At the bar and in a hurry? Don't want to hold up the queue (or get death stares) for ordering an unexpectedly complicated cocktail? Michael Madrusan, of The Everleigh and the soon-to-be-opened Bar Margaux in Melbourne, reveals how to get a speedy (but responsible) boozy fix.
"If you're somewhere new, stick to menu drinks or the big classics: simple, bold flavours that the bartender will be able to replicate in no time at all," he says. The following cocktails are his recommendations for delay-free drinking.
Negroni Usually using equal parts and made with ingredients every bar stocks, even a bad one is delicious (though a great one is something else). Push the boat out by adding a splash of Champagne and a twist of grapefruit peel for a Famiglia Reale.
Mojito This drink gets a bad rap from bartenders who have grown tired of hearing it ordered, but don't let that stop you. Light rum, lime, mint and loads of ice – fast, fresh, exquisite.
Americano Also known as the Milano Torino, this precursor to the Negroni and king of the aperitivo is an absolute fail-safe. Sweet vermouth and Campari over ice, topped with soda and garnished with an orange wedge. No shaking or stirring required and it's the perfect balance of bitter, sweet and refreshing. As with all good cocktails, the ingredients here are interchangeable, too – swapping the sweet vermouth for dry vermouth or a robust white wine turns it into another Italian afternoon classic, the Bicicletta.
Tom Collins As simple as they come. Gin, lemon, sugar, soda. It works with whatever brand is in the rail, but really shines when you upgrade to something special. Ask the bartender for a cheeky dash of absinthe and you've got yourself a Doctor Fink.
Picon Bière If in doubt, order a beer and a shot of something fun. The Picon Bière hails from 19th-century northern France and consists of a glass of beer with a measure of the bittersweet herbal liqueur, Amer Picon. Any French or Italian amaro will do the trick here – try a wheat beer with Campari or a pilsner with Suze if you're feeling adventurous.
The Everleigh, 150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, VIC, theeverleigh.com