Handsome Bar in three drinks

Published on September 6 2019.

Photo: The Up To No Good cocktail (photo: Stevie Hatz)

Happy days: Bligh Place favourite Souk has split and produced a sister venue that’s as vegan-friendly as it is good looking. Handsome Bar is all about the plant-based lifestyle, right into the small hours.

We asked general manager Alla Payne (an alumna of Lucy Liu) and 2IC Stevie Hatz (late of St Ali) to talk us through the bar’s charms in three rounds.

Ursula

“When I think of a new cocktail, more often than not the idea stems from music or film, so when I was approached by Husk Distillers and tested the London Dry Inked gin, I knew exactly what personality the drink called for,” says Payne.

“The colour of the gin comes from an infusion of flower petal that naturally stains the drink a light purple, stirred down with a half shot of equal parts Pavan muscat liqueur, white vermouth and a splash of lemon juice, served straight up with a lemon twist. The ingredients bring out the character we intended for it – she's villainous yet ladylike which comes through in the delicate and intriguing flavour profile.”

Ursula

Up To No Good

“A mezcal Old Fashioned with a Handsome twist. House-made cola syrup gives it the rock star edge without outshining the stunning Del Maguey Vida mezcal. The smoky profile is really lifted and showcased with lemon bitters,” says Payne. “Stevie and I shared one when we were polishing the specs, and the first thing we said to each other was, ‘a few of these and you'd definitely be up to no good’.”

Wildman Wine “Heavy Petting” Pét Nat 2018

“When we were choosing wines, one stood out to us. The fresh pet was stunning in aroma and body with beautiful notes of freshly picked wild raspberries balanced well with natural salts and citrus. Smooth to drink with a bit of class and a clear conscience.

"It’s an organic wine made mostly of nero d’Avola. Tim Wildman makes it in small batches, harvesting and bottling it by hand, which aligns with what Handsome is all about. Being a plant-focused venue, we place emphasis on sustainable and natural processes in the products that we serve. We want to be able to offer an education to on the quality of all our products, especially the less understood ones, for anyone who wants it."

Handsome Bar, 13 Bligh Place, Melbourne, handsome.bar