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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hinky Dinks for Delightful Drinks!

I had a couple of visits to Hinky Dinks when I was in Sydney, in March. The first was on a “Taco Monday” in late February, toward the beginning of my travels. I met some new friends, who lived close by to the bar.  They were jazzed to try something new.  I had heard great things from the bartenders at The Baxter Inn, where I was earlier that evening. The tacos on deck that night were; a braised chicken taco with a jalapeno mayonnaise and shredded radicchio.  There was also the salt and pepper squid taco with a roquette aioli.  That one was killer!  And then there was a pulled pork taco with a piccante  mayonnaise and shredded cabbage.  

They were perfect complimented with  the House Specialty Cocktail, the Hinky Fizz.  The special comes in the in-house strawberry and prosecco sorbet. They throw a little Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit juice and St. Germain over the sorbet and add a few dashes of peach bitters.  And it’s served in a paper cup with an umbrella and a coffee spoon. Where to go from here, you say?

Well, I got a taste of the Banana Nuclear Daiquiri. The nuclear would be in the Bacardi 151.  I loved it again cause of the other ingredients. An in-house banana sorbet, Yellow Chartreuse, fresh lime, falernum syrup. Served like a frappe. Scrumptious!  My buddies were loving me chat up the bartenders as they got to try it too.  

From nuclear to the undead, the Zombie Cocktail seemed to be a fitting final selection.  There were literally 4 types of rum.  That is probably why you’re only allowed 2 a night. (Hinky’s rules) The recipe calls for maraschino, pomegranate syrup, fresh lime, grapefruit juice and an absinthe flame. I think the barkeeps at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco would approve.

I had a chance to try one of their House Aged Cocktails on my second visit.  It was called the 21st Century.  I liked the idea that it was a tequila drink and I was curious to taste something a bit more spirit forward.  This drink was that.  Cazadores Blanco, white chocolate liqueur, absinthe and some fresh lemon served on the rocks. Still sweet but very boozy. Like me… ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Baxter Inn -A Classic American Whiskey Lounge In Sydney

The Baxter Inn was a really cool speakeasy located in the CBD in Sydney. I found it on the 2nd day of my travels. It was on my list even before I got to Sydney. I knew it was going to be awesome.  I had read about it and it exceeded my expectations. It isn't easy to locate.  A buddy tried to meet me there but gave up after forty minutes. It required a bit of investigating.  After walking by the address at least 5 or 6 times and looking quite puzzled, I finally walked into a bike store and was led to the velvet rope. This of course, is out the back door of the shop or down the alley, along the side of the storefront. 

Upon entry, I realized why its been labeled “best American Bar.” The room was amazing. Whiskey was the standout spirit of the house. The selection was almost overwhelming and varied in price point. I noticed a menu of classic and original cocktails. I couldn’t help myself; I had to order a Manhattan.  

It was my first proper drink on vacation and it held up.  The barkeeps looked serious in their dress shirts and accompanying ties. It was very reminiscent of the barkeeps in the states.  Damien wasn’t there to make my first drink but we managed to start chatting once his shift had begun.  We talked about his recent trip to the US, all his travel tales, whiskey and rum. He then took care of me from then on.  I managed another cocktail, the Zhivago. 

This one had Rye, Galliano, lime, sugar and apple. I bit lighter and at the time, necessary, as I had to start saving room for later. Still, the drink was very balanced. Damien and I did a shot together. It was my first taste of Havana Club from Cuba. We did shots of the 7 year aged Havana when I came back too.  These were my farewell shots.  I began and ended my cocktail journey in that glorious room.  Some call it the best looking bar in Sydney. I took the quite the tour, thanks to Damien.  I made some great mates. The Baxter Inn had that charm, that feeling of timelessness.  Most of all, the folks behind the bar make you feel warm and welcome.  It is one of the many things that standout about Sydney.