Universal

For Peter’s birthday and also to bid farewell to another Sydney restaurant closing its doors, we went to Universal. As a pre dinner beverage I ordered the…Oh dammit I’ve forgotten its name…Ruby something. It was only just beaten in girlie hues by Peter’s rosy cocktail. It was fine, to be honest these mocktails are all starting to taste the same. There are about four different categories of flavour in the old mocky-tail. This one was a pink version of the not overly sweet, refreshing class, its the cousin to the apple beasts. To be even more honest this was an over priced sparkling ruby grapefruit juice (you know that really pink one you can get) dressed up with two twig stabbed raspberries and coloured with a dash of grenadine. It was better than some but had no real pizazz. Maybe you can’t make pizazz out of alcohol free ingredients. Ah for some pizazz 6/10 swizzle sticks

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Porteno

To farewell Anna from Bridge St we decided to go to Porteno. Catherine didn’t manage to make the arrival time so we’re waiting in the upstairs bar. Luckily they do a great mocktail. I’ve ordered the bar tenders most creative effort but got steered towards a flavour choice. I opted for a tropical tone. The below pictured emerged from the bar. I think I have a contender for best mocktail yet. A pineapple concoction with cinnamon and vanilla stratum. The presentation is tasteful, nice layering of the yellow and white bits. Ok I’m sick of reviewing I want to peruse the menu now that we’re at our table! Farewell Anna stay strong in the west. 9.5/10 swizzle sticks.

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The Mayor

Hottest day on record at 45.8 degrees. We decided to leave our air con and commune with the locals who are clearly without. The bartender offered something refreshing? And prepared me a minty, apple, citrus concoction. I seem to be on a roll with these apple mocktails. Not bad, not overly sweet and as promised refreshing. There’s a reason we frequent out local so often, above average standard for a north shore local. Oh and glass choice – a low rise tumbler. For those of you waiting for a guest review from Mr Carrick – he had a somersby cider: “very nice. Quite apple-y” That’s it apparently, he’s more of a numbers man. 7/10 swizzle sticks

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The rabbit hole

Pre SAS Christmas Party Graham and I met Pete and Victor for a drink. We fell down into this bar, nestled between two office buildings along Elizabeth St. The bar itself was cute enough and had an extensive cocktail list. Putting my lust for a martini aside I selected a virgin tea smoked apple. Anything smoked I’m in. It took a while for the mixologist to make the drinks despite being the only other table in the bar on a very quiet Saturday preevening. What did arrive was an understated (yay) glass with an apple pieces opera house garnish and a well balanced mocktail. It had a nice level of apple supported by good vanilla depth, not so much of the smoke evident but I’m trying subtle on for size. The presentation was a relief, non of the garish colours and glass choices a mediocre mixologist may be tempted by when daunted by the lack of alcohol. I left suitably sated by my little glass of appleliciousness. I have to say the pre party drinks were the highlight of the evening  8/10 swizzle sticks.

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Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel lobby bar

Not the usual bar I’d frequent but it happens to be a gem on Melbourne Cup day, it’s across the road from work and unlike everywhere else it is quiet enough to get served and has big screens. It becomes a semi precious stone when served with champagne. My team and I took a quick break from a gruelling day in the office and made the dash across the street to this hotel lobby bar in time for the race. In early November my colleagues didn’t know that I was pregnant so I wanted to order a drink that looked suitably boozy. The mocktail was listed in the menu as a strawberry crush. That’s pretty much what it was, strawberries crushed with ice, bland and watery. In a word – unimaginative. As to presentation – there is something about these glasses (pictured below) that just instantly cries bad holidays in cheap resorts (not that I’d know). So the choice of glassware immediately detracted a bucket load of points in my opinion. It did look suitably festive, in a 1994 kind of way, and being focussed on the bad presentation and bland flavour did distract me from the appalling teal and red squiggle carpet. At least my horse won. 2/10 swizzle sticks.

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Corridor

After BBQ pre dinner drinks, a small bar I’ve not seen before at Newtown. Grungy ambience but serious looking bar tenders – a good sign. I ordered a citrusy mocktail and got a nice lemon and blackcurrant mocktail in a short glass (yay). Good tart flavour, very drinkable, doesn’t look mocked up! I give it 7/10 swizzle sticks Fran joining me after 5.5 beers says a solid 8.5/10 swizzle sticks

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Palmer & Co

After work drinks with two colleagues Anna and Catherine, I ordered my first mocktail in front of an audience. They looked askance at me as I fumbled through the excuse of over indulgence during my recent trip to Norway, detox, um trying to feel healthier, yeah they didn’t buy it, actually Anna bought me the mocktail once I admitted defeat to my lies and told my news.

Palmer & Co is a true speak easy themed bar part of the Merivale chain. It is in the basement of an old building (actually it used to be a heritage listed bank that conveniently burnt down then restored and rebuilt into Establishment) and is a favourite after work venue.

We went there on a Tuesday and the bar waitress said they didn’t have a mocktail list but tell me the flavours and the bartender will concoct something.

The mocktail had cranberry and lime flavours, was served in an american champagne glass and was damn good. The right mix of sour and sweet, a good balance of flavours with nice attention to presentation and taste. It was also reasonably priced, for Sydney. The drink did not look like a mocktail which is important, and didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on anything. Accordingly I give the mocktail on this occasion an 8/10 swizzle sticks