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three bottles of Foreign Return cocktails with pigeons on them and a rocks glass with ice cubes
Photograph: Supplied Foreign Return

The best Sydney-made bottled cocktails you can order right now

If you can't go to the bar, let the bar come to you

Written by
Maxim Boon
&
Elizabeth McDonald
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Fact: Sydney’s cocktail game is one of the strongest in Australia. Thanks to our top-flight barkeeps elevating the art of mixology into the stratosphere and the elite local boutique distilleries producing world-class liquor, there’s some damn good drinking to be had in the Harbour City – even during lockdown.

Many of Sydney’s best bars and distilleries are now producing bottled cocktails, so thirsty punters can experience the finesse of a carefully crafted drink from the comfort of their own home. We’ve picked some of the best of the bunch currently available in Sydney. Bottoms up!

Need to restock the cocktail cart? Place an order at these top Sydney bottle shops that deliver.

The best boozy bottles in Sydney

The booze boffins at PS40 create more than just delicious drinks – they create stories told through taste. Anyone who has sampled one of their extraordinary cocktails at their CBD bar knows that there's more than a little theatre involved, which might just be the trickiest thing to replicate in a pre-batched format. Michael Chiem and his team have given it a red hot go with their brilliantly witty lockdown offering – a mix'n'match box featuring three beverages of your choice from a range of five riffs on the classics: the Basque Old Fashioned, a Zeneca Zombie, the Full Bergamonty, Gladys' Gimlet and the Breakfast Negroni.

The swingin’ cats at the award-winning 1950s Vegas-inspired cocktail lounge are no strangers to the concept of pre-mixed drinks. Many of their signature cocktails are available at the group's pizza joint Maybe Frank, bottled and ready to pour. But not ones to rest on their laurels, the Maybe Sammy team has created a trio of bottled cocktails specifically aimed at the stay-at-home market. These aren’t big, flashy party starters, but rather sophisticated and soothing nightcaps, like the Jasmine Negroni, the Eucalyptus Gimlet and the delightfully chill (and chilled) Chamomile Martini. You can order them as 100-millilitre single servings, either individually or in a swish trio with their very own display case, or as a half-litre bottle if you’re really feeling parched.

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If you prefer your cocktail hour to have a bit of Latin flair, this little slice of Mexico in the heart of Paddington has just the thing. The Mockingbird team has six mixes to choose from, including the bar’s signature spicy Margarita, an Old Fashioned, an Espresso Martini and a Negroni, in either a solo serve for $15 or a six-serve bottle for $90. Best of all, they're served in up-cycled Patron bottles that are cute as a button and eco-friendly. They’re available for pick-up or delivery on orders over $30 to most of Central Sydney. Top tip: you can also order a range of Latin American snacks that make the perfect sidekick to your beverage.

A relative newcomer to the Quarantini market, the mission of these hand-crafted drinks is to make blended cocktails a breeze. Simply, chill, shake (hence the name) and you’re ready to pour your twist on a classic. There’s a lot to love about the Twisted Shaker range. They’re artificial flavour and preservative free; there’s a mix of crowd pleasers like an Espresso Martini and a Margarita alongside more inventive options like the cucumber Gimlet or the raspberry and hibiscus Cosmo; they’re made right here in Sydney (but available for delivery nationwide); and they’re surprisingly cheap. Available in a 200ml bottle (3 standard drinks) for $14.99 or 700ml (11 standard drinks) for $39.99, it works out at just under $5 a glass. You bet your damn life it’s happy hour at those rock bottom prices.

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The OG pre-batched masters at the Continental Deli were making their trademark canned cocktails long before our boozing had to be socially distanced. What was once a cute novelty has turned out to be a lockdown lifesaver, especially if you’re a fan of puns. There are four classics to choose from: the Mar-tinny, the Cosmopoli-tin and the Can-hattan (see what they did there?), as well as a Negroni so good, there's no wordplay required. They even come with the garnish already included in the tin, so your beverage can go from popped lid to pursed lip in mere seconds. You can pick them up at both Continental’s Newtown and CBD outlets, and why not treat yourself to some top-shelf charcuterie while you’re at it?

There are gin, vodka and whisky distilleries aplenty in Australia. But craft rum, that’s a far rarer drop. Which is why fans of the pirates’ grog of choice should immediately head to the Surry Hills HQ of Brix Distillers, where you’ll find an impressively expansive range of ready-to-pour rum-fuelled options. You can pick up rum-based riffs on the Negroni, Old Fashioned and Manhattan, a range of fruity and tropical RTDs, and even a mix-your-own Espresso Martini pack.

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Just as Foreign Return's food menu is far from your typical Aussie-Indian fare, the team have created some far from typical cocktails to take home during lockdown. There are familiar names, sure, but that's just about all that's predictable about their take away cocktail fare.  In the Old Fashioned you'll find whisky infused with saffron, fennel, cardamom and orange bitters. Gins are infused with marigold, jamun (black plum) and turmeric. Foreign Return's spirits are all served in a Pauwa, an type of Indian hip flask that is a "drinker's best friend" and the perfect accompaniment to small snacking plates, all of which can be ordered for take away.

The world's first zero-waste bar, recently opened by cocktail virtuoso Matt Whiley in Sydney's shiny new South Eveleigh dining precinct, is transforming into the Re Up Bottle Shop during lockdown. For the first time, you'll be to take home Whiley's sensational mixes, including his crowd-pleasing Melon Negroni or the refreshing Yuzu Margarita. Made using waste-conscious techniques and upcycled produce, not only are they delicious, they're also sustainable and ethical to boot. 

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Mother's ruin is lockdown's salvation, thanks to an innovative pivot by Grant Collins' gin den in Chippendale. The Gin Lane Drive Thru was a hit during its first iteration in 2020, and it's making a welcome return during this latest lockdown. Simply make your order online, then pick it up without ever stepping out of your car – but don't worry if you don't have a set of wheels, because you can also pop by to pick up your order on foot. There are a heap of options to choose from with classic favourites shoulder to shoulder with signature twists. Want a more hands-on cocktail experience? Collins is also hosting digital cocktail masterclasses on Friday evenings at 5pm, live-streamed on the Gin Lane Instagram page. 

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Cocktail powerhouse Jacoby's has teamed up with wine delivery service, Built to Spill Wines to get their bottled tiki tipples sent straight to your door. Among the offerings are crowd favourites the Damn Fine Coffee, an homage to 90's mystery-horror series Twin Peaks, as well as Pina Coladas, Margaritas and classic cocktails from Jacoby's sister venue, Earl's Juke Joint. Get your mitts on some of the best dang drinks in town here.

In the mood for something sweet?

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