The winter weather has well and truly hit Melbourne. But it’s not all doom and gloom – far from it. As the sun disappears and the blanket of grey descends, Melburnians swarm into bars and hotels for a little liquid warmth in the form of whisky. And what better whisky to warm up with than Ardbeg?
The first weekend of June every year is Ardbeg Day. To mark the occasion the distillery releases a limited edition whisky – in 2018 that whisky is Ardbeg Grooves. This limited edition brew has been created in wine casks that have been intensely charred until heavy grooves formed on the wood. From this experimental process rises an aromatic whisky reminiscent of smoked spices, distant bonfires and chilli-seasoned meats.
This year the Ardbeg Day celebrations aren’t confined to a single day. You can honour Ardbeg all throughout June by heading into one of these six top Melbourne venues that are serving Ardbeg cocktails and whisky flights. Plus for each soul-warming Ardbeg cocktail you try, you'll receive a free limited-edition Ardbeg coaster. Stay warm and celebrate Ardbeg – head into these venues between June 2 (Ardbeg Day) and June 30 to experience one of the world’s smokiest whiskies.
Cocktails are serious business at 1806 – even their name is a salute to mixology, with 1806 the year 'cocktail' entered our vernacular. The staff here know their stuff with the bar having won awards such as Best Cocktail List in the World' and Cocktail Bar of the Year for Victoria. So whatever 1806's team of mixologists brew up with Ardbeg, you can be pretty sure of its quality. Drop into 1806 from June 2 to sample their special Ardbeg cocktail.
Tucked inside bar-turned-restaurant-turned-club Ms Collins, the Whisky Boutique prides itself on offering a bespoke whisky experience. Come in and sample some of the boutique's finest amber vintages – you can even buy a bottle to take home. There's everything from top-shelf single malts to undergound small batch brews, making the Whisky Boutique a fine place to expand your whisky repertoire. Drop in during June to try a flight of Ardbeg whiskies.
Why have whisky or beer when you can have both? Boilermaker House has around 900 different whiskies to choose from as well a growing list of craft beers on tap. They're as unassuming as their sister venue Eau de Vie, but their speakeasy aesthetic works in their favour. During the June Ardbeg celebrations Boilermaker House will be combining their love of whisky with their love of craft beer and creating a special brew inspired by Ardbeg.
George's Bar is more than just a novelty. The George Costanza-themed venue has managed to stand the test of time thanks to its friendly staff and all-rounder attitude: you can get a great Old Fashioned, beer or Seinfeld-themed toastie (the Art Vandelay is particularly cheesy). Drop in during June to try the bar's special Ardbeg cocktail with George.
From the plush, navy wrap-around lounges to the glitzy chandelier over the bar, the Kilburn is all class. The Hawthorn clubhouse is known for its excellent whisky, whether it be poured neat or mixed into a cocktail. Speaking of cocktails, the Kilburn will be whipping up a very special cocktail with Ardbeg from June 2 until the end of the month.
Melbourne's whisky scene improved dramatically when Whisky and Alement opened shop back in 2010. Though the bar boasts an impressive variety of whiskies, novices shouldn't be intimidated as the staff will happily guide you. Throughout June Whisky and Alement will be celebrating Ardbeg's history with whisky flights featuring old and new Ardbeg editions.