What Makes The Ultimate Cocktail Bar?
So many things. The bit that a guest sees are rarely the same that makes any bar great. A solid bar team, friendly and efficient service, great music, ambience and obviously amazing drinks. From a bartenders point of view, to make the greatest cocktails you need a very well designed workstation, fresh produce (and a heavy duty juicer!), quality spirits, excellent refrigeration and (lots of) large, dense cubes of ice.
Why go to Match Bar for cocktails?
We squeeze all of our juices fresh here on site, we only pour quality, respected spirits (no nasty 'house brands'), we use a combination of hand carved ice and the largest, densest machine produced ice we can. This ensures our drinks are never watery or warm. Many of our bartenders over the years have gone on to become highly awarded around the globe, due in part to our commitment to training. The current Australian Bartender of the Year is an old group bartender who has taken the title both here and in the UK. Drinks by Match bartenders are on menus the world over; from London to New York, Hong Kong to Sydney and plenty of bars here in Melbourne too. In short we make some of the freshest, tastiest, consistently great cocktails around.
What is your favourite cocktail on the Match Cocktail Menu and why?
The Yuzu Gimlet is my current favourite. A very hard to source Japanese citrus with a slightly savoury taste that sits between a lemon and a grapefruit in terms of flavour, Yuzu is something well worth getting stuck into. The drink combines gin, lime, Yuzu, maraschino and agave (a great natural sweetener doing the rounds right now due it's soft, interesting flavour and low GI). Shaken and served up it's wonderfully complex and a cracking drink that will do especially well in the Dining Room at Match.
What wins - traditional classics or novel creations?
Classics; for their simplicity, balance and the way they enhance the qualities of a spirit.Novel Creations? I'm not a huge fan of getting too technical and whacky. You can keep your leather pureé and bacon infused bourbons to yourself thanks. That's not to say I don't enjoy a well-made contemporary drink. The Vodka Espresso (or Espresso Martini to some) is a great modern (c1983) drink that, made well can please a young pallet or a hardened connoisseur. It also happens to have been created by an old Match bartender Dick Bradsell. Match fact.
Is the cocktail world competitive in Melbourne?
There are some great bars that are well known for amazing cocktails and there are some bars people see as cocktail bars that produce some truly awful drinks. With places like The Everleigh in Fitzroy opening up and their background in top end NY cocktail joints it's sure going to make the other guys at the top of the Melbourne scene sit up and take notice!
What to pick if you aren't a cocktail connoisseur?
Gin or tequila. You think you don't like it but I bet we can mix you a cocktail that will make you love it.
Best music to slurp your cocktail too?
We've a policy that bans commercial nonsense and tired old rnb in the bar. You can't really be expected to drink a beautifully formed sour using 12 year-old Chivas Regal whilst listening to that Barbara Streisand song. Our drinks policy reflects our music policy. RTDs are the pop music of booze. Fine for a Sunday BBQ but not cool for a night out. What we do like? New music from local artists like The Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fromage Disco, classics and contemporary electronic masters like Hot Chip, Crazy P and French Horn Rebellion.
If Match Bar was a cocktail what would it be and why?
A Pisco Aperol Fizz, perhaps? It has a solid lineage, coming from the fizz category of drinks which is over 120 years old, yet it is contemporary in its combination of Peruvian brandy and Italian aperitif. It is well constructed in its use of fresh strawberry, hand squeezed lemon juice and free range egg white and to top it all off it's pretty spectacular.