Small tastings, huge choice
‘Assaggini’ might be Italian for ‘small tastings’, but there’s nothing small about its atmosphere, menu or cocktail list. This effervescent, up-market restaurant and wine bar just off Main St is loved by wine connoisseurs with discerning palettes, and its bar has a rotating range of local and exotic tipples bolstered by a variety of inventive cocktails. You can even book a cocktail party for family, friends or workmates — and with Christmas fast approaching, what better venue for your end-of-year break-up?
In true ‘tapas’ tradition, the food at Assaggini is designed for sharing, and if you’re a vegan there’s a great choice of vegan antipasto, pizzas and delectable desserts. So gather those closest to you and settle in for an epicurean experience to remember — and keep those cocktails coming.
A: 1C Albert St, Mornington
T: 5973 5791
Fall under a black magic spell
Bar Noir is well known for its original and creative cocktail offerings. It’s always evolving and playing, brainstorming with its chefs and attempting to incorporate new ingredients or flavours into its drinks.
The Martini Noir is one such example — a creamy, sweet and slightly spicy concoction of Vantage, ginger liquor, egg white and Australian native bush pepper syrup. When first poured it has a muddy grey hue and appears for all the world like something that should not be drunk, but as it settles in the glass like a Guinness it slowly gets darker and darker to finish jet-black with a fluffy crisp white foam on top.
There’s a bit of magic on the palate too. With background spice, sweetness and the quintessentially Australian flavour notes of the Vantage liquor, it has many layers — a classy sophisticated drink.
A: 37 Main St, Mornington
T: 5973 4047
Bass & Flinders Distillery
Puttin’ on the spritz
What better way to get your festive season off and humming than with a Cerise Christmas Spritz from Bass & Flinders Distillery. Simply add 30ml of Bass & Flinders Pink Cerise Gin — available from the Bass & Flinders website or at the cellar door — and 60ml of Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water to a champagne saucer, top up with prosecco and garnish with rose petals and fresh raspberries. Christmas in a glass!
Bass & Flinders is an artisanal distillery producing grape-based spirit and whose range includes award-winning gins, eau de vie, limoncello, vodka and its five-year aged spirit, Ochre. Visit the cellar door over summer or book in for a gin masterclass — but please note the distillery is moving mid-December so keep an eye on the website for address details.
BASS AND FLINDERS DISTILLERY
T: 5989 3154 (cellar door)
Awaken your inner beast
Absinthe, colloquially termed “the green fairy”, rose to popularity in the late 19th century, especially among Parisian artists and writers. Although portrayed as an addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen, the effects of this anise-flavoured spirit have been grossly exaggerated — it’s no more dangerous than other spirits.
The Green Beast is a refreshing nod to its troubled and dramatic past. Absinthe, cucumber, lime and sugar combine to create a delicious libation. Be prepared to awaken the beast of your tastebuds after sipping this green cocktail.
Brass Razu is a dedicated cocktail and wine bar and is open Tuesday-Sunday from noon until late.
BRASS RAZU WINE BAR
A: 13 Main St, Mornington
T: 5975 0108
Casa de Playa
All aboard the Casa Espress’O
If grazing on some Spanish-inspired tapas, sipping cocktails and generally having a good time are high on your agenda, then you should definitely drop into Casa de Playa this summer.
The Casa Espress’O is Casa’s signature espresso martini — a smooth and sumptuous mixture of Salted Karamel vodka, Kahlua and vanilla syrup, finished off with a hit of Little Rebel espresso.
Plenty frothy and gorgeously moreish thanks to its decadent crunchy honeycomb crumble topping, we’re pretty sure Casa de Playa’s take on this classic will leave you wanting more — it truly is a bittersweet obsession.
We suggest you assemble the crew, book a table for lunch or dinner and drink a Casa Espress’O between each course. Why? Because you can!
See you there.
CASA DE PLAYA
A: 39 Main St, Mornington
T: 5976 1276
Two Buoys Tapas & Wine Bar
Another day in paradise
Meet Phil Collins — the better looking, more talented cousin of Tom! A sweet mix of vodka, green chartreuse, cranberry, lime, and muddled cucumber, this cocktail represents summer on the Peninsula — fresh, breezy, and easy-goin’.
TWO BUOYS RESTAURANT
A: 209 Pt Nepean Rd, Dromana
T: 5981 8488