Spirit of Australia in a drink
Amelia Shaw bar, Melbourne. Photo: Justin McManus
Cocktail bar Amelia Shaw, sited above a Victorian-era pub in Melbourne's Brunswick, is named after its original licensee. It features sculptural Japanese casino chandeliers, west coast American-influenced art deco wall murals, a peep show, a circular pool table, potted palms – and a penchant for putting an Aussie spin on 1960s-era American cocktails.
Bartender Lou Dare is committed to the fair dinkum theme and has been scouring the land for quality spirits. Amelia Shaw's list includes vodka from Tasmania, gin from Western Australia, a host of interesting spirits and liqueurs from Queensland (Tamborine Mountain Distillery) and tequila sourced from an Australian-owned distillery in Mexico.
I think what we're doing here with Australian flavours and Australian products is pretty unique.
"I think what we're doing here with Australian flavours and Australian products is pretty unique," says Dare. "But we're not using any products just because they're Australian – there has to be the quality there because, first and foremost, we're about well-crafted cocktails."
Dare has anointed the Banjo Paterson as the best example of Amelia Shaw's twist on classic cocktails. It puts a true-blue spin on the Bobby Burns with Tasmanian single malt whisky and substituting a Tasmanian herbal liqueur made with hand-picked aromatics for the absinthe.
40ml Lark single malt whisky
20ml sweet vermouth
20ml Lark Tasi herbal liqueur
Dash of Angostura bitters
Stir down all the ingredients over ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Serves 1.
Source: Epicure, October 16, 2012