Summer in Sydney evokes images of cool breezes, sunshine, and, of course, cocktails. Whether you feel like escaping to the harbour views of Black by Ezard, the institution that is Eau De Vie, the new kids on the block that are The Butler, or The Powder Keg, there is something to satisfy every budding mixologist’s fantasies. Grab your bucket list out and start scratching some of these off your list of the best cocktails in Sydney to try.
Black by ezard
Situated within The Star entertainment complex in Pyrmont, BLACK by ezard makes the most of the stunning views of the harbour and city. The restaurant itself is pretty spectacular, but for us, the buzz is all about the award-winning BLACK Bar.
An ideal location to meet for drinks ranging from sophisticated signature cocktails, like the Rye&Gosling [containing rye whiskey, Bermuda rum, alpine Amaro, maraschino liqueur & bitters], and all the classics, to an extensive spirits list featuring many rare and one-off bottlings. Backed up by a smart menu of bar snacks, a quick rendezvous here can easily escalate to last call. The equally delicious mocktail list for our designated drivers, features the luxe Egyptian Ice, containing Hibiscus, Rose, Black & Green Tea, Peach Bitters, Apple & Lime—the perfect aperitif. Come for the cocktails, but be swayed by the extensive locally and internationally sourced wine list, whydontcha.
The Wilcox name has long been a Cammeray institution. Pegged as the perfect place for a quick drink, long dinner, or anything in between, we went queuing for the cocktails. If Madame Coco Sparkling, Chambord, and pineapple sounds like your proverbial cup of tea, we suggest downing ‘The Ritz’, or, for the bourbon drinker with a sweet tooth, we suggest the Wilcox Reserve. With either of these [and many other choices] we insist on the pork belly sliders and salted cod fritters from the bar snacks menu. Open Tuesday to Friday for Dinner and Saturday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner.
Red Lily Cocktail Bar
Reminiscent of old Saigon with its Indochine interior meets back-room drinking parlour, Red Lily is a modest and exclusive Sydney cocktail bar tucked away in a quiet Darlinghurst laneway.
Red Lily specialises in delectable Saigon street snacks paired with Asian-inspired drinks. The music and ambience is set to South-East Asia, playing classic soul and rare Asian vintage soul from the 50s, 60s and 70s, making this a unique destination.
We can’t go past the Ga Xa Ot Cuon (Soft rice paper rolls of chicken thigh fillet marinated in lemongrass, fish sauce and pickled chilli, seaweed and Vietnamese herbs) paired with either a Saigon Spritz, encompassing dry gin and Aperol with muddled orange, lychee and lime topped with sparkling wine, or the wild turkey and poached pear inspired ‘Poached As’. Vietnam meets the eastern suburbs at its finest.
Eau de Vie
Sydney bar, Eau de Vie is all about escapism. It’s about slipping into a different era when cocktails were king, men wore fob watches, and dames drank martinis. Drinkers are encouraged to choose a destination and time in history that best reflects the drink you’re in the mood for. We don’t want to sway you (ok, we do) but The Noble Experiment is a must try. Where else can you have your martini built and served with mixologists donning safety gear and liquid nitrogen? A visual and sensory overload. Grab a cheese platter or some wagyu sliders to help wash it down. You will be back.
The Powder Keg
With its slick & sophisticated interior and unique food and drink offering, Sydney bar, The Powder Keg is a must visit for Sydney cocktail lovers. Grab yourself a ‘Gunpowder Plot’ for a truly authentic experience into the history that is The Powder Keg, or, if you feel like sharing, the Powderkeg Punch definitely delivers—smoking keg and fuse included.
This Sydney bar’s expansive menu and selection of signature cocktails will highlight the versatility and quality of the gins on offer—all of which will be served behind an impressive seven-metre-long pale marble and blue leather-clad bar. We love the Stillery’s signature tribute to Double Bay—the Red Leaf Relaxing, concocted with spicy Old Raj Gin.
Peekaboo is everything you've ever wanted in a small Sydney bar—a sultry, moodily lit atmosphere, cool crowd, hot cocktail list, and fantastic food. After indulging in the white rum, passionfruit pulp, and Contrieau-based ‘Cinnamon Pash’, you will be begging for someone to (buy you a) ‘Take Me Home’. Peekaboo’s delectable and always changing canapé menu is the perfect accompaniment after a few, as well.
Located in the backstreets of Potts Point, The Butler serves up some serious cocktails, definitely up there with the best in Sydney. The Rose Sangria contains rose, Chambord, rose syrup, rhubarb bitters, fresh grapefruit, and strawberries topped with soda. Oh and did we mention the view from the terrace? Uninterrupted city views while sipping a pineapple and blueberry infused Bulleit Bourboun ‘Colonial Cobbler’, accompanied by fries with horseradish mayo, sounds like a great way to kill a few hours.
Image credit: Lisa Brooke