Step out to enjoy sophisticated cocktails, delicious food and behind-the-scenes tours at any one of these great urban distilleries.
By Allie Metz
In 2013 there were fewer than 50 registered distilleries in Australia. Today the number has reached nearly 140 – and it continues to grow. The trend is all about artisanal spirits thoughtfully created with Australian native ingredients. You'll find all your favourites, including gin, rum, vodka and whisky infused with everything from fruit and botanicals to seaweed. To make the experience even more enjoyable, these distilleries are beginning to pop up in urban areas with many of them offerring unique experiences in beautifully designed spaces. Here are just a few to discover around Sydney.
The first independent distilling company to operate in Sydney since 1853, Archie Rose has truly paved the way in the city’s craft spirit revival. Located in The Cannery Rosebery, stop in at the sophisticated bar to taste any of the award-winning gins, vodkas, rums and white whiskies. You can do a tasting flight or enjoy one of their handcrafted cocktails. Go behind the scenes for an in depth look at how it’s all done by booking in for a tour and guided tasting experience. If you’re feeling inspired and ready to try your hand at crafting your own blend of gin and whisky, they also offer blending classes. Archie Rose is open every day from noon.
Rum aficionados should head to Surry Hills to discover Bix Distillers. This gem is a fully operational distillery and ageing facility that currently offers a core range of Brix White, Gold and Spiced, with further styles in the works. Come in and discover the beautifully designed bar that integrates the open production of the distillery into the aesthetic. The bar’s shelves are also stocked with over 150 rums from around the world and the extensive cocktail list naturally features rum-based classics. Don’t miss the ‘rum trolley’ that roams the bar every night. On the hour a rum guru will come around offering samples and education on a selection of rums. Brix is open Tuesday through to Sunday from midday until late.
Head over the bridge to Manly to discover the perfect blend of carefree beach life and urban sophistication – in a bottle. At Manly Spirits Co. the team create Australian gins, botanical vodkas and whiskies that are inspired by the surrounding marine environment. Key ingredients include Baltic and green juniper as well as sea lettuce, kelp, lemon myrtle and wattle pollen. You can visit their tasting room and cocktail bar every Friday from 3-10pm, Saturday from 12-10pm or Sunday from 12-6pm for a tasting paddle or refreshing cocktail. Book in for a tour of the facilities to learn about the production or join them for a relaxing session of yoga and gin. After your yoga session and gin and tonic, stay a bit longer to enjoy healthy cocktails and tasty nibbles.
Nestled in a quiet street in Marrickville, this distillery is bucking the trend by creating unconventional spirits – and doing it in a neighbourhood known for its craft breweries. Stop in at Poor Toms Gin Hall to taste their original Sydney Dry Gin, the 52 per cent Fool Strength gin or the unique Strawberry Gin. Truly a boutique operation, these small batch specialties often sell out. You can visit the team for a taste or cocktail on Friday from 3pm-10pm or Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-10pm. Sundays often have the added benefit of an in-house DJ and sausage sizzle to liven things up.