Coming to a bar near you: DIY cocktails

DIY cocktails at Hopscotch in Melbourne.
DIY cocktails at Hopscotch in Melbourne. Photo: Supplied


Hopscotch, an urban beer bar, opened in Melbourne last Friday – but it's not the 30 beers on tap that have us talking. Non-beer drinkers can get hands-on with DIY cocktail kits for two. Each is presented in a mini wooden crate with two glasses, two shakers, garnish, booze and mixers. Choose from espresso martinis, pina coladas or moscow mules – or make an afternoon of it and try all three. $34 per kit.

Sydney's Banksii is reviving more than vermouth.

Sydney's Banksii is reviving an old dessert favourite. Photo: Supplied

We're eating… RETRO PUDDINGS

There are two types of people in this world: those who enjoy pudding and those we don't have time for. Trifles have reappeared in restaurants inspired by the festive season. In Sydney, Banksii puts your grandmother's trifle to shame with vermouth-soaked sponge, burnt vanilla cream and rosella jelly, while Chiswick does a hazelnut and blood orange number. In Melbourne, Epocha's dessert trolley rolls past every day except Sunday with cherry and blackberry trifle layered with lemon verbena custard, meyer lemon flowers and rhubarb and vanilla jelly. Diet starts 2017. 

Sprinkles galore from Melt Bake Shop.

Sprinkles galore from Melt. Photo: Supplied

We're baking with… MELTBAKESHOP.COM.AU 

"We're not your mamma's cake supply store," promises new online cake shop, Melt. In place of lace stencils and dull baking pans are "glam rock twinkle" sprinkles and cookie cutters with shapes from cocktails to cacti and kangaroos. There's also edible glitter, dust and flower seeds; alongside more practical icing tools. The bakery boxes are especially gift-worthy; from $35 each the beautifully packaged parcels help home bakers create Instagrammable cakes with ease. 


Instagram seems to be having a lightbulb moment, with milkshakes and cocktails being served in – you guessed it – lightbulbs. The novelty vessels are already big in Asia (think Korea and Hong Kong) and more recently in New York. We're dubbing it the new mason jar, although Kmart had to take them off the shelves recently due to complaints they resembled homemade drug apparatus. You can buy your own lightbulb cups easily on eBay. If you're in Sydney, pop into Holy Shake in George Street for a bubble tea, or head to Son in Law in Melbourne for a pink "nom yen" Thai milk – both served in light bulbs.

Gift cards for foodie in your life.

Gift cards for foodie in your life. Photo: Supplied


You've probably spotted Things By Bean greeting cards. They swing between sweet and sarcastic with bold colours and a killer sense of humour. Created by Aussie designer Jo Power, we're fans of the food series, from gingerbread "murder" at Christmas, to cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner on birthdays. The sunny-side-up egg wrapping paper is also pretty neat. 

This is better than boring cereal.

This is better than boring cereal. Photo: Supplied



Raspberry and blackberry season is in full swing, and these breakfast pops are especially handy during school holidays. Make two berry purees by separately blending 125g each of raspberries and blackberries with 2 tablespoons castor sugar. Strain through a sieve and set aside. Whisk together 500ml greek yoghurt, 55g castor sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. To assemble, fill popsicle moulds by alternating layers of the three mixtures until filled. Gently swirl with a skewer and freeze until set.


North Melbourne chocolate innovators Mörk Chocolate Brew House have updated their summer menu to include a festive bent. The chilled, Christmas pudding spiced chocolate milk comes with a layer of warm, aerated brandy custard and is up there with the best thing you can drink sans alcohol. Non-dairy? Try the No Milk Shake; made with coconut cream, dark chocolate and house oat milk, its lamington-inspired topping of local cherry compote and shaved coconut tastes like a memory. 

We're watching… THE FOUNDER

You don't have to have an interest in food or business to enjoy The Founder, a movie based on the true story of how travelling salesman Ray Kroc grew McDonald's into a fast food empire. Sure, he completely stiffed the original McDonald's brothers in the process, but business is business. Played by Michael Keaton, Kroc inserts himself into the company in 1954 and makes his fortune by buying the land on which McDonald's franchises are built. The attention to detail throughout the film, based on original photographs, is uncanny. In cinemas now.