Up the rear of Madame Brussels for a Cocktail Masterclass

If these walls could talk. Madame Brussels has a secret Parlour Room (known as ‘up the rear of Madame Brussels’) that hosts all kinds of naughty parties. A chandelier hangs over rich red upholstery… a chandelier that can hold Miss Pearls, the Madam of Madame Brussels.

Under the glow of this infamous chandelier, gin lovers and bartenders gathered around the table for the Bombay Sapphire Cocktail Masterclass.

Madame Brussels

the Bombay Bramble cocktail

Trish Brew, manager at CBD bar Gin Palace, presided over the night. We sipped on classic cocktails while she divulged fascinating gin facts. First appearing in the mid-11th century as a cure for ailments, this incarnation was given to women during childbirth. In the mid-1600s gin was the national drink of Holland and safer to drink than the water. It was also cheaper than beer and resulted in some rather indecent behaviour in Gin Alley. Today, the botanical beverage is much more regulated and taxed.

As a tequila lover, I learned long ago to look for the 100% agave label for better quality (and a better hang-over.) Now I will be doing the same with gin. Put simply, gin is a spirit that contains juniper flavouring. Dry gin is more premium and London Dry Gin uses all fresh botanicals with no added sugar or additives after distillation.

Madame Brussels

cocktail demonstration time

Bombay Sapphire was our spirit for the evening’s three cocktails. We sampled Martinis, Negronis, and Bombay Brambles and nibbled snacks matched to each of the drinks. A note for budding bartenders: this masterclass was more about knowledge and appreciation than hands-on practice, as the cocktails were pre-mixed by the excellent staff. However, Trish shared all of the recipes.

My plus one and I recommend the Bombay Bramble:

30mls fresh squeezed lemon juice
15 mils blackberry liqueur
45 mls gin
10 mls sugar syrup
Pour over crushed ice and stir
Garnish with a lemon slice and berries

Warm up this winter at one of Madame B’s events, which you can find out about by following along on their Facebook page or joining their email list via the brand-new website.

– Jenny
Jenny Schmidt is an event addict. She earned a BFA in theatre and has participated in arts festivals on three different continents (plus a couple of islands). When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a classic cocktail.

Madame Brussels
3/59-63 Bourke St.
Melbourne VIC 3000

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Madame Brussels.