Ahh, cocktails. From the standard fare like your martinis, caipiroskas and white Russians to more involved concoctions, there’s little denying that love for the cocktail is strong here in Newcastle.
You only have to look at the range of venues in the CBD alone – from the Dockyard to MoneyPenny and most points in between – to realise that us Novos love a fancy tipple.
This fact was further evidenced by the amount of chatter generated when we asked you, last week, your thoughts on the best purveyor of cocktails in our fair city.
So, for your edification, here is the top five…according to you.
1. Babylon Newcastle
145 King Street, Newcastle
The love for Babylon is definitely strong, judging by the amount of votes this opulent gem of a venue at the op end of King Street received.
Having partaken in their expansive cocktail menu myself, this writer can definitely attest to their quality.
While there are many to choose from here, a standout in our mind would have to be the Dark Temptress. A booze-lovers delight, this little number is replete with rye whiskey, macadamia, and wattleseed liqueur, chocolate liqueur, chocolate bitters, and finished with a tempered chocolate and macadamia shard. Phew, wow and yum!
Another hot-ticket item according to you is their Fairie Dust Daiquiri – white rum, marshmallow liqueur, watermelon, lime juice vanilla bean, and a whimsical application of fairy floss.
Check them out now.
2. The Blind Monk
76 Beaumont Street, Hamilton
Living a stones-throw away from this intimate Beaumont Street watering hole, this writer has on more than one occasion sampled the Blind Monk’s eclectic and ever-changing cocktail menu.
I can humbly attest to the quality of the Monk’s lemon drop martini (the finest example of this flavour bomb tasted in quite some time) as well as their delicious take of the South American classic, the Pisco Sour.
There was a lot of love for the Blind Monk in our poll, not least for their espresso martini, which many of you said was the best in Newcastle.
Strong opinions. Check them out here and decide for yourself.
3. The Koutetsu
555 Hunter Street, Newcastle
Dark and sophisticated with a hint of grunge? A strange description for a seriously great small bar which for some time was quite the secret. Chris and his team at The Koutetsu are serious spirit slingers – in this writers opinion, this is the place to go for classic cocktails.
You know they must be doing something right when one of our other favourite bars, MoneyPenny nominated them in the poll – credit where credit is due. You guys mentioned their Whiskey Sour (yes!) and we can also attest to their strong, bitter and delicious Negroni (Equal parts Gin, Campari, Sweet Red Vermouth and the perfect orange twist) best sipped in the glowing candlelight.
A great spot to start your night (they open from 4.00pm Wednesday – Saturday) or savour a nightcap.
4. 5 Sawyers
115 Darby Street, Cooks Hill
The cocktail menu at this Darby Street gem is as on point as the cool vibes that eminate from the venue.
Like the Blind Monk, 5 Sawyers Espresso Martini game is strong – as evidenced by the success of their recent espresso martini fest. But for us, it is in the signature cocktails that this place really shines.
Looking for something a little bit fancy? Then the Kit Kat Gold Martini (Baileys, White Crème de Cacao, Hershey’s Caramel Sauce and cream) is sure to float your boat.
If like us, gin looms large on the palate, then you need to try the Princess Pama – an inviting concoction of Tanqueray gin, Pama Pomegranate liqueur, shaken with fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and egg whites.
Check out 5 Sawyers now.
5. Coal and Cedar
380/382 Hunter St, Newcastle
Perhaps more well known for their stunning range of whiskey, Coal and Cedar are also no slouches in the cocktail game.
The rotating cocktail list is sure to keep punters coming back to this funky little speakeasy in the heart of Newcastle and this writer’s last visit was made memorable after quaffing a gorgeous cocktail dubbed the Paper Plane (bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol and Lemon) Yum.
Fast, friendly service, cool atmosphere and great cocktails. What more could you want?
Check out Coal and Cedar here.