Okay boozers, line your stomachs and practice your best pouty face for scoring waves of free liquor sampling, because it’s back: the Australian Drinks Festival (née Top shelf Boutique Drinks Festival). Coincidentally, this marks my return gambol with ol’ gal Top Shelf after I emerged unabashedly three sheets to the wind from last year’s effort.
I have to admit strolling into the Royal Exhibition Building after barely recalling how I rolled out last time isn’t the most encouraging tone for my triumphant return to liquor nirvana. This year I was determined to accomplish what I had previously failed: learn how to make some new cocktails. The question is, was I successful?
The simple answer is no, I wasn’t. It’s really difficult to ignore oh, I dunno, the seven hours of free booze sampling. Even under scrupulous assistance from previous attendees, my efforts drowned in the perilous bottom of those little plastic shot glasses.
So, in the spirit of reprised protagonists, I herein feature my once again fractured schedule of the Australian Drinks Festival 2016:
- Gin, white rum, and dark rum from NB Gin.
- Montenegro from Montenegro. It has 40 botanicals. They also do a fine Montenegroni.
- Potato gin (yes), potato vodka, and marmalade vodka from Chase Distillery.
- Gin from Hippocampus
- Break from gin to try my luck with lady tequila from Tromba. Not such a great idea.
- Pale ale, IPA, brown ale, and stout from Southern Bay Brewing.
- Another wallop in the Monkey Shoulder whisky bar (it’s back). This time, they’re letting punters vote for the three whisky cocktails the bar staff are churning out.
- Sipsmith sloe gin.
- Bathroom break.
- Vodka from Fire Drum.
- Gin from William’s Gin.
- Spiced rum from Stolen.
- Vodka(?) with smoked cola from Strangelove.
- Pisco from The Pisco People.
- Whisky from Glenrothes.
- Tried to book a seat at the classy Beluga Vodka stand, but couldn’t so just had some vodka.
- More refreshing whiskey cocktails from Monkey Shoulder whiskey bar.
In short, you cannot go wrong with this festival. Unless you try to beat your 2015 personal best. Also, bike riding to this event is discouraged.
– Matt M.
Matt is a mad scientist by day and beer connoisseur by night. This is also Matt’s one year anniversary article, so hooray for him.
The Australian Drinks Festival (formerly Top Shelf) runs yearly in Melbourne. Visit their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out when they’ll return in 2017.