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Drinks Service Award: Time Out Food Awards 2016

For innovative beverage offerings that take restaurant meals to another level

Photograph: Graham Denholm

Winner: Lûmé

The bar at Lûmé, and its manager Nick Tesar, are among the very best in Australia, full stop. The level of creativity, the use of incredible techniques and left-field ingredients, the beautiful presentations and above all the imminently enjoyable flavours are second to none. The ‘Postcard’ cocktail with rum and wattle seed smells like an old hayloft and tastes like biscuits and honey, presented in a Champagne flute topped with permanent bubbles. But, so much more than cocktails, every aspect of the drinks service is on point.

The outstanding wine list includes beautiful fortified wines, sakés and local vermouths. The spirits offering looks under every rock to find rare gems like agricole rum, mezcal, whisky from India, Western Australian gin and some of the rarest American whiskey in production. If you’re sitting down to dinner, you’ll want to do the matched drinks, too. Your Jerusalem artichoke bread with smoked eel butter and honey comes with a special bottling of unfiltered Maidenii vermouth, the intense wormwood grabbing the deep earthiness of the artichoke and tossing it headlong into the stratosphere. A starter of a corn taco might be served with Boon’s Mariage Geuze, a sour, salty beer that’s then metamorphosed with the addition of house-made liqueur into a cherry lambic to match the next course. Mind blown.

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