THE COLLECTION BAR - 328 BRIDGE RD, RICHMOND, MELBOURNE
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!
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!