Nick and Nora's in three drinks

Published on 11 November 2020

Photo: Nick and Nora's is full of Art Deco flourishes (credit: Brook James)

In Dashiell Hammett’s pulp classic The Thin Man, Nick and Nora Charles are a dashing murder-solving duo. In Melbourne, Nick and Nora’s is a new addition to the CBD’s cocktail scene.

It’s a substantial bar but its owners have more than a little form; they’re Greg Anderson and Sven Almenning, the owner-operators of The Speakeasy Group, which includes Eau de Vie, Mjølner in Melbourne and Sydney, and Nick and Nora’s sibling venue in Parramatta.

The bar, which opened in early July before Melbourne’s second lockdown, was one of the first to open in Melbourne’s 80 Collins precinct ahead of other high-profile neighbours coming soon. It champions cocktails, Champagne, Cognac and caviar in a room rich in Deco flourishes, gold and green marble, balconies and booths.

The cocktail list, created by award-winning bartender Kayla Reid, features sections highlighting, among other things, sours and Martinis. Here co-owner Greg Anderson takes us on a three-drink tour.

Asa Akira

We love Martinis, and have devoted an entire section of our list to our signature Martini creations named The Femme Fatale. No selection of Martini twists would be complete without a play on the Dirty Martini. Ours, named Asa Akira, is a Japanese-inspired twist on the classic with a gin base and house-made melon brine (a waste ingredient from producing one of our other house-made ingredients) that delivers the salty and vegetal punch we have come to expect and love from a Dirty Martini. Complemented by a sake steeped briefly in puffed brown rice to round it all out and served with a side of pickled ginger, this drink is complex and super-moreish. An instant staff favourite.

Nick & Nora's Spritz

Nick and Nora’s Spritz

Being a cocktail and Champagne bar replete with three outdoor terraces, it’s always Spritz o’clock at Nick and Nora’s. The Nick and Nora’s Spritz combines gin, Aperol, Suze and a house-made Champagne and watermelon cordial. Not only do the watermelon and Champagne take this deliciously refreshing beverage to the next level but there’s also the option to upgrade your bubbly, with three different sparkling wines to choose from. You can also make it a party by ordering by the carafe. 

Nick & Nora's Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket

The Grasshopper is a polarising cocktail. When Kayla Reid, our bar manager, said she wanted a Grasshopper twist on the menu the reaction was exactly that: polarising. The finished result, however, is far from polarising, with Kayla’s spin already a stand-out favourite. Vodka, crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, green Chartreuse, amaretti, pandan and celery bitters are washed together with a milk and cream mixture which is then clarified, leaving a creamy, lactic palate-weight and mouthfeel without actually having milk or cream in the finished drink. 

Nick and Nora’s, open Wed-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 2pm-11am, 80 Collins St (enter via 11 Benson Walk, the arcade connecting Collins Street to Little Collins), Melbourne, (03) 8393 9367, nickandnoras.com.au@nickandnorasmelbourne

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