You may have heard all bourbon is whisky, but not all whisky is bourbon, so when is a whisky a bourbon? First, it must be made in the USA; second, it must be made from at least 51% corn; third, it must be aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years; and fourth, nothing can be added to bourbon in the distilling process except water.
“America’s native spirit” has long been a staple of Melbourne’s bars and pubs. For all the stringency and craft that goes into its making, the spirit is all too often mixed with a bit of cola and ice. There’s nothing wrong with the old favourite, but if you’re after a more adventurous mix, here’s a list of five crave-worthy concoctions and the brave bars that serve them.
Named after the year the word ‘cocktail’ was first defined in print, 1806 is more than just a cocktail bar (and a very good one at that), it’s also a school! The team at 1806 don’t just create delicious concoctions they also run cocktail making classes and training courses.
Cocktail: Avenue – Makers Mark, Calvados, passionfruit, Grenadine and orange blossom water.
With more than 200 local and international beers and 70 pages of wine to choose from, you could be forgiven for ignoring Cookie’s cocktail list at this self-described “beer hall, eating house and disco”. But why would you with gems like this on the menu…
Cocktail: Feature Presentation – Bulleit Bourbon, dry chocolate spirit, soy milk, tartaric acid, egg white, popcorn syrup and a vanilla salt rim.
Lily Blacks is one of the city’s favourite cocktail destinations, this Art Deco jewel serves up some delightful mixes and a selection of aptly named “Picklebacks” – a shot of spirit and a house-made pickle juice chaser!
Cocktail: Louisiana Purchase – Peychaud’s bitters, bourbon, lemon and almond.
New Gold Mountain
The laneway secret New Gold Mountain (there’s no signage) gets its name from the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s. Chinese prospectors had nicknamed America “Gam Saan” or “Gold Mountain” and subsequently referred to Australia as the new gold mountain. If you’re digging around for a delicious tipple, stake your claim here.
Cocktail: Frontier Psychiatrist – Bulliet Bourbon, Fino Sherry, Casa Mariol Vermut Negre, Fernet Branca and Grenadine.
Belleville is a grand bohemian-esque venue overlooking the gates of Chinatown. You’ll find an ample selection of beer, wine and cocktails and a huge Brazilian rotisserie cooking their famous free-range barbecue chicken.
Cocktail: The Boulevardier – Bourbon, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth and Campari.
***Please drink responsibly***