Trust Dan Murphy’s to pull out all the stops at their popup, House of Discovery. The experience: devoted to the simple act of showcasing new drinks trends, but in an entirely immersive environment. From making your own cocktails, to a sensory smelling experience, the night was like no other.
The beloved Aussie brand chose to set up shop on the oh-so-hip stretch of Kensington Street in Chippendale, which The Plus Ones have visited on myriad occasions. An abandoned, historic house, full of courtyards, staircases, stone walls, and small rooms? Talk about the perfect setup.
Entering off Kensington Street, my +1 and I were literally handed tickets to the night. The first ticket got us into the ‘Home Bartender – 1950s’ experience. The second ticket, the ‘Home Bartender – Tiki’ event. But first — a chat from Dan Murphy’s brand ambassador Charlie Ainsbury.
He explained the setup for the evening: tunes from DJ FlexMami in the courtyard, where we could also match food to our drinks. Downstairs, tequila tastings and popups from Adelaide Hills Distillery. Upstairs, the Home Bartender setup.
Half the fun of an immersive experience is not knowing what to expect. And certainly, ascending the wooden staircase, we had no idea that there would be two entirely different (and amazing) bar setups. Our 1950s bar was all schmick mid-century furniture, including a wonderful bar cart setup.
We got our Mad Men styles on as Charlie talked us through how to make the perfect martini. My +1 was in his element, as it’s his favourite cocktail. We had just enough time to savour our oh-so-smooth cocktails on the balcony overlooking Kensington Street.
Then, off to the tiki bar! One that I wish I had in my own how. All kitsch and fun, Charlie talked us through how to create a pina colada. (Which I may have had a second serve of — rum being my favourite liquor.) His aim is for people to all have a signature cocktail that they feel comfortable whipping up at parties. I am 100% behind that idea.
With our master class experiences finished, it was time to explore the rest of the House of Discovery. In one room downstairs, Adelaide Hills Distillery had a phenomenal sensory setup. Their native-Aussie liqueur, The Italian, is comprised of riverland orange, riberries, native thyme, sunrise lime, quandong, and more. And we got to sniff and taste them all. Best of all? We then headed to the courtyard for a cocktail made with The Italian, matched with a bite-sized nibble. You could also have tried the Konteki ‘Pearls of Simplicity’ Junmai Daiginjo Sake; Elephant in the Room Chardonnay; or BentSpoke Brewing Co.‘s Barley Griffin, all matched with bites. At The House of Discovery, you pick the drink and then the food to match.
Finally, we took a journey through the three types of tequila — blanco (thanks to Don Julio), reposado (via 1800 Tequila), and anjeo (through Casamigos). All the while, beats from DJ FlexMami kept the party going.
The House of Discovery showed just how far Dan Murphy’s will go to showcase the amazing drinks they have on offer. Immersive popups in historic buildings might only be around for a few days, but all of us can learn how to make a signature cocktail for years of parties to come.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, you can follow Theresa’s antics on her Instagram.
Visit www.danmurphys.com.au to find out more on the brands listed above.