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FOOD & DRINK

Seven Bars Pouring Caribbean-Influenced Cocktails to Keep Those Summer Vibes Alive This Winter

Remain blissfully unaware that summer's over with this selection of tropical tipples.
By Cordelia Williamson
May 07, 2019
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Seven Bars Pouring Caribbean-Influenced Cocktails to Keep Those Summer Vibes Alive This Winter

Remain blissfully unaware that summer's over with this selection of tropical tipples.
By Cordelia Williamson
May 07, 2019
  shares

SEVEN BARS POURING CARIBBEAN-INFLUENCED COCKTAILS TO KEEP THOSE SUMMER VIBES ALIVE THIS WINTER

in partnership with

Remain blissfully unaware that summer's over with this selection of tropical tipples.

Winter's rolling in, but if you're not ready to let the warm days slip away just yet, a summery whisky cocktail could be your answer. Normally, the belly-warming properties of whisky call for a cosier setting. See: dimly lit bars, roaring fires, snuggle sessions. But this season, that's all changing.

Ardbeg, makers of one of the world's smokiest whiskies, is getting ready to release a summer carnival-inspired drop, Ardbeg Drum. This special blend has been created by taking the traditional Ardbeg drop from ex-bourbon casks and then resting it in rum casks, adding a uniquely Carribean note to the already complex favourite.

This limited-edition drop will be released in stores on Saturday, June 1, coinciding with the brand's annual party, known as Ardbeg Day. Yep, it seems that Ardbeg — and whisky fans — have a lot to celebrate. So, in the lead-up to this big day, Ardbeg has teamed up with a bunch of Sydney bars to keep the warm weather vibes going. Across the entire month of May, the bars will be slinging the salty, smoky tones of Ardbeg 10 Years Old in a selection of cocktails. From the zingy hit of tropical fruits to the richness of mole sauce, here are seven ways bars will infuse the spirit of Caribbean summer into their menus.

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    Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean you can’t sit by the seaside, sipping away to your heart’s content. It’s Sydney — it doesn’t get that cold. So, you may as well make the most out of our stunning coastline at any season. Dee Why’s Corretto is just a stone’s throw from the ocean and is braving the onset of winter with a new Ardbeg-based cocktail — Through the Fog — with a dash of Glenmorangie, Poire William, passionfruit syrup, lemon and mint. Reflecting its beachside location, Corretto is a bright, airy all-day eatery with a blue tiled bar, soft blue murals adorning the walls and floor-to-ceiling bi-fold windows that let in the ocean breeze. Nab a spot outdoors, order some tuna tacos, served with edamame hummus and sriracha aioli ($16), to enjoy with your cocktail and summer will be back before you know it.

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    Head to Lobo Plantation and you’ll find a little slice of Havana back in its lavish heyday. The large underground space boasts a deep red and green colour palette paired with recycled dark wood and floral furniture, and an after-work crowd that lets loose a little. Being Cuban-inspired, Lobo obviously has a staggering rum list but you can expect more than just your two-bit mojito here. The affable bartenders have a “leave your ego at the door” motto and mix up just about anything — including a special summery cocktail in honour Islay (the spiritual home of Ardbeg) and its nine-day festival of malt and music. The Feis Ile cocktail is a concoction of Ardbeg 10 Years Old, Oleo Saccharum, passionfruit, Lobo’s own stout vermouth, brown sugar and Hellfire bitters. It’s certain to warm the belly and put you in the celebratory spirit. 

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    This inner-city subterranean bar is a prime after-work hotspot. Tucked behind a tailor shop front, you’ll spot Stitch by the winding queue on York Street. Brave the wait and getting inside will be so much sweeter, particularly with the bar joining in on the Ardbeg smoky carnival with its cocktail — the Islay Five-O. Made with Ardbeg 10 Years Old, Gosling Black Seal rum, vanilla liqueur, bitters, pineapple and lemon juice, plus a splash of Don’s Mix (grapefruit, cinnamon and honey syrup), the Islay Five-O is garnished with a pineapple leaf, cherry and umbrella. It’s a colourful, tropical oasis in liquid form. This is also a great excuse to have one of Stitch’s signature hot dogs. There are some fancy dawgs here — like the Mack Ducky, made with duck, orange and foie gras ($18). 

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    You could mistake King Street for New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street at this broody hidden bar. It’s a grown-up spot with a NOLA edge and its impressive menu makes it a Newtown favourite. Cocktails are the game here — and there’s no sickly sweet Bourbon Street Hurricane in sight. The Earl’s Ardbeg special, The Smoky Mai Tai, proves this. A twist on the rum-based Polynesian-style classic, the cocktail mixes Ardbeg 10 Years Old with a house blend of four rums, curacao, lime, orgeat syrup and bitters. Whether it’s jazzy New Orleans you’re dreaming of or an island escapade, Earl’s will be the tropical escape you’re craving. Grab a spot so at the bar and while away winter.

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    Put on your best Hawaiian shirt, because the folks at Jacoby’s believe in summer all year round. Inspired by the tiki-obsessed psychiatrist Dr Lawrence Jacoby from cult TV series Twin Peaks, you’ll find diehard David Lynch fans rubbing shoulders with a fun-loving local crowd, sipping out of conch shells and coconuts. Decked out in banana leaf wallpaper, a rattan thatched ceiling and carved wooden Tiki figures, Jacoby’s embraces the extreme in its intimate, 60-seater rum haven. So, it’s no surprise that it’s jumping on the Ardbeg bandwagon. As the cool weather starts creeping in this month, the bar will be slinging up the Smoky Kahuna — a smoky-as-hell, fruity cocktail of coconut-washed Ardbeg 10 Years Old, banana, macadamia, yellow chartreuse and lemon.

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    Exuding a quiet elegance, Grain at Four Seasons in The Rocks is a sophisticated, sultry cocktail bar with no expense spared. It’s a modern version of what hotel bars in the movies stand for — think Lost in Translation sleek but with Australian charm. Plus, there are views of Circular Quay and a central fireplace for colder nights. If you’re looking to impress, this is the spot. To warm you through this May, Grain has created its own Caribbean-inspired whisky cocktail — the Smokolate. It’s a rich one, with Ardbeg 10 Years Old, Xocolatl mole bitters, dark vanilla syrup and Mr Black coffee liqueur, topped with coffee crema and garnished with crispy bacon. It’s essentially an over-the-top espresso martini — everyone needs a little decadence in their life once in a while, right?

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    The Star’s BLACK Bar & Grill oozes indulgence, making it the perfect spot to celebrate a big win at the casino, a promotion or simply being out on a school night. Bunk down in one of the wood- and copper-panelled booths at the sultry bar. As the name may suggest, the restaurant specialises in grilled meats and serves up almost every beef cut you can think of — rump cap, striploin, scotch, flat iron — plus, seafood and a whole duck, too. And this month, forgo the standard wine pairing with your steak for the Dimond’s Return ($TBC). It’s a citrusy belly-warmer, made with green chartreuse, Ardbeg An Oa single malt, amaretto, orange and lemon juice and garnished with burnt cinnamon and sprigs of mint. It’s sure to get you feeling festive even in this cold weather.

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Top Image: Katje Ford.

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