For a city with so many high-end bars, it seems odd that the Melbourne Cocktail Festival has only recently come onto the scene. But we’re glad he’s here, making a splash for the third time in April.
Whether you want to learn new tricks, discover a new watering hole, or just learn your Gibson with your Gimlet, this week-long celebration of drinks has you covered.
There are a few hot items you’ll want to book very soon. If making your own gin and designing your own cocktail are life goals, Little Lon Distillery is ready to make them. However, there are only eight seats in this class, so don’t take a nap (April 7, $95).
Take a deep dive on bitters with Michael Ryan, Head of Hatted Provenance and Founder of Beechworth Bitters Co. He’ll debunk any mystery surrounding this X-factor ingredient found in many cocktails on April 5 ($30). If whiskey is your thing, sample four cocktails from four different eras as you soak up The Douglas Club glamorous hotel lobby bar (April 9, $120).
The best restaurants are also getting in on the fun. New Archie Rose spirits will be pouring in at Liberty Bar on April 8, as beverage wizard Nick Tesar makes three cocktails to enjoy with three courses ($95). Aru celebrates a new Maidenii bitter, Roselle, by offering all diners the chance to try three Darren Leaney drink specials paired with three Aru snacks, including sanga sausage, throughout the festival (April 4-10).
Sunday sessions that make the most of the last few weeks of warm weather are also taking place. Get to naughty in Brunswick or CBD rooms Pomelo and Arbory afloat for DJs, lawn games and thirst quenchers from Four Pillars, Saint Felix and Home Grown (April 10 for all).
If pub hopping is more your style, the Safari Bar involves over 30 venues across the city, each serving a very special drink created especially for the Festival. Head to Aru for a glass of gin, vermouth, tangerine and Maidenii called Hard Bargain or trace your course around The Elysian, Juliet, Lui Bar and more.
Melbourne’s New Drinks Party, New crush, is making its debut this year and four of Melbourne’s top bartenders are making their debut. Catch Byrdi’s Luke Whearty and others as they mix Starward, Grainshaker and Four Pillars drinks at Splash’s Home Grown Bar, the event’s corner distiller on April 9 ($40).
Melbourne Cocktail Festival, April 4-10, melbournecocktailfestival.io