the Questions:

House gin: Beefeater

Most Popular Gin cocktail: Either a Negroni or a Charlie Chaplin (description below)

Most Popular Australian Gin: Four Pillars or West Winds

Busiest nights of the week: Fridays and Sundays, (they have a half price menu on Sundays)

Least busy night of the week: Wednesday

The usual sort of people who frequent the bar: somewhere between over twenties and middle aged customers. Also quite a lot of first dates.

On to the Gin-tails…

I started with the simple and understated Negroni. The Negroni I had at Maeve Fox was made up of: Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth and Campari (of course) in a short glass with a large triangular ice cube and a twist of orange to garnish. This Negroni packed a delightfully citrus punch, both with the orange and Campari but also with Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin which is packed full of fresh oranges and lemon myrtle which really elevate the citrus notes of the humble Negroni to another level. Not to mention the array of botanicals hiding in Maidenii sweet vermouth. This Negroni, with all its intense citrus flavours, earned itself a decent 6/10 on my scoring scale. Quality Australian ingredients producing an orange farmers dream in a cocktail. 

Next I moved on to The Martini. The Martini was comprised of: Four Pillars rare dry gin and Maidenii dry Vermouth garnished with a twist of orange putting an Australian spin on the classic. The martini was crisp and bursting with citrus and spice, creating quite a beautiful cocktail for the calm spring evening. I would rate this Martini a 5/10 for the reason that although it was smooth and refreshing and a cocktail that I would happily drink again, it wasn’t blow your socks off spectacular, giving this solid cocktail a solid score. 

Fortunately, I went on this little cocktail bar outing with a gin loving mate who challenged the bartender with the onerous task of making two different gin cocktails that are citrusy and not very sweet. I believe the bartender Zoe did a great job and rose to the occasion producing a South Side and a Charlie Chaplin.

For anyone who has not had a South side before, it is very similar to an Eastside but without the cucumber (and maybe a few other things as well?); and for those who have no idea what I am talking about (don’t worry I got confused by all of this too) here is what is in the Maeve Fox South Side: Beefeater gin shaken with lime juice, mint and sugar garnished with a beautiful fresh mint leaf. It is an incredibly refreshing summer cocktail, that will easily tempt the tastebuds of any citrus loving gin enthusiasts out there!

Their Charlie Chaplin comprises of Hayman’s Sloe gin, apricot Brandy and lime juice. Being totally honest with you here, sloe gin is by far my least favourite style of gin, and it usually takes a lot of convincing to even give it a go (I know, I’m a disgrace and shouldn’t even call myself a gin lover). I was ridiculously surprised by this cocktail, it tasted incredible and was very easy to sip away at. It was sweeter then the South side except the fresh flavours from the apricot brandy and the fresh lime juice cut through the sweetness of the sloe perfectly creating a simple tart and fruity cocktail that went down a treat. If you aren’t the world’s biggest fan of sloe gins (like myself) I highly suggest you give this combination a try, and if you are Sloe obsessed then this cocktail really is a no brainer.  

Of all the cocktails I tried at Maeve Fox my favourite would probably have to be the Charlie Chaplin for surprising me with a delicious use of a sloe gin. 

Maeve Fox is wonderful cocktail bar to visit on your way home from work, really close to East Richmond Station on Church Street and their renditions of classic gin cocktails are delightful and refreshing at the end of a long day. I would say Maeve Fox in Cremorne is indeed worth a visit if you haven’t already.

GIN JOINT - THE LAST WORD SALOON - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

THE LAST WORD SALOON - 44 ST STEPHENS ST, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

So a wee while ago I was fortunate enough to be in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the fringe festival, which was truely amazing! And upon meeting some wonderfull in the know people, I was introduced to this real gem of an establishment - The Last Word Saloon, in the heart of the city.

What can I tell you about this place.... It is pretty special. This almost subterranean speak-easy cocktail bar, which created an inviting and intriguing vibe with it's unusual match of eclectic and minimalist decor. The walls were covered in stag antlers and wild boar heads, which added a touch of wilderness to the inner city venue. The bar was surrounded by a kaleidoscopic wall of mirrors of all different shapes and sizes, reflecting the light every which way against the darkly painted wall. The background music playlist was perfect for long summer evenings catching up with friends for a few drinks, consisting of the beautiful voices of Stevie Nicks and Co. To top it all off, there was one clever little feature of this basement venue I will never forget, which was the comedy stand-up show snippets, which were playing in the bathrooms.  

The Cocktail menu is pretty exciting too. They serve the classic and their namesake: "The Last Word" like I have never seen it made before. In a small martini glass you are served: redistilled green chartreuse (which is clear), gin and maraschino, with a green effervescent style tablet on the side (imagine a berocca, only green, and about to be fizzing away at the bottom of your cocktail glass) that contains all the sugar and the colour that was removed from the chartreuse during the re-distillation process. The concept is to drop this green tablet into the clear spirits in the cocktail glass, turning the drink green. It's pretty amazing, and a really fun drink to try.

Six Cylinder Cocktail - Married in Steel - The Last Word Saloon, Edinburgh, Scotland

Six Cylinder Cocktail - Married in Steel - The Last Word Saloon, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Being with a rather large contingent of friends out for a pre-dinner drink, I only managed to sample one Gin Cocktail here, and ran out of time to have a chat to the bartenders and ask them all my exciting questions (I do apologise team)

The Six Cylinder Cocktail, Married in Steel caught my eye, as it appeared on paper to be very similar in ingredients to a Negroni, containing: Bombay Sapphire Gin, Martini Rosso, Martini Dry, Campari, Cherry Heering, Dubonnet and *Secret Formula* (absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounded exciting and I was dead keen to give it a go). Cylinder canister photograph on the left.

As the name "six cylinder, married in steel" suggests, the drink was served in a small metal cylinder along with a glass containing a large ice block with a twist of orange. The cocktail had the gorgeous red colour that you would expect from the Campari, and smelt very strongly of sweet orange. The initial taste was all sticky and bitter as you expect from a good Negroni, however it was far sweeter than I expected and the undeniable yet subtle cherry flavours from the Cherry Heering were certainly present. The Six Cylinder Cocktail is an innovative concept that will definitely go down in my book as one of the most interesting cocktails I have ever been served. 

All in all, The Last Word Saloon is one of those bars where if I were ever back in this great Scottish city again I would visit in a heart beat. I highly recommend this Gin Joint to any one visiting Edinburgh. 

Keep being responsible team!    

GIN JOINT - THE UGLY DUCKLING

THE UGLY DUCKLING - 238 SAWN ST, RICHMOND, MELBOURNE

Inside the Ugly Duckling 

Inside the Ugly Duckling 

I love the name of this place, very cool being on Swan St and everything, I dig it. This slick, elegant cocktail bar only opened in September 2015, so really is still in the duckling phase of it's existence, but becoming increasingly more popular. 

Situated in a restaurant rich part of Richmond, it acts as a bit of a waiting room for the restaurants around them, offering before dinner drinks to people waiting for their table. Later in the night The Ugly Duckling is a true cocktail bar, offering a wide variety of what are really cutting edge cocktail innovations. They have rosemary smoke infused bourbons, which they smoke fresh right there at the bar in front of you, it was pretty amazing. As well as a Pavlova Fizz, an egg white shaken cocktail that is sprinkled with sugar and blow torched, creating a real meringue top to this truely Australian drink. 

Their aesthetic is very fashionable at the moment, black marble bar top, elegant furniture, indoor plants, it's a pretty stunning table service cocktail bar.

Nick and Anitha, the bartenders there were really helpful answering my questions and talking to me about about this new cocktail bar and all it has to offer.

Nick and Anitha at The Ugly Duckling

Nick and Anitha at The Ugly Duckling

All the questions you want answers to..

House gin : Tanqueray (because it is a solid base gin that works really well in many different styles of cocktail)

Most popular Australian gin: Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (I am noticing a trend here...)

Most popular gin drink: would be a tie between a Pavlova Fizz and a Black Negroni

Most popular drink in general: all the cocktails are very popular, their cocktail list is seasonal and altered every six months.

Busiest days of the week: Friday & Saturday 

Least busy days of the week: Monday (as most of the restaurants around them are not open on Mondays)

If they could make their own gin What would it taste like/what botanicals would they use: very difficult question to answer, it would totally depend on what was available and what style of gin they would be going for.

Usual crowd that congregate at this establishment: probably 20-35 year range, and of that about 80% female, which is very interesting.

GIN COCKTAIL TIME! (Yay!)

I started with the infamous Black Negroni ... This is a very innovative and completely different type of negroni (it may be the most unusual and interesting one I may ever taste!) It is comprised of: Charcoal and Lemon Myrtle infused Tanqueray gin, Averna (an Amaro), and La Quintinye vermouth, loads of ice and a big wedge of grapefruit. Now this was a truely original master piece, and I really liked it, however I wanted to like it far more then I actually did... You see, I am a serious Campari fan, I should be the spokes person for Campari I love it so much, I have converted many Campari haters into Campari lovers through the shear power of persuasion. This negroni (as you may have noticed) uses an Amaro instead of Campari, which of course are very similar in the sense that they are both bitter and sweet and beautiful to drink on their own. I just felt sad that there was no Campari (felt like I was cheating on Campari a little, with this dark mysterious stranger). All in all, (once I got over the lack of Campari) it was a delicious and amazing drink, and I highly recommend it to any and all negroni fans, and I would be very interested to hear what other people think of this original innovation of The Ugly Ducklings, what are your thoughts?. I would rate this a 7/10 for being truely original, even without the Campari!  

Luckily enough I had a lovely friend with me, helping me out with the cocktail tastings. She ordered The Last Word, which is comprised of : Tanqueray gin, green chartreuse, Luxador maraschino and fresh lime juice, shaken and garnished with a candied cherry. I had a taste and it was beautiful, a bit sweet, a little spicy (not hot spicy, more like full aromatic kind of spicy) and the lime juice topped it off. I would recommend this to the gin cocktail lover who isn't too sure what drink they want to start with, it pretty much covers all bases (unless you are looking for something savoury... it really isn't that) solid good gin cocktail.

Lastly I had a The Captain's Mistress Martini, which was stunning. West Winds Broadside (navy strength), Lillet blanc, camomile bitters and a drop of absinthe, with a beautiful grapefruit twist.  This quite potent martini, tasted anything but. It was subtle and smooth with a bit of citrus, some solid botanicals coming through from the Broadside gin which lend a hint of saltiness. Honestly a wonderful martini, far more delicate and subtle then a lot of martinis, I really enjoyed it. I would rate this an 8.5/10, really great, and would recommend this to all West Winds fans and martini lovers alike, it is possibly one of my favourite martinis by far.

This place is beautiful and fantastic, serving exceptionally creative cocktails, I recommend this to everyone over the age of 18, it's astounding. Favourite cocktail I tried on the night by far would be The Captain's Mistress Martini, it's pretty special. So be sure to check this one out folks!

Stay happy and drink responsibly lovely humans.

GIN JOINT - THE COLLECTION BAR

THE COLLECTION BAR - 328 BRIDGE RD, RICHMOND, MELBOURNE

Inside The Collection Bar 

Inside The Collection Bar 

I arrived at The Collection Bar promptly as they opened at 4pm, and sat down at the bar. I had a lovely chat to Aliana, one of the bartenders. Admittedly,  I had never been to The Collection Bar before, but had heard a lot about it, and thought it was about time I gave it a go. 

This classic cocktail bar, had a projector playing Charlie Chaplin's The Dictator on one side of the room, a wall covered in an old black and white comic book wallpaper on the other side and a wild pigs head above the bar. Bit of an eclectic mix, but it mysteriously works really well, giving it a great 'come as you are' vibe, I'm a fan! 

So, this establishment has been a bar for almost 15 years and a cocktail bar for the last 6 of those, and is still going strong, so be sure to check it out sometime. They have house infused spirits, like their cucumber infused beefeater gin, which tastes really good!

Aliana at The Collection Bar

Aliana at The Collection Bar

So onto the important stuff... GIN!

House gin : Beefeater

Most popular Australian gin: Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

Most popular gin drink: is a Cucumber Gimlet (which is also their most popular happy hour drink in general) and is comprised of: cucumber infused Beefeater gin, elderflower cordial, orange bitters and sparkling wine.

Most popular drink in general: its a tie between a Dr Gonzo (Kaffir lime infused tequila, lime juice, passion fruit, vanilla liqueur, raw sugar and egg white with a dried ginger rim) and a The Farmer's Daughter (yellow chartreuse, strawberry, lemon juice and raw sugar)

Busiest days of the week: Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Least busy days of the week: Tuesday

If they could make their own gin What would it taste like/what botanicals would they use: Loads of grapefruit and very citrusy (Aliana is a big grapefruit fan, as you may notice all my garnishes - except the gimlet - were grapefruit peel... and I'm not complaining!)

Usual crowd that congregate at this establishment: the more mature drinkers, usually 25 + years

and now the gin cocktails I tried...

I started with the most popular gin drink, the Cucumber Gimlet (ingredients listed above). It was incredibly cucumbery, and super refreshing, and scarily easy to drink, was crazy! Really beautiful, highly recommend this to gin lovers who are missing the sunshine right now, and also like cucumber (if you don't like cucumber, I probably wouldn't recommend this to you... much cucumber, all the cucumber...so good!) 

Next was a West Winds Barrel Edition Negroni! OH DEAR LORDY ME! I had not tried the West Winds Barrel Edition Gin, aged in Maidenii sweet vermouth barrels, and I managed to sample it on it's own first before having it in a negroni, and it was soooo nice! Such a great sipping gin, for those moments when you don't feel like a full on cocktail. In this negroni, it was really something special made with: West Winds Barrel Edition Gin, Campari, Antica Formula, a few big ice blocks and a twist of grapefruit. You could instantly smell the grapefruit when getting close to the glass, it was a beautiful fresh tasting with a sweeter note than your average negroni, and everything just worked really well together. I would rate this one an 8/10 for being a bit different but sticking to the classic formula of what a negroni should be. (no idea why the font suddenly changed on me...)

Next up, The Botanist Martini. So I have been branching out lately and really mixing it up with the martinis and this one certainly does that. This Martini is comprised of: The Bontanist Gin, Maidenii dry vermouth, and a twist of grapefruit. It was savoury, rich and full of all those great herbaceous flavours the botanist is famous for, along with the grapefruit garnish which gave it a serious citrus kick. It was quite different and surprisingly refreshing, I thoroughly enjoyed every sip of it. This martini scores a 7/10 on my rating scale, good for lovers of a more savoury flavour and a dryer citrus finish. It really works. 

My favourite of the 3 gin cocktails I tried would have to be the negroni. It was different but classic and really delicious. Another bar that I would recommend to every gin and cocktail lovers. Its quirky and fun and they have quite an interesting cocktail menu. They have a really good range of Whiskies, (if you have a secret passion for whisky that you're not telling me about... its ok, I am partial to a good whisky too), it's fun and different and definitely worth a try if you are ever in richmond! 

Stay responsible with your drinking friends!

 

GIN JOINT - BAR NONE

BAR NONE -  72 AUBURN PDE, CAMBERWELL, MELBOURNE

 

Inside Bar None, Camberwell

Inside Bar None, Camberwell

So this establishment has been around for 12 years and is one of the only cocktail bars in the Eastern Suburbs (if you exclude Richmond) and if you live out that way and in the Eastern Suburbs and haven't checked it out yet, I would suggest that you do.

The first time I went to Bar None, it was just one of those days you know, where I felt like I was no where near cool enough to go anywhere that was remotely cool, in my t-shirt and jeans I looked like I had been slapped in the face with a wet bus ticket when I walked in the joint. 

I went with some mates to their regular haunt. We entered via a staircase through what most would call a hole in the wall doorway. To be surprised by a really cool dimly lit cocktail lounge. We were seated on some couches that were in front of a projector screen playing "To Kill a Mockingbird", and we were handed what I can only describe as MASSIVE black paper back novels. That was the cocktail list. A paperback novel as a cocktail list, that's crazy right? Soooo many cocktails to choose from I had no idea where to begin. Thankfully, one of the bartenders came over and helped me out with a few recommendations, of some of their most popular gin cocktails. I found it such an interesting place that I made sure it was one of the first cocktails to visit on my Gin Joint adventure.

This time around....I had a really good chat with some of the most laid back, and friendly bar staff I have ever met, that were super helpful in answering all my ridiculous questions on what is one of their busiest nights of the week. 

Left to Right: Emma, Tara & Zack from Bar None, Camberwell

Left to Right: Emma, Tara & Zack from Bar None, Camberwell

So onto Gin... 

House gin : Beefeater 24 (I always want to call it beefeater 42 I don't know why, maybe because 42 is the answer to the universe and everything...)

Most popular Australian gin: Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

Most popular gin drink (is very dependant on who is manning the floor and taking orders): Corpse Reviver No. 2 - which is: equal parts gin, triple sec, lemon juice, lillet blanc, and a drop of absinthe - shaken like crazy and served with a twist of lemon 

Most popular drink in general: this was a busy night and as I asked a question while they were all running around, I beleive the answer was an espresso martini

Busiest days of the week: Friday & Saturday

Least busy days of the week: Tuesday

If they could make their own gin What would it taste like/what botanicals would they use: Coriander heavy and lemon myrtle rich gin and a bit herbaceous 

Usual crowd that congregate at this establishment: "a real mixed bag of people", different people at different times of the night! 

Now onto the gin cocktails I had:

I started with a classic, a Negroni which was: Beefeater 24, Campari, Antica Formula vermouth, a massive ice block and a fat twist of orange. It was really good solid classic negroni. I would give it a decent 6.5/10 rating.

Next I asked for "another gin drink"  and received a Clover Club which was: Beefeater 24, raspberry cordial, grenadine, egg white and lemon juice. (I later learnt that this is their "go to" drink when someone comes in and asks for 'a pink drink'. It certainly was pink). Now as you will soon get to know that, sweet drinks aren't really my thing (apart from negronis, they are my weekness), but this was very pleasant for a sweet pink drink. I would recommend this drink to any gin lover with a tiny bit of sweet tooth, or people who like pink, it was very pink.

Next a MARTINI, of: Poor Toms Gin and Lillet garnished with what I can only describe as a "green apple fan" (I am not sure if that is the technical drinks term for it). It was really enjoyable. I have been slowly turned into a martini drinker instead of a negroni drinker and if every martini is this easy to drink, I'm going to be in trouble! I would give it an 8.5/10. 

And Lastly I couldn't leave without trying their most popular Gin-tail (see what I did there... Gin + Cocktail = Gin-Tail) a Corpse Reviver No. 2,(ingredients listed above). It was tasty, not what I was expecting, quite absinthey. I was expecting it to be more lemony. I would recommend this to any and all gin drinkers.

So the best on ground that night I had hands down was the martini. I would happily recommend it to any martini lover, or even just the martini liker to try a poor toms martini made this way, it was really good, one of those "that hit the spot" kind of drinks!

Again, I suggest this bar to everyone in the eastern suburbs, and even those in the non-eastern suburbs! 

Also don't forget to drink responsibly team!      

GIN JOINT - THE GIN PALACE

THE GIN PALACE - 10 Russell Pl, Melbourne City, MELBOURNE

SO...No better place to begin the hunt for the best Gin Joint in Melbourne then with The Gin Palace. Now I am probably the only Gin Enthusiast in Melbourne who had never been to the Gin Palace before, and dear lord is this a place that was hard to find. If I didn't have a friend with me who knew how to get there, I most definitely would have gotten lost. (note I haven't been living here long - maybe 3 months.. I lost track)

Down a surprisingly well lit little alley way, on one of the coldest winter nights I blindly followed my friends through the large golden doors, into what from the street looks incredibly unassuming. Just the two golden doors in a hole in the wall, a very dark black wall. We were taken down the rabbit hole and came out in, quite literally a gin palace, or possibly a more fitting name for it A Gin Wonderland. An incredibly plush, dimly lit, very fancy bar hidden away in the heart of Melbourne, and has stood strong as a pillar in the gin community for almost 19 years.  

Unfortunately I chose possibly the busiest Wednesday night in the history of Wednesday nights to try this fine establishment but I was there and one of the bartenders (Hugh, in the photo below) was incredibly accommodating and made me two top quality cocktails while very patiently answering all of my many, many questions.

Hugh from The Gin Palace

Hugh from The Gin Palace

There is, unsurprisingly, a enormous variety of gin to choose from, they will most likely have the gin you are looking for, and if not they will have something pretty similar, and maybe even better???  

Most popular Australian gins: Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Melbourne Gin Company

Busiest nights of the week: Fridays and Saturdays

Least busy nights of the week: Monday through to Wednesday (usually)

If they could create their own gin what would they want it to taste like/what botanicals would they use: Very juniper heavy, in a true London Dry style. Funnily enough they have recently done a collaboration with Four Pillars and created a Gin which will be out later this year, which is very exciting, I can't wait to have a taste of it.

Most popular gin cocktail: There was a really long list and I didn't quite catch them all, but amongst them there were the classic martini, negroni and G&T.

So on to the cocktail tastings.... 

I had two classics, made with Australian Gins, a negroni made with Hippocampus Gin, and a Martini made with KIS O'Gin. They were top notch, I have to say. (KIS = Kangaroo Island Spirits)

The martini, was garnished with olives and a sprig of thyme and was beautifully savoury (not salty or anything like that) and exactly what I asked for. A very smooth martini, with really great flavours all working together nicely. Kangaroo Island Spirits have done a really good job with their O'Gin. I would rate this martini a 7/10, it was really nice but not "AMAZING! I'll have four more of these thanks" kind of drink, you know? Which is probably for the best, if I couldn't find my way there with no drinks, with 4 martinis I definitely wouldn't be able to find my way home.

The negroni, was exactly what a negroni should be (being the gin palace I wasn't expecting anything less). Too often negronis are just a shouting match between Campari and gin, both competing for the spotlight, but this combination worked really well. A solid Australian negroni made with Hippocampus gin, Maidenii sweet vermouth (an Australian vermouth) and Campari (I know there is an Australian equivalent to Campari made by applewood distillery, and I am dying to try some in a negroni... maybe I will when I go to Bad Frankie in Fitzroy?). This negroni was sticky, bitter and a tiny bit sweet, so, so perfect! I would rate this negroni an 8.5/10 (It probably is a little higher but I haven't reviewed many places yet so this may change...watch this space)

Unfortunately the place was so busy, I simply forgot to photograph the cocktails, (I am so sorry, will you ever forgive me?) 

But Yes, this is a must try place for any gin drinker. Fantastic service and an astounding knowledge of all the gins they have to offer. All in all, wonderful very classy Gin Joint that I now plan to frequent far more often.