For the first time since 1901, there’s a new rum distillery in Sydney. Brix Distillers are in residence in the heart of Surry Hills on Bourke Street. They’re not only creating their own rum — they’re serving up amazing food, delicious cocktails, and running behind-the-scenes tours. All this, and they’re open till midnight every day (10pm on Sundays). The golden age of rum is dawning in Australia, thanks to Brix.
Co-owners James Christopher, Damien Barrow and Siddarth Soin, along with head distiller Shane Collins (ex-Archie Rose), aim to add rum into its rightful place in the pantheon of great spirits across Australia. They invited The Plus Ones for a full experience: a cocktail on arrival, a private guided tour, and a menu tasting.
We can’t stop raving about how amazing Brix Distillers is.
Let’s start with the building. The team lucked out with an industrial-style space in Surry Hills just down the street from The Beresford, complete with soaring ceilings. To one side: the full distilling setup of tanks, barrels, and still. To the other: a bar and restaurant seating. In the mezzanine: a gorgeous private room for parties or group tastings. And along the wall, on the menus, and on a cement wall glimpsed beyond their windows: custom street art. It’s not every day you find out a local hospo group teams up with a famous street artist like Nico.
This gets to the heart of Brix Distillers: they’re committed working with other local producers, be it the aforementioned artists, Australian wineries (from which they get their casks), or local breweries (to whom they’ll be passing on their casks for cool collabs). They source all their sugarcane from southern Queensland; got their custom copper still made in Ballarat, Victoria. The more we heard from co-owner James on our tour, the more in awe we were of how intertwined they are with other small Australian businesses.
The guided tour takes you on the full journey. We made our own fresh sugar cane juice; tasted molasses, which Brix uses in their spirits; and learned how each part of the distilling system is used to create rum. In the private room upstairs, they have small barrels that the public can buy and mature. As you come in the main entrance, you’ll see the wine barrels from wineries in the Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Orange — these are what’s going to turn into the Brix rum that punters will enjoy for years to come.
Right now, Brix serves three spirits: the White, Dark, and Spiced. The Brix White isn’t technically rum, since only something that’s been barrelled for two years can be called such. The fruity notes had us throwing out words like ‘green apple’ and ‘plum’, but there are also some créme brûlée elements. It’s absolutely delicious, particularly served in one of the cocktails we had on arrival, the Made of Brix (freshly-made cane juice and coconut water, with a dash of soda). The Brix Dark was created out of Barbados rum by one of the world’s foremost rum-makers. The American Oak-matured spirit, with notes of vanilla, showcases the type of rum Brix will be serving once their Aussie-made spirits are old enough. Go on the official tour ($30) and you’ll get a taste of both Brix White and Brix Dark.
You’ll need some food to go with all that rum. Brix’s head chef is ex-Porteño, and his Columbian background can be found on the menu. There’s everything from appetisers to more substantial dishes to dessert. We tried out the prawns — with lime and coconut creme, they were the perfect starter. Being adventurous ladies, my +1 and I went for the beef tongue. The nose-to-tail commitment was lovely to see and nice to taste. The standout for us, though, was the chicken pate. A bit sweet, and with diverse textures, it was the perfect accompaniment to more cocktails.
At Brix Distillers, every little thing is thought of for your comfort: purse hooks along the bar. Windows that open to get a fresh breeze. Super-cosy seating. The cocktail list is complemented by craft beer and Australian wine, and the surrounds are the perfect setting for a cute date night, or just because you happened to stroll by.
Sydney’s first rum distillery in a century is in great hands with Brix Distillers. This is a must-do for all Sydneysiders and visitors — I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy going to Brix.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa is lucky she lives a block away from Brix. Follow her on Instagram.
350 Bourke St.
Surry Hills NSW 2010