We all know we live in one of the most beautiful harbourfront cities in the world, but sometimes it takes riding up to the 36th floor of a famous hotel for cocktails to remind you just how incredible Sydney looks, especially from higher ground. The narrow galley bar that runs along the western side of Blu Bar on 36 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
may not be the cheapest place to get a drink, but it is one of the most spectacular. Nothing makes your problems feel miles away like downing an extremely boozy Rosemary Old Fashioned at a great height. The $28 price tag might give you pause, but it’s a big drink – think of it like two cocktails. First they add Cherry Heering and an Italian hazelnut and walnut liqueur to a mixing glass. Then comes a very generous pour of Michter’s rye. A little bitters and some charred rosemary stems are added for balance and the result is a nutty, almost sweet Old Fashioned that has a deep, resinous, earthy flavour and a nutty finish. Want something at the total other end of the spectrum? The Rising Sun is a prosecco sunrise, mixing Aperol and lemon juice to create an effect that calls to mind Venice’s famous Bellini, but with bitter citrus to balance the Italian sparkling. If you fancy one of the primo seats in the lounge with northern views out over the harbour you should aim to get in early, and remember there’s a smart casual dress code. But even if you don’t get the window seats, you’d be just as happy marvelling at Barangaroo point lit up by lamp posts and the incredible engineering feat that created the exit of the Cahill Expressway that loops up out of the sandstone foundations of the city and rings Fort Street Primary School.