When it comes to gin, some facts just can’t be denied. Whether it’s in the hands of Sean Connery (shaken, not stirred), or handed to you as the perfect negroni, it’s obvious that gin holds the current title of king among spirits.
As gin enjoys a massive resurgence in the Australian bar scene—thanks, in part, to distillers dabbling in the spirit’s broad range of flavour profiles—Brisbane connoisseurs are reaping the rewards.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, make sure you walk into these.
At Dutch Courage, gin savants are whisked back to the days of brawny adventures and glittering Gatsby-esque affairs. Raise a glass in the plantation-style bar, dressed in vintage, safari décor, and you really can’t go wrong. If you’re new to the scene, the bartenders at Brisbane’s first gin bar are old hat: they’ll lead you through the different styles of G&T, crafty cocktails like the Hendrick’s Teapot, or straight-up serves of the world’s finest gins. They also do a gin bathtub—need we say more?
Perched loftily over the bar, Proud Henry is the name of the stuffed peacock tasked with guarding over 280 varieties of gin. The bar’s owners have scoured the globe for hard-to-find varietals, ready to craft hand-tailored concoctions for patrons like an apothecary of the old days. With acoustic music in the evenings and Spanish charcuterie to pair with your next gin flight, it’ll prove hard to leave Proud Henry alone with his gin.
Where beer halls beckon for noise, platters of carbs and lots of yelling, Covent Garden matches the refinement of gin at every corner. Named after London’s famous dining and cultural precinct, Covent Garden is the secret tropical oasis of Brisbane’s West End. Through the doors, you’ll discover a lofty, open-aired garden slinging pitchers of gin cocktails, share boards and–if you’re lucky–the venue’s famous G & High Tea.
Shhh. It’s the leading rule for any good library—and none more so than Fortitude Valley’s secret bar. Tucked away among columns of bookshelves and leather booths, Shhh is a sanctuary of gin flights, cocktails and bites (think jalapeno and Jamon cigars and golden arancini). Take a chair, place an order and prepare to begin your own gin-driven narrative behind the curtains in the Osbourne Hotel.
Don’t be led astray by the moniker: Swill is a crafty, prohibition-style bar boasting some of Brisbane’s finest gin cocktails. In an old-world echo, patrons can order from over 120 varieties of gin among intimate booths and wooden partitions. You’ll find it at Welcome to Bowen Hills, King Street’s own food truck park.
Ordering a G&T never felt so good. At BOSC, or Bar of Social Conscience, 20% of bar profits are donated to an orphanage in Mexico. Oh, and it’s dog friendly. Hold. My. Glass. The walls of this West End bar are lined with lip-smacking gins, including the house specialty: Cutlass and Sabre. We’re not sure a bar could get any cooler.
Finished sipping that G&T? Taste-test your next varietal at these local gin distilleries.
Image credit: Dutch Courage