Dulcie’s Kings Cross, Sydney’s first all-Australian spirits bar brings together local stories and Australian flavours in a cocktail glass.
At the dimly-lit intimate bar, the new winter menu is as much a journey through often forgotten historical stories of Sydney as it is an exploration of unique Australian flavours through local spirits.
Take the Pretty Dulcie, not the bar’s namesake but named after Dulcie Markham, one of Sydney’s most expensive ‘ladies of the night’ who ensured every man she became romantically involved with met a macabre end. She’s represented in a pink cocktail with Stone Pine Rhubarb Gin, sweetened with pear and rosemary syrup, shaken with citrus and finished with a spray of honey and lemon myrtle vodka. The first sip tantalises the palate, balancing sweet and sour notes, but unlike her story, the only gruesome ending is your empty glass.
While London had ‘The Savoy’ and New York had ‘The Plaza’, Sydney had ‘The Australia’, a hotel in Martin Place which hosted the likes of Sarah Bernhardt, Robert Helpmann and Marlene Dietrich before it was replaced by the Harry Seidler’s MLC building. The Australian Fizz pays homage to the 1891 hotel which was once the paradigm of Australian hospitality. It’s as Australian as it gets with the unique flavour of Ironbark Wattleseed Gin shaken sour style with citrus, sugar, pepperberry bitters and aquafaba then topped with PS40’s Wattle Cola and white chocolate shavings.
Australians may know of Norman Lindsay as the author of the children’s book ‘The Magic Pudding’ yet he was also known for his erotic depictions of women throughout the 1920’s. He is epitomised in Mr Lindsay’s Pudding, where house-spiced corn sour mash meets apple and lemon juice, three spice gomme, aquafaba and fig & cinnamon bitters and a dusting of cassia bark. It tastes of winter and warm spices, and gets you ready for a bedtime story.
Naughty Mrs Norton brings coconut fat-washed Tromba Tequila, Mr Black Amaro, Marionette Cassis Liqueur and macadamia bitters into a boozy, stirred down sipper that seduces to the last sip. The drink is named after Rosaleen Norton, aka the ‘Sex Witch of Kings Cross’ who practised animal sacrifice and became the only Australian artist to ever have her work destroyed by a court order.
Sweethearts Café was a Kings Cross institution, a kitchen that filled Sydney’s underbellies and was immortalised in the song Breakfast at Sweethearts. The Sweethearts cocktail pays it homage in a tasty riff on the old-fashioned with Muscat-infused Beenleigh Double Barrel Rum, stirred down with cherry brandy, a dash of grapefruit bitters and a burnt lemon myrtle leaf garnish.
How do you create a drink that pays tribute to Balmain confectioner Harry Crawford, whose fear of persecution led him to abandon his only daughter and later in life murder his wife when his secret was about to be exposed? The man – who was in fact an Italian woman named Eugenia Felleni – is represented in a flip, with 10 Year Old Tawny Port and Beenleigh Traditional Honey, gomme syrup, Milo and one whole egg, complete with a dusting of Milo on top. And that’s The Trouble with Harry.
Sydney stories have never tasted this good.
Click through the following pages to view a selection of Dulcie’s Kings Cross winter cocktails.