Deck the halls with juniper berries because Word Gin Day is only days away!
This Saturday, June 8 marks arguably the best day of the year, where the gin havens of Sydney throw open their doors at midday and cocktails flow aplenty. World Gin Day was unofficially started in 2009, by a group of college students in Birmingham who took a trip to a bar called Graphic in SoHo, London, to celebrate their love for gin. Since then it has evolved into a global phenomenon, with 200 million people celebrating World Gin Day in 2018.
2019 promises to be bigger and better than ever, and in Sydney, Chippendale’s Kensington Street will be the centre of the hubbub. Drink specials, live music, DJs and bespoke Australian gin will feature in the street party-style festival, with happy hour stretching for seven whole hours across the two venues.
Last week a few lucky guests popped over to Spritz for a Gin Tasting and Cocktail Making Class, hosted by Founder and Head Mixologist Grant Collins, as a taster of what’s to come on World Gin Day. Spritz is a fantastic hybrid of New York rooftop and Mediterranean lounge, yet it undeniably sings a song of Sydney. If Gin Lane is prohibition glamour, then Spritz Bar is Amalfi sunshine, charmingly similar yet distinct in execution. With fairy lights strung across the ceiling and the neon ‘spritz’ sign aglow, Spritz’s rooftop is one that you could easily spend hours in: for after-work drinks that effortlessly morph into languidly late nights.
Our evening kicked off with a gin tasting, accompanied by delightful Sicilian aperitivo, provided by Olio from just next door. Green Ant Gin, Patient Wolf Gin Co. and Lyres were just some of the excellent gins sampled, all with unique smells, flavours and aftertastes. Collins also provided a variety of tonics to mix with the shots of gin; Fevertree classic and East Imperial’s grapefruit tonic are just some of the splendid tonics on hand at Spritz.
We then moved into the cocktail making portion of the evening, where Collins and his colleagues invited guests to assist with the tasks behind the bar. The Cucumber & Rose G&T was first off the bat: where cucumber and rose infused gin (a process that takes days) is paired with elderflower rose syrup and charged with tonic, before being served in a gorgeous snow dome glass. This cocktail includes a cucumber incense stick, which elegantly sits in glass’s rim, and sends a light perfume across the room.
“80 per cent of your taste is through your nose,” says Collins. Pairing visual appeal and perfume assures a greater number of takers, particularly drinks with hints of red which appeal to our bowerbird-like brains. These principals act as Collins’ guiding star when creating his delectable cocktails.
Other drinks on the menu, like the Gunpowder Plot, also use this technique. Gunpowder tea-spiked gin, Fernet Branca, gunpowder syrup, dandelion & burdock bitters and fresh citrus are combined and delivered in a cloche filled with gunpowder twigs and smoke, which curls into the air when its shelter is removed.
The Luxury Negroni was understandably the star of the show, exclusively created for World Gin Day. The $175 cocktail is for aficionados only, and is made with original 70-year-old Gordon’s Gin, a 50-yearold Campari and Vintage Vermouth from the 1980s. It is served in a Royal Doulton cut crystal tumbler, over triple frozen ice with a citrus zest, and delivered with an aromatic light Earl Grey tea smoke.
World Gin Day brings the very best of this mixology class and shares it with the world, and Collins is determined to convert as many gin-haters as possible with his divine libations. Gin lane and Spritz will work in tandem, providing punters with options for every hour after midday. Happy Hour at Gin Lane stretches from 12-5pm, with a variety of delightful cocktail specials. Over at Spritz you can Meet the Makers of a variety of Victorian gins between 1-4pm, before its own Happy Hour goes from 5-7pm. The Low Down Riders will be playing tunes all afternoon down on the streets below, before DJs take over at 4pm with some ultra-cool jazz and funk. With Olio’s lauded Italian fare and Spice Alley delivering authentic Asian cuisine next door, this street party will be one to remember.
The celebrations on Kensington Street this Saturday promise to live up to that mission, and with a gin and tonic in one hand and a priceless negroni in the other how could we not have the time of our lives?
World Gin Day at Gin Lane and Spritz Bar
Saturday, June 8