Sometimes a wine just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you need a cocktail in hand to act as an antidote to your awful day, or as the perfect embellishment to your girls-only catch up. We get it, we totally do.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of Brisbane’s best cocktails for everyone’s pallet. Because sometimes you just need to be fancy.
Padre, in Woolloongabba is the cutest little dive bar we ever did see. With an adorable fit out, plenty of fairy lights, and a bar that feels like it’s from a different era, we’re kind of obsessed with Padre. And that’s before we even get to the cocktails. The ‘long and sloe’ makes for perfect sunny afternoon drinking with its expertly mixed blend of Tanqueray and Hayman’s sloe gin, lemon, Zoco Pacharan and plum bitters topped with soda. The bar staff here know their stuff too, and they’ve been known to whip something up to suit you. Pretty nice of them, huh?
Riverbar & Kitchen
Riverbar & Kitchen know their way around a cocktail or two. Adorable names aside (you’ll see in a sec!) these cocktails are delicious and taste a little too good—they’re the kind of cocktails that are way too easy to drink so you end up a having one too many—if you catch our drift. The Salty Sailor can be best described as the love child of a fantail and an espresso martini and is topped with caramel popcorn. Then there’s the Boyfriend Material: house-made hibiscus infused gin, chilli, marmalade and orange soda.
The Apo’s toasted Coconut Espresso Martini changed our life. For real. It’s a refreshing take on the espresso martini you know and love, but pimped out with salted coconut vodka, cold drip liqueur and espresso. The Elderflower Spritz is also one to write home about and was definitely made to be enjoyed in the sunshine. With elderflower, white wine, cucumber, mint and soda, you’d be forgiven for never loving another cocktail.
The Brass Barrel
The Glazed and Ginfused at Rosalie’s Brass Barrel definitely takes the award for cutest cocktail, both in name and looks. It comes complete topped with gummy bears for Pete’s sake!
Canvas in Woolloongabba have great PM cocktails and AM cocktails, designed perfectly to accompany your breakfast. Breakfast cocktails are obviously one of God’s greatest gifts and are a rarity in Brisbane—except for at Canvas, which we applaud. The Madame Mimosa is all kinds of perfect with Blanc De Blanc French sparkling and freshly squeezed orange juice. If you still need your morning coffee fix (you are human, after all) then they also do a mean espresso martini.
Other than having adorably Japanese (and wanderlust-inducing names), the cocktails at Sake are designed to perfectly match the menu and are downright delicious! The Japanese Rose has a real rose petal in it while the Tokyo Fizz mixes Veuve Cliquot with Choya herbal plum wine and hibiscus flowers. Kanpai!
Don’t let the historic exterior fool you into thinking The Gresham is an old fashioned venue, it’s quite the opposite. The Mizu Soichi Sour is kind of weird, but, trust us it’s great: smoked and salted oyster shell syrup, passion fruit, yuzu and Japanese whiskey. The Death and Taxes (Jameson, ginger, honey, apple, pineapple, walnut and smoke) and Sunnyboy (vodka, coconut, passionfruit, vanilla, pineapple, butter) also cop an honourable mention, because, well, they’re bloody great.
Super What Not
Super What Not’s cocktail list has an overtly American theme, which we love, obviously. This hidden laneway watering hole’s cocktail menu is all kinds of amazing, in particular the Mamacita which has Sagabita, Apple, Mint and Prosecco and is 100% delightful.
Cardigan Bar, in Sandgate, has a pun-derful cocktail menu that we can’t get enough of. The Pina Colardigan, for example is equal parts hilarious and delicious while the Let Sleeping Dogs Chai is just plain brilliant; made of chai tea, Bailleys, vodka and your choice of milk. Guys, stop being so great…please?!
Red Hook do more than just mighty fine burgers, trust us. Their cheese burger cocktail (yep, you heard right!), made with pickle juice, will change the way you view cocktails for ever. It’s everything you love about pickles combined with alcohol and a mustard-lined rim. Bravo, Red Hook. Bravo.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie