Distilleries in Sydney
It was a long time between drinks in Sydney. There was barely a distillery to be seen from the mid-1800s until just a few years ago. But that’s all changing, with the rise of artisans dedicated to putting the spirit back into the city. Whether your preference is for rum, gin or whisky, there’s a place in Sydney where you can sip straight from the still.
Archie Rose, Rosebery
Archie Rose spearheaded Sydney’s distillery renaissance in 2014 and continues to be a pioneer. Take a tour to see how it’s done. The friendly bar offers Archie Rose’s range of gin, whisky, vodka and white rye, as well as unreleased products, drinks from around the world and plates of local cheeses and charcuterie.
Looking for a gin that’s just how you like it? Something big on juniper? With maybe a hint of Dorrigo pepperleaf and a sprinkle of rose petal? In the blend-your-own gin class, you’ll be guided through the process, and given the chance to choose and tweak the botanicals just to your liking, and walk away with your own signature blend.
Poor Toms, Marrickville
What started out as a couple of Sydney housemates experimenting with a two-litre still and a bunch of different botanicals has turned into the hugely successful boutique gin brand Poor Toms. Head to Poor Toms Gin Hall to try the three types of craft gin (Sydney Dry, Strawberry and Fools Cut) and perhaps an Imbroglio (their version of an amaro liqueur).
Settle in among the hanging plants and avail yourself of G&Ts, a seasonally changing cocktail menu, food from nearby Pizza Madre on Fridays and Saturdays, and local DJs playing laid-back sets on Sundays (complete with sausage sizzle). It’s also kid-friendly before 5pm and dog-friendly all day.
Manly Spirits Co, Brookvale
Life in Manly, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, revolves around the ocean and there’s a distinctive seaside vibe to the drinks at Manly Spirits Co. Sustainably foraged marine botanicals (alongside native Australian and more traditional ingredients) go into the gin, and you’ll find a Marine Botanical Vodka which promises sea air notes on the nose.
Join a distillery tour or a gin yoga session, where you will be challenged to sip on a G&T while stretching your increasingly loose muscles. Or simply call in to the distillery’s tasting bar, open Friday to Sunday and offering spirits, cocktails, craft beer and organic wine as well as cheeseboards, antipasto and house-made dips.
Brix Distillers, Surry Hills
Rum has a chequered past in Sydney, but the team at Brix are determined to give it a makeover via a distillery, bar and restaurant. Brix’s artisan offering is currently being served as a white rum while everyone waits patiently for it to mature. In the meantime, try the award-winning Brix Gold Caribbean rum blend or the heady Brix Spiced.
You can join a tour of the distillery and even fill your own rum barrel, which will be matured and ready to collect in a couple of years. This should give you plenty of time to sample the 150 rums from around the world served at the Brix Bar, which also offers craft beer and wine, and a South American-inspired dining menu.