Drinks News

GT Drinks: Your news wrap for all things drinks this season

New openings, top drops and wine-fuelled events and experiences.
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We’re all about clinking glasses, sampling fun new beverages and celebrating local winemakers, producers and bar owners – so we’ve created a news wrap dedicated to all things drinks. From new popular new bars to top seasonal drops, here’s your drinks news for this month.

New Openings & Experiences

Maybe Sammy’s Golden Pear cocktail

Non HQ – the world’s first non-alcoholic cellar door – arrives in Melbourne

Melbourne, Vic

Head to Cheltenham, Victoria, for insight into what makes the world of zero-alcohol beverages tick. In June, thoughtful producer Non opened a cellar door set-up for a behind-the-scenes peek at Non HQ. Eight tours take place on the first Friday of every month. Each one lasts for one hour and the ticket price includes food pairings. Bookings are essential.

Maybe Sammy’s new Mirage menu

Sydney, NSW

Popular Sydney cocktail bar – and one of the world’s 50 best bars – Maybe Sammy has just launched its new menu, Mirage. Inspired by mirage moments experienced by the bar team, the new menu features 14 dreamy, delicious and theatrical cocktails. Highlights include: the Golden Pear made with Champagne, quince brandy and cinnamon smoke served in a golden pear-shaped goblet; and the Terra Nova – a concoction of tequila, mezcal and mole dulce (a classic Mexican sauce with an Australian twist thanks to the addition of macadamia milk and wattleseed), topped with black sesame merignue. A number of the cocktails can be made alcohol-free, too. Maybe Sammy changes it’s cocktail list annually, meaning you have plenty of time to sample these magical sips that defy expectation.

Bahama Gold

Melbourne, Vic

Wine meets vinyl at intimate Brunswick East venue Bahama Gold, a new lo-fi bar and bottle shop run by Almay Jordaan and Simon Denman, who also founded Neighbourhood Wine and Old Palm Liquor. The vibe here is fun with more than 500 bottles of wine (from Denman’s personal collection) alongside three chilled wines sold by the litre. Each one, by the likes of small producers Koerner and Little Reddie, is served in a glass bottle which can be returned to be refilled. Music is a focus, too. More than $60,000 worth of sound equipment ensures the extensive record collection hits all the right notes. In the kitchen, head chef Jane Low prepares dishes influenced by her Malaysian-Australian upbringing and Mediterranean travels. Snack plates include sambal schiacciata, with different toppings showcased each week.

Purple Palm

Brisbane, Qld

Woolloongabba’s South City Square is continuing to carve its name out as an up-and-coming food and drink hub with the arrival of a behind Purple Palm. The peppy Palm Springs-channelling, gin-focused bar is from the same crew behind South City Wine located righ next door. While alfresco cocktails are the specialty here (the open-air venue is a collaboration with Adelaide Hiss distillery, 78 Degrees), guests at Purple Palm can order small plates of charcuterie and cheese from South City Wine too.


Odd Culture Melbourne

Melbourne, Vic

Sydney’s much-loved Odd Culture Group has opened its first interstate venue in Melbourne. Dubbed Odd Culture Fitzroy, the hybrid bar and bottle shop is on Fitzroy’s lively Brunswick Street and touts itself as an “exploration of fermentation” – think natural wine, pickled snacks, wild and rare ales and seasonal cocktails made from local ingredients and rolling ferments. The bar will also have a small kitchen offering top-quality and pickled snacks, as well as seasonal cocktails made from local ingredients and ferments.

Kin at All Saints Estate

Rutherglen, Vic

Rutherglen’s heritage-listed winery and vineyard All Saints Estate completed a multi-million-dollar redevelopment with the opening of Kin in late February. The restaurant is located in the Estate’s 1864 heritage-listed castle and executive chef Jack Cassidy (Jackalope, Bistro Guillaume, Bedarra Island Resort) leads the team with a modern Australian menu that reimagines family recipes passed on by fourth-generation siblings Eliza, Angela and Nicholas Brown, who own and run the business in north-east Victoria. It’s open Thursday to Sunday for lunch and Saturday for dinner.

Daintree Sydney

Sydney, NSW

A heritage-listed 1816 building and former water police station is home to micro-bar Daintree Sydney, which has partnered with HalfCut, an environmental movement engaging people to raise funds to protect rainforests and wildlife. Daintree Sydney donates half of all its profits to HalfCut in a bid to help preserve Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest. Cocktails are a nod to nature, too. This means your Gumnut Negroni and Quandong Daiquiri are served with all the warm fuzzies. Find it at Cadmans Cottage Reserve, The Rocks, Sydney.

Beverly Rooftop

Melbourne, Vic

Melbourne loves a rooftop – even when the temperature dips. Now, South Yarra has a brand-new rooftop offering 270-degree views over Melbourne, including the Yarra River, MCG and Port Melbourne bay. The newly opened Beverly sits on the 24th floor of Goldfields House, right above bustlng Chapel Street, and comes after years of planning and anticipation. The drinks list heroes locally sourced products, from craft brews to spirits, plus organic and biodyamic wines from Australia and beyond to suit every palate. Food-wise, bar snacks like prawn ceviche, tuna tartare tostadas, and pasta with pork belly ragu are served from the open kitchen.

Holm Oak Vineyard’s Sensory Garden Tour

Tamar Valley, Tas

Holm Oak winemaker Bec Duffy has combined a love of gardening and wine to create a Sensory Garden in her Tamar Valley vineyard. Visitors benefit from the green thumb move, which took seven years to create, as the cellar door offering now includes a guided wine tasting that encourages guests to forage and taste the food grown there. Make sure you try Tasmania’s only arneis while you’re there, too.

Lower Marsh Distillery

Apsley, Tas

As distillery experiences go, Lower Marsh Distillery in Tasmania’s central highlands is as wholesome as they come. Steve Knight and Corey Hazelwood are farmers at heart and work their new distillery door opens around rural work. The Glen Iris farm is home to the barley and spring water used to make their whisky. The distillery provides a backdrop to the tasting, during which Hazelwood explains their unique malting process. It’s just an hour from Hobart but feels like the end of the earth. Utterly charming. Open Thursday to Saturday, 11am-4pm.

Beresford Estate’s new luxury accommodation

McLaren Vale, SA

McLaren Vale’s Beresford Estate has opened the doors to new luxury accommodation suites as part of the Bickford’s Group $9.5 million dollar development. The top-end Grand Reserve Suites are nestled next to the tasting pavilion and overlook 70 acres of rolling Fleurieu Peninsula vineyards. The private plunge pool and in-house massage service add an extra indulgent touch.

South Australia’s exciting new cellar doors

A flurry of new cellar door openings has amplified South Australia’s exciting wine tasting landscape. In McLaren Vale’s Blewitt Springs, the buzz around Yangarra Estate Vineyard‘s impressive new structure is merited. It opened quietly in late May, with formal tating experiences and views of its certified organic and biodynamically farmed vineyard. A viewing platform and overpass takes guests into the mothership where chief winemaker Peter Fraser crafts world-renowned grenache and roussane. Fraser’s arsenal is quite the sight; there’s nothing like tasting wine in the proxiimity of the ceramic amphorae fermentation vessels in which it was made.

Meanwhile, Dandelion Vineyards‘ new space Wonder Room offers stunning views over Firehawk Farm, and tasting tiers paied with snacks by chef Chris Bone. In the Adelaide Hills, Shaw + Smith‘s renovated space has doubled its capacity and includes a private tasting area. The fresh offering includes wine flights and small dishes that can be ordered individually or paired with wines. Former Restaurant Botanic beverage director Marcell Kustos advised on the pairings, while restaurateur Andre Ursini (Orso, Lost Phoenix Farm) caters for private wine events.

Nearby, in Balhannah, the two-year transformation of Nepenthe‘s cellar door is a sustainability-driven love letter to the Adelaide Hills. There’s a barrel room with vineyard views, an Apex room for VIP experiences, a gallery indoor for grazing and guided wine tastings, and a deck and lawn for fun in the sun.

What’s On

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Good Food & Wine Show

21-23 July and 27-29 October

Back for its 22nd year, the Good Food & Wine Show is a celebration of Australian produce, chefs, artisans and winemakers, stopping at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, with three days in each city. This year promises more than 250 stallholders peddling their goods; a cheese corner to fulfil your wildest fromage fantasies with over 60 different cheeses to sample; and 500-plus wines to sip from Australian regions like the Barossa, Margaret River and Clare Valley. There’ll also be masterclasses, guided olive oil tastings, cooking demonstration, and an intimate wine and tasting pairing experience.

The Good Food & Wine Show has already happened in Melbourne and Sydney, but the event is on in Perth from 21 -23 July and in Brisbane from 27-29 October.

Winter Sundays at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

6 and 27 August, and 3 September

It may be winter, but beachside icon Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is giving Sydneysiders a reason to head to Bondi on weekends with its new Winter Sundays program. The event series will see some of the city’s most loved bars take over the Icebergs Bar on select Sundays from July through to September. Launching with ’70s-inspired bar Double Deuce Lounge in July, the event series will follow with Maybe Sammy along with Patron on 6 August, Earl’s Juke Joint on 27 August and finally Shady Pines on 3 September. All sessions will run from 4-9pm and are open to both bookings and walk-ins.

Top Drops & Cool Kit

Heaps Normal Coffee Run Stout

(Photo: Nikki To)

Versa Martini

$75 for 700ml

There’s no denying Martinis are having their moment. Whether you like your ‘Tini shaken, stirred, dry, with a twist or dirty, a Martini is a classic cocktail that stands the test of time. Now, you can simply pour an excellent Martini into a glass and call it a day thanks to Versa Fine Cocktails’ new ready-to-pour Martini. Made with high-quality London Dry Gin and dry vermouth, the Versa Martini can be flourished with garnishes and brine to suit your taste.

Heaps Normal Coffee Run Stout

$75 for case

Beer for breakfast? Leading Australian non-alcoholic beer brand Heaps Normal now has a limited-release brew that combines arvo beers with morning coffees. Enter the Coffee Run Stout, made in collaboration with Newcastle’s Floozy Coffee Roasters. With rich flavours of sweet roast malt, hoppy bitterness and pineapple and caramel coffee notes, each can contains roughly a fifth of the caffeine in your usual espresso and zero alcohol.

Miss Donnington’s Pure Lavender Gin

$95 per 700ml

When mother and daughter Sophie Sheridan and Eliza Sheridan-Turner purchased a lavender farm on Aouth Australia’s Kangaroo Island in November 2017, they began production of their natural Emu Bay Lavender products. They’ve recently released Miss Donnington’s Pure Lavender Gin, distilled by Jon and Sarah Lark, founders of Kangaroo Island Spirits and new business Still Kangaroo Island. “We wanted to bring lavender out of grandma’s draws and reinvent it,” says Eliza. “Miss Donnington is the name of one of the lavenders on the farm.”

Ragazzi e Succo

$50 for 750ml

There’s a new Australian-made aperitivo in town, Ragazzi e Succo Aperitivo combines 26 botanicals, including amaro favourites like bitter orange, plus native Australian flavours such as wattleseed, native river mint, strawberrygum and rosella flowers. Not too bitter, not too sweet – it’s just right. Available as aperitivo, or as cans of spritz.

Zoncello Limoncello

$50 for 500ml

Imagine the aromas in the air when the team at Yarra Vallley’s Zonzo Winery peeled approximately 32,000 locally grown lemons to make their Zoncello Limoncello. The limoncello recipes was passed down over many generations thanks to founder Rod Micallef’s family.

Highr Spirits

Sydney’s Highr Spirits scored a gold medal in the 2023 World Alcohol-Free Awards for its Highr G&T. The range of alcohol-free beverages are infused with nootropics, adaptogens and botanicals and the juniper, yuzu, chamomile and Californian poppy-packed cocktail was a collaboration witn Sokyo chef Chase Kojima.

Alternative Reality


There’s a lot to love about emerging grape varietals. The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) has teamed up with wine writer Max Allen to produce Alternative Reality, a book charting Australia’s alternative variety wine scene over the last two decades. Expect information about the 150 different grape varieties currently grown and made here. It’s a must-read for anyone who likes to have their finger on the vinous pulse. Pre-orders are available here.

Midnight Mixers

$54 for case of 24

When the savvy crew at Bibendum Wine Co. noticed a gap in the market for a high quality, Australian-made and -owned mixer range, they went about doing it themselves with Midnight Mixers. The latest addition to the natural tonic water line-up is Amber Tonic, made with raw Andean cinchona bark (quinine in its natural form) and zero additives or nasties. More than 18 months of trial and error went into creating it. Amber Tonic is a hit solo or as a mixer with tequila, rum or mezcal.

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013

$350 for 700ml

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013 has landed. A stunning drop that reflects a year of weather extremes. Add a decade of maturation to the mix and you’ve got an elegant and tangible example of why patience really is a virtue.

Fuji Single Blended Whisky Masterpiece

$1650 for 700ml

If there’s any day to raise a glass, it’s 20 May – World Whisky Day. Mark the occasion with something special, such as the new release Fuji Single Blended Whisky Masterpiece. Crafted at Mt. Fuji Distillery, which looks out over the majestic mountain after which it is named, it’s a rare and stunning drop, with just 300 bottles available in Australia.

Mr Black Double Cacao Whisky & Coffee Liqueur

$75 for 700ml

Easter has come early this year with the release of the Mr Black Double Cacao Whisky & Coffee Liqueur made in collaboration with Starward Whisky. Made with cacao nibs that have been infused with Mr Black Coffee Liqueur then blended with Starward’s Peated Finnish Whisky, the result is a rich and velvety mocha-like liqueur. The limited-release product can be drunk on the rocks, or in a cocktail such as a Mocha Martini or Double Cacao Old Fashioned. It is available via Mr Black’s website, Starward Distillery and website, and at select retailers across Australia.

Better Beer ‘Middy’ Mid-Strength Lager

$16 for a 6-pack

Australian larrikins The Inspired Unemployed are back with another Better Beer release – and this time it’s a 3 per cent mid-strength lager. Aplty called ‘Middy’, the new brew has already won so;ver at the 2023 Royal Queensland Beer Awards and is availble at Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores from Thursday 30 March. Better Beer is one of the fastest-growing beer companies in Australia, having generated over $55 million in just 12 months and, with the release of this low-alcohol beer, it shows no sign of slowing.

WineWolf Foundation Touch of Dutch Australian Chapter 2021 Semillon

$36 for 750ml

When winemaker Courtney Christie’s dear friend, vinologist Lotte Wolf, died tragically in 2018, the wine and hospitality world grieved with her. In the aftermath, the WineWolf Foundation was established to empower young wine professionals and honour the late powerhouse Dutch sommelier and winemaker. Wolf’s memory also lives on through the new release WineWolf Foundation Touch of Dutch Australian Chapter 2021 Semillon, made with Barossa Valley’s Sven Joschke Wine. It is a stunning drop.

$36 per bottle, svenjoschkewine.com

Wine pouches from A Glass of

$45 for five x 200ml

Since launching in 2021, A Glass of founder Paul Taylor has teamed up with sommeliers to curate a line-up of wines sold in foil-lined 200ml pouches. Shell House sommelier Alex Kirkwood is the latest guru engaged in the project. He chose New South Wales’s 2022 Breaking Ground Semillon, 2022 Mada Pinot Gris and 2022 Maker Master Merchant Organic Rosé, and South Australia’s 2022 Harrison Grenache and 2022 Agóri Montepulciano Nero d’Avola. Top drops and portable for picnic season. For all the good feels, return the pouches for recycling.

Heaps Normal’s new subscription service

$65-69 for 24 x 375ml

Leading independent zero-alcohol brewery Heaps Normal has launched a subscription service so you can get brews direct from its site to your door. You can opt for a case of the brew of your choice – Another Lager, Half Day Hazy or the award-winning Quiet XPA – delivered every one, two, four, six, eight or ten weeks. It’s also released a mixed case also available via the new subscription service. Whether you’re sober curious, squarely on the wagon, or just after a midweek brew without the consequences, the subscription servive will ensure you never run dry.

1923 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny | Seppeltsfield

$1650 for 100ml

Iconic Barossa winery Seppeltsfield has released its 100-year-old tawny for the year. It’s the 46th consecutive 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny to be released from the 1878 Centennial Cellar and has spent 100 years maturing in oak. Expect terrific balance and length, led by blood orange acidity; cocoa powder, fresh tobacco, ginger spice and dusty cedar character.

Trail Mix Rum, Brix Distillers x Bourke Steet Bakery

$105 for 700ml

Croissant rum now exists thanks to a new collaboration between Brix and Bourke Street Bakery. The limited-edition rum has matured for three years in American oak stout casks and infused with banana bread, figs, lemon peel, pear skin and, of course, Bourke Street Bakery almond croissants. The result: a bold rum with bright citrus aromas and a buttery soft palate of soft oak, vanilla and warm spices.

Coravin x Keith Haring Timeless Six+ Artist Edition | Coravin


As far as wine preservation gadgets go, Coravin is essential arsenal for serious imbibers. The latest release is the Coravin x Keith Haring Timeless Six+ Artist Edition, an homage to the late creative whose pop art exploded across New York City’s graffiti scene in the 1980s.

For more top drops and drinks new, check out our July issue on sale now.

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