Eau de Vie Apothecary, Darlinghurst

Eau de Vie Apothecary has opened in Darlinghurst, occupying the space that was once Bottleneck Bar at the Kirketon Hotel where Eau de Vie bar resides. The intimate 24 person bar is headed by Phil Gandevia aka Dr Phil and brings to Sydney a unique cocktail experience.

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

The concept is more akin to a restaurant than a bar. The idea is to make a reservation and order a flight of three drinks during a period of two hours. The cocktails are designed to be a progression of flavours, around four different themes.

Down the Garden Path is a cocktail collection inspired by the vegetable garden, seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs. It’s light and fresh starting with an invigorating cocktail and ending with a savoury-sweet and textural drink.

His & Hers is a section designed for couples from first dates to honeymoon and because drinking with someone is often more enjoyable than drinking alone. The cocktails can be enjoyed privately in the “kissing booths” which bear pictures of the heart and the mind, where you can follow either. His and Hers drinks are inspired by perfumes and fragrances with highly aromatic cocktails wuth an interactive element.

What the Doctor Ordered is described as restorative and adventurous and this is where Dr Phil is at his creative best. He pushes the boundaries with technically difficult drinks and some incongruous ingredients.

The fourth section is Eau de Vie 3 Way with a heading/theme that changes frequently. Currently it’s Eau de Vie Bacon 3 Way in celebration of Australia Bacon Week with cocktails incorporating bacon in the drink and the garnish.

Whichever flight of cocktails you choose, you’re in for an experience that transcends a mere drink.

From Down the Garden Path comes C’est la Vie, essentially celery three ways with smoked celery salt, fresh celery juice, celery bitters. The cocktail has a combination of gin, Fino sherry and Polish Vodka with citrus, fennel juice and an edible fennel chip as garnish. The garnish is strategically placed near the straw to encourage interaction. Vegetal, revitalising, it’s light and refreshing and makes very easy drinking.

What’s Up Doc is Dr Phil’s tongue in cheek take on carrot cocktails inspired by a highly photographed dish, Carrots and Soil from Noma restaurant. Tequila, carrot, ginger, citrus and shisho come together in a beautiful presentation with pickled carrots designed to be edible. This is a drink you don’t want to end.

Beet Drop is a take on the famous snow egg by Quay Restaurant with fig-infused port, beetroot, tarragon, egg and chocolate. The glass is coated with confectioners sugar and the textural drink becomes a taste progression from the savoury to the sweet.

From His & Hers comes Pour Homme – Pour Femme, a French pun for a cocktail that you shake and pour for your other half. The shakers are labelled His and Hers, you shake your partner’s drink, cross hands and cross pour for your partner. The drinks are essentially the same, made with tea infused gin, clarified apple, lemon and custom vermouths. The lady’s drink is infused with strawberries and thyme and the man’s drink has rosemary and sage. Light and elegant with a touch of sweet from the strawberries, this is a cocktail suitable for a first date.

From What the Doctor Ordered, the Hot Retort is a take on the hot toddy and takes you back to chemistry class, if only Dr Phil was the teacher. Butterscotch Scotch, persimmon, citrus, winter spiced agave, dandelion, burdock and chocolate come together in a spicy, warming and feel-good drink.

The Bacon 3 Way menu offers a BLT like no other, a breakfast and a Bloody Mary with vodka, tomato consommé, arugula vermouth, with a side of witlof, cheese and Australian bacon. The Big Kahuna brings together bacon-infused bourbon, Cognac, pineapple syrup, pomegranate, sriracha, and black pepper smoke. The drink is served in the capped bottle which again forces interaction with the edible garnish.

Eau de Vie Apothecary is a cocktail only bar. Food is not served but the drinks have edible components. Another distinguishing feature of Eau de Vie Apothecary is the use of unmarked bottles as well as chemistry lab paraphernalia. The concept adds an element of mystery and magic when watching liquids and potions prepared by the good Doc.

Cocktail flights are $60 per three course cocktail and the drinks are the size shown in the photographs above with 1.5 standard drinks per serve. Cocktails can also be ordered individually as well as the Eau de Vie Small batch Cocktails by the bottle ($20). Bookings are taken at 6.30pm, 8.30pm and 10.30pm allowing patrons two hours in which to enjoy a flight of three cocktails.

Eau de Vie Apothecary offers an experience like no other in Sydney. Come in for an unforgettable cocktail flight and you’ll be gripped by the technical expertise behind the drinks and the Doctor’s magic potions.

Update June 2014 – Eau de Vie Apothecary is featured in Gourmantic’s 5th Birthday Progressive Bar & Restaurant Tour.

Eau De Vie Apothecary
(Inside the Kirketon Hotel before Eau de Vie Bar)
229 Darlinghurst Road,
Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010
Hours: Thu to Sat from 6pm
Reservations are highly recommended.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.