What to drink: A refreshing Gimlet or a lip-puckering Negroni (pictured)
Best for... Gin connoisseurs. This Russell St gin hide-out has a bar that looks like an encyclopedia for both Australian and international gins, from the small batch to the staple. The basement cocktail lounge's enduring appeal and 20-year commitment to gin made it a clear choice for Time Out's 2016 Legend Award.
What to drink: The classic gin martini or a fun Tropical Gin Fizz (pictured)
Best for... Classics done bloody well. While 1806 is best known for their whiskies, the bar also does a mean gin cocktail including the pineapple-tinted Tropical Gin Fizz, Clover Club (originally created in the 1900s), and the clean Gibson with West Winds Sabre and Noilly Prat Dry vermouth.
What to drink: Any one of the page-long list of locally made gins, on the rocks or with tonic.
Best for... Testing out some of Australia's best locally produced gins. Their drinks menu has a page dedicated to gins including Four Pillars Gin and Melbourne Gin Company from Melbourne, Tasmania's McHenry and Poltergeist, as well as Ironbark and Noble Cut from New South Wales. These gins are so good we recommend trying them on the rocks or in a simple cocktail to fully appreciate the incredible botanicals.
What to drink: Whatever the flavour of the month is
Best for… A cocktail menu that changes every month. Or if you want to impress a date. This tiny cocktail bar comes up with a fresh cocktail menu every month, so naturally the summer months are usually populated by gin-based tipples. At the time of writing, they’ve got a couple of flamboyant-sounding cocktails named the Fancy Boy (gin, Italian vermouth, lemon, ginger, soda) and the Merry Widow (gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, absinthe).
What to drink: The Sloe Sour with Sloe gin, Melbourne Gin Company gin, mint and lemon
Best for… Gin with gourmet bar snacks. This chic Smith St eatery likes their small batch makers and you'll probably find yourself sipping on a tipple involving Four Pillars, The Settler's Gin, or Melbourne Gin Company. Try the classy French 75, a champagne, gin and lemon number, with an oyster platter.
More cocktails this way
Next to craft beers, cocktails are probably the lifeblood of Melbourne's nightlife. From well-done classics to elaborate concoctions, Melbourne's bars know how to shake, stir and muddle the best cocktails to fuel thirsty punters into the wee hours.