Melbourne’s Cookie beer hall and cocktail bar have long been known for excellence across all fronts weather it be their superb Thai fusion cuisine or their extensive selection of beers, wines, and cocktails, Cookie consistently strives to do everything well, adhering to a high level of service across all fronts of hospitality. We had the opportunity to sit down with their Cocktail Manager Nick Selvadurai, a New Zealand-born Melbournite, to talk about the philosophy behind the cocktail bar and what makes them a consistent hot spot after eleven years on bustling Swanston Street in the city.
Often it’s the decor or sprit range which give a bar its unique flare, but in Cookie’s case, it’s the service overall that keeps the second floor space consistent. There’s no shortage of spirits used in their cocktail menu, which holds over 85 drinks categorized into eleven-pages ranging from seasonal to classics, a focus on daiquiris, and experimental recipes. While there’s no particular drink they’re known for, Selvadurai mentioned their frozen daiquiri with watermelon, strawberry, and chili is quite popular, and he plans to expand the list in the coming months. They’ve also got over 200 beers on tap, an epic bible of a wine list with over 400 varieties, and barrel aged cocktails on tap, changing regularly.
The decor of the space is also worth mentioning with painted leather walls, ornamental tall ships, stacks of vintage books, paper doilies, and organized kitch surrounding the bar. When we visited the space in Melbourne’s summer, Selvadurai showed us how to make one of their fresh seasonal drinks called The Philanthropist, which according to the menu is “like its namesake… created for the betterment of the people.” Light, delicate, and aromatic, the cocktail mixes gin, Lillet Rose, Liqueur de Mirrabelle (plum liqueur), lemon juice, cardamom bitters, a berry infused tea syrup made in house, and a hint of egg white.
Shaken and served in an stemmed coupe, The Philanthropist is perfect for the beginning days of summer when juicy berries just start to pop up locally (in Australia their seasons are reversed). Take a look at our photos of Nick in action at Cookie, preparing this delicate rose-coloured cocktail and be sure to pop into Cookie to enjoy one first hand.
The Philanthropist Cocktail
45ml Beefeater 24
15ml Liqueur de Mirrabelle
10ml House Berry Syrup
10ml Lillet Rose
15ml Lemon Juice
15ml Egg White
1 Dash Bob’s Cardamom Bitters
Dry shake all ingredients, then shake again with cubed ice and double strain into a nifty chilled coupette glass, and garnish with a slice of fresh cut strawberry and a few drops of bitters to get the fresh aromas on top of the drink.