If you’re a ginthusiast, here’s something that will put you in good spirits: the renovated five-star InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay has opened a lavish gin palace, where over 60 local and imported, rare and vintage gins can be sampled.
The Stillery bar occupies the first floor of the newly refurbished hotel, where gold literally drips from the ceiling by way of a 160 kilogram chandelier on the stairwell. A stunning 7 metre-long, Italianate marble-clad bar takes pride of place in this light and ambient, contemporary-styled room, and everything has been designed with your comfort in mind.
Each of the 20 cocktails on the menu feature a different gin paired with botanical ingredients that complement. Combinations such as blackberry and thyme, pink grapefruit and sage, or strawberry, basil oil and lemon create refreshing and well-balanced medleys. Alternatively, you can sample your way through the gins straight.
The menu comes with comprehensive tasting notes, so if you prefer your gin with notes of cardamom and sarsaparilla, try the Aviation ($11), or for more saffron, tangerine and honey characteristics, best to go with the Boudier Saffron Gin ($13). While ordering a gin and tonic may seem like the easy way out, you’ll need to decide between 63 gins and 12 tonic waters, making 756 possible combinations, or maybe just ask the bar manager Aaron Gaulke for his recommendations.
When reviewing the bar food menu, don’t be deterred by the grilled marrow bones ($14); there’s no sucking or gnawing required. Served with fingers of crostini, salsa verde and truffle salt, garnished with micro leaves and edible flowers, it’s both utterly delicious and entirely civilised. Other menu highlights include a ham bar where you can snack on acorn-fed iberico jamon ($21 per 100g) served with pickles, Pepe Saya butter and bread, or splash out for the dry meat board ($28) which beefs up your selection to include cacciatorini salami, Wagyu bresaola and San Daniele prosciutto served with tapenade, grissini and focaccia.
If you end up sampling too many of those 63 gins, or over-indulgence has made you sleepy, never mind – just book the $5,000 Royal Suite for the night.