Please don't ask for these shaken, not stirred. But absolutely enjoy them any other which way you like. From dirty with olive juice to wet with a twist of citrus, these are our picks of Sydney's finest, booziest Martinis. At all of these bars, the tuxedo is optional, but a swaggy attitude is obviously mandatory.
Seven kickass Sydney Martinis
Nothing gets more local than drinking a Martini made with the house gin, distilled just over the other side of the bonded warehouse in Rosebery. We like ours dirty and here they get the brine balance bang on. Combined with the gently spiced citrus and herbal notes in the house gin, the finished product is an excellent advertisement for the joys of white spirits in these days of whisky domination.
Some people might say that freeing your gin Martini from its aluminium prison via ringpull might lack the panache of having it stirred down in crystal at the bar. Those people broke up with fun a long time ago. At Continental, the new deli/bar descended from the Porteno family, the mix of gin, lillet blanc and purified water super-chilled in a can with a little lemon zest is captured at the perfect dilution point where the gentle citrus, juniper and pine aromas come to the fore. Three green olives on the side let garnish fans go nuts.
There is a time and a place for a Martini, and never is it more appropriate to order a short, sharp and super-cold cocktail than when you’re propping up an elegant bar in a fancy hotel. The nice thing about Four Seasons’ bar Grain is that you can enter directly off the street so it doesn’t necessarily feel like a hotel bar – it could just be a really sleek, low-lit establishment with a penchant for textured walls and making a Tanqueray Martini that would make Her Majesty’s Secret Service proud. You don’t need to be a high flyer to drink here, but a tipple here will make you feel like one.
You know what great service is? It's a bartender who is happy and willing to make you a half-sized gin Martini – because you're not up for a double shot of liquor but you also want to be in on the fun at this terrace cocktail bar on Stanley Street. Not only that, but your sip-sized libation will come in a sweet little pewter cocktail glass so you can feel like a regal giant.
This sleek, high finance bar knows its audience. All the vodkas and gins on their extensive bar list are priced at a 30ml pour as well as a 60ml Martini. Nothing will make you feel more Wall Street Down Under than ordering up an impossibly tender minute steak with a spiced version of Café de Paris butter and a dry Martini made with a local Australian spirit – and letting the discussions about investment portfolios wash over you in the low-lit bar.
The Roosevelt in Potts Point has never been commander in chief, but in its arsenal is a seriously good liquid-nitrogen Martini, called the Continental. They take the hard decisions out of the equation by using vodka and gin, Cocchi Americano in place of vermouth and a little Chartreuse to add more herbal variety and complexity to your drink. The serving suggestion recommends an oyster on the side, and it’s solid advice – hell, why not make it two of the plump and briny little bivalves.
You’ll be spending a fair whack of cash in a single hit when you order up a Martini at Sokyo, especially if you prefer the fair trade, quinoa vodka over the house pour, but when you’re in the mood for some old-world glamour this is a good place to indulge. Like it dry, Kings Cross dirty, and with extra olives? A drink matching your precise specifications will be delivered to the metallic velvet armchairs you’re reclining in, and if you’re then prompted to order some of the most elegant sushi in the city, far be it from us to stop you.