Bars & Pubs

Everything You Need To Drink At MCF According To World Class Bartender, Orlando Marzo

By Rick Stephens

Melbourne Cocktail Festival has begun, and with around 20 events happening over the next week, there are more than a few drops to try. You could go in blind (figuratively, of course), or, you could take a few pointers from one of the best in the biz—quite literally—as to how to navigate the mammoth drinks list.

Let Orlando Marzo, the world's best bartender of 2018, MCF 2020 curator and all-round booze-guru guide you through an evening spent exploring the bars and drinks of this years festival.

Farmer's Daughters | Bush Tucker Mary

I am a big fan of Aperitivo so I can’t not stop at Farmer’s Daughters for a refreshing low abv concoction; vermouth made in collaboration with Maidenii is mixed with spiced tomato water—yes, please.

Nick & Nora's | Mista Asta

While you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't head next door to Nick & Nora's for a quick bite and the Mista Asta: olive oil washed Absolut Elyx, Never Never Aquavit, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, Clarified tomato water and 3 drops Sundried tomato oil—definitely an alcoholic drink and a testament to Melbourne Cocktail Festival.

Bijou| Improved Holland Cocktail

Then, stop at Bijou, a newly opened bottle shop cocktail bar right in the heart of the city by the crew from Gin Palace and Bar Ampere. Their signature drink for MCF is the Improved Holland Cocktail. This is a classy-classic cocktail not appearing on many menus and well worth a try.

Capitano | Boulvardier Sour

Time for dinner; head to Capitano as you'll no doubt be dreaming about their vongole linguine on the way, but more about the Boulevardier Sour: a reimagined Boulevardier with Saint Felix aperitivo, Vermouth and Bourbon.

Byrdi | Harold's Highball

Finish your night at Byrdi as owner and bartender Luke Whearty is mixing pistachio—a favourite of mine—with a smoked rhubarb tonic. The perfect end, and perfect drink, to bookend a night at the Melbourne Cocktail Festival.

You can try all five of Orlando's recommendations—along with about 20 more exclusive cocktails at some of Melbourne's most defining bars and restaurants—for $15 each when you register here.

Check out everything else happening at Melbourne Cocktail Festival 2021 here.

Image credit: supplied

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