The Beaufort is a cocktail bar built on an attempt to create an unpretentious environment to drink really good grown-up cocktails. That's par for the course across the board in hospitality these days, but four years ago it felt pretty progressive for a Melbourne venue. We still know how to have a bit more fun than most bars and we still knock out drinks as good as the best of them.
To start: a Martini
Our opening bar manager Steve Crozier worked at Quo Vadis in London for a stint. Their Martini method was stolen from Dukes Bar in London in which stupidly cold gin meets a small amount of vermouth and a garnish. We've adapted it to include some filtered water because that just seems like more sensible drinking. The point being that we can still put out a Martini at minus-15 degrees. It's highly viscous, almost oily, and brings a new dimension to any gin you have it with. It's also fun because we get to see those LA bearded-biker types drink from frozen coupettes, gnaw olives from a dainty stick and seriously enjoy themselves.
Next up: a Scorpion Punch
We've got a bit of a nautical vibe running through the place and tiki tends to dictate the flavour profiles, especially when it comes to a format of sharing drinks. The Scorpion is the king of the tiki big hitters; it's a combination of rums, Cognac and gin - essentially, spirits that shouldn't belong together but make one hell of a drink. Top it with a ridiculously large garnish and you're on your way to punters screaming "I want that" without any regard for what's actually inside it. Our bar manager, Paul Hammond, is the Colonel Sanders of rum blends, being equal parts genius and secretive in his blending. It's a fun drink, but super-technical behind the scenes. Which is pretty much what we're all about.
End on: shots
We're lucky to host chefs, bartenders and front-of-house staff on their days off and for knock-offs. There is no higher form of hospitality, mutual gratitude or sign of respect than the bar buying a shot for a hospo homie. Jameson has risen to the top of the pile as the shot of choice, but personally I'm a huge consumer of Tapatio Reposado Tequila. It's a relatively small distillery that still uses archaic, handcrafted techniques to punch out a stellar product.
The Beaufort, 421 Rathdowne St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 8171.