Behind the Bar Snap Shot

The Australian Bar Where G&Ts Are the Star

Anytime you see the phrase, “Smile, there’s gin,” you can be fairly certain your night is going to go well.

At the new Stillery, which opened in the fall of 2015 in Sydney, gin is the name of the game. More than 70 gins from around the world. A dozen tonics. A point-of-view about the magic of combining the two.

Home Base

According to bar manager Aaron Gaulke, “There are very few gin bars in Australia, so we decided to capitalize on that.” And to honor the homeland, Stillery carries 25 Australian gins, including Four Pillars, The West Winds, Bass & Finders Distillery, along with up-and-coming producers such as Copperwave, considered the country’s first organic gin. The botanicals in many of the domestic gins are familiar. Other local gins feature distinctive native ingredients, such as finger limes and bush tomatoes.

But Stillery isn’t devoted solely to hometown bottles. The remainder of the upwards of 70 gins available at Stillery come from across the globe. In a coup of sorts, Stillery is reportedly the only bar in the country to carry Anty Gin, a collaboration between the non-profit, Copenhagen-based Nordic Food Lab and Cambridge Gin. As its name implies, Anty Gin contains the essence of approximately 62 red wood ants, known for defending their communities by spurting formic acid. This defensive mechanism—according to the gin’s producers—creates various aromatic esters and chemical pheromones in the liquid. We perceive those as aromas. The first batch of gin was released in a limited quantity of 99 bottles, each accompanied by a 50-milliliter bottle of pure-wood, ant distillate.

The Cross Street Cover Girl, made with gin, pink grapefruit, vanilla and sage.

The Better to Mix You With

A bar that focuses on gin and tonics needs a varied supply of tonics. Stillery is a tonic specialist and offers a dozen, ranging from the bold and bitter Their Burma Tonic to The Volstead Act Company Tonic Syrup, with East Imperial Tonic as the house pour.

As much as Stillery loves its G&Ts, there are plenty of other cocktails to choose from, too. There’s even a large-format menu section, called Falling for You, which includes the Double Bay Yacht Club (made with gin, pineapple juice, green tea and orange bitters) and a Winter Pimms for Two.


33 Cross Street, Double Bay, New South Wales, 2028, Australia

Phone: +61 2 8388 8372

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about drinks for two decades. She is the principal of the San Francisco–based Liza the Wine Chick consulting firm and regularly contributes to publications such as Wine Business Monthly, DrinkUpNY and the SOMM Journal.