It’s surprising that Sydney hasn’t had her own distillery for so long. Thankfully, the guys at Archie Rose have more than made up for the 162-year drought. Their set-up is beautifully styled, their ingredients are as Australian as can be and the bar is exquisite.
Archie Rose is one of those companies that non-believers would call maverick. They really push the envelop, trying new things and doing what they do well but just a little different to the rest.
We love that.
You can tell Archie Rose is a little bit different from the rest from the moment you walk through the big corrugated sliding doors of the distillery.
On your right is a huge steel cage where you can see the copper shine of the stills peeping through at you, and the wall of whiskey aging quietly at the back.
On your left, the door opens on a speakeasy bar decked with cosy barrel shaped booths and distressed wood high tables. The long bar has a beautiful old copper surface where the bar staff have matching copper cocktail shakers and jiggers.
Behind the bar, the shelves are full of bottles, jars and conical beakers ready for the experimental science of mixing your drink.
And many of the drinks on Archie Rose’s cocktail menu feature spirits that you can see being made from your seat at the bar.
Just 3 metres away across the corridor is the heart of this amazing little have-a-go enterprise. The Archie Rose distillery is currently producing a gin, a vodka and a white rye.
It’s all made from local ingredients – even the water, which is purified by filtering through reverse osmosis and double carbon filtering through charcoal, is from Sydney’s water table.
We took a tour of the distillery, which I’d highly recommend especially for your first visit, and we got to explore and learn about the workings of this artisanal outfit.
The Signature Dry Gin they make here has 14 botanicals – most are Australian natives. The intriguing thing about this gin is that – unlike most distillers – Archie Rose has distilled each botanical separately and then combined them together at the end for the perfect blend.
The result is very smooth and quite complex – a good all-rounder gin.
Their Original Vodka is surprisingly sweet and easy to drink. Both the gin and the vodka are made in the little handmade copper pot still tucked away round the corner.
Meanwhile the two big column stills at the front of shop are busy cooking up whiskey.
The White Rye coming out of them at the moment is delicious. I love rye and can’t wait till the barrels at the back have had chance to put some colour and extra flavour into the Archie Rose whiskey.
While I am waiting though, the twice-distilled, bright clear white rye made from carefully sourced malted rye and barley has plenty of flavour to keep me going!
After our tour, we headed back to the bar to try a 3-glass flight of what Archie Rose has to offer.
If you want to try other things behind the bar, the Australian gin and Australian vodka flights look very tempting too.
As we looked around the bar, other punters were enjoying beers, wine and cocktails all from the menu as well as tasting flights like ours.
If you’re hungry, Archie Rose has teamed up with neighbouring bakery Black Star, whose latest cafe is next door, to bring what they’re good at to the table. Share plates of sweet and savoury baked goods, cheese and meat boards and assortments of roast veggies, seeds and gluten free rolls are there to fill a hole.
If you’re still hungry, Kitchen by Mike is right next door too. And oh my god are there good things to eat in there!
Archie Rose Distillery and Bar
Good for: small groups, cool date night, birthday party option.
Open: 12pm – 10pm every day. Distillery tours and tasting by appointment – $20pp.
85 Dunning Avenue
Have you ever visited a distillery? What’s you’re spirit of choice? Tell us in the comments!