Stillery, InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

At the new home of gin in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, sixty gins tempt the eye and the palate. A closer inspection reveals top shelf spirits, imported, vintage and some rare brands. Moreover, half the list is comprised of Australian gin.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Stillery, InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

At the recently opened Stillery at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, the seven-metre-long bar with marble and blue leather beckons. Located on the first floor near Stockroom restaurant, the imposing bar offers an intimate space with lounges, armchairs and marble coffee tables and an elegant grand piano.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Arched Windows

Arched windows frame the Double Bay village below and the elegant pale grey, blue and white colour scheme blends with the luxurious surrounds of the hotel.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Elegant Interior

The name “Stillery” pays tribute to the Australia’s first licensed distillery which was established in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs back in the 1820s, and the gin bar concept has been meticulously designed, planned and executed.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Long Bar with Seating

Stillery’s team includes Bar Operations Manager Katrina Ford (ex Guillaume, Glass Brasserie and Hugo’s Lounge) and Bar Manager Aaron Gaulke formerly of Hotel Centennial and Eau de Vie bar.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Some of the More Unusual Gin

Stillery carries an eclectic selection of local and international gin and is well worth discovering and learning the different nuances of the distilled spirit.

Le Gin 1 & 9 (40% ABV) from Avignon in the south of France has a fresh and floral nose perfumed with juniper and citrus peel, and a palate that is highly floral with lavender and lilac notes. From the creators of Hudson Whiskey comes Half Moon Orchard Gin (46% ABV) made from wheat and apples (80:20 ratio) from around the Hudson River. The nose is strong on orchard fruit, and the palate is smooth, fruity with apple notes and a pepper and spice finish.

Orange gold in appearance, Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin (40% ABV) has aromas of saffron reminiscent of the scent from macerating saffron threads in hot water. The palate is dry and savoury with a hint of spice and abundant saffron making it a fine sipping gin. Desert Juniper Gin from Oregon (41% ABV) has retrained aromas of juniper and faint citrus but explodes on the palate with a peppery burst then a short finish making it well suited for a gin and tonic.

Love single malt? Hailing from Scotland, Gilt Gin (40% ABV) is made from a 100% malted barley base. Nose, Grain notes are evident on the nose with barley and some juniper. The palate is creamy with barley notes and juniper becoming more evident on the finish. A gin

If Four Pillars Gin with its sweet orange and subdued juniper is not to your taste, Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin (58.8% ABV) from Australia’s Yarra Valley is set to convert you. Finger limes from Byron Bay are used along with organic oranges to bring a palate that explodes with citrus and juniper. High proof zesty and punchy.

Sloe gin is not forgotten with Monkey 47 Sloe Gin (29% ABV) with a nutty palate of dry almonds and not as sweet as some sloe gins tend to be, making it suitable for sipping as an after dinner drink or as an accompaniment to Christmas pudding.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Red Leaf Relaxing

The cocktail list is worthy of a close inspection and is divided into gin flavour categories, for example, C for citrus, H for herbaceous and S for spice. Martini aficionados can opt for the “Make Your Own Martini”, crafting their own drink based preferences in gin, washes, rinses, and garnishes. Choose from the list, or ask the bar team for their expertise in helping you select a drink. The cocktails names are at home with the locale with tongue in cheek references such as Double Bay Diva and She’ll Have The Last Word.

Named after Redleaf in Double Bay, Red Leaf Relaxing ($19) is made using Old Raj Gin which is known for its spicy character, house-made saffron and turmeric syrup, cinnamon sugar, cold pressed ginger and carrot juice, thyme and a flower garnish. Subtle flavours of spice with a balance of carrot juice and ginger make this cocktail very easy to sip any time of the day – a preferred choice for breakfast or brunch and an alternative to a Bloody Mary or a Bellini.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Spring Splash

For the Spring Splash, fresh coriander and ginger are muddled together, before No 3 London Dry Gin (in our top 10 gins guide), lemon juice, vanilla syrup are added. Light, refreshing and energising, a great balance of flavours makes it a good choice to sip one or two at any time of the day.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Torched Rosemary

Moving up in complexity, Two Sips and It’s Gone ($20) is a martini style drink made with clarified gazpacho, celery bitters, Botanic Australis Gin which we featured in a previously article, stirred down with smoked celery salt rim and torched rosemary.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Two Sips & It’s Gone

This is a cocktail that revels in complexity. Vegetal, earthy, smoky with a hint of bitterness on the finish, the palate is highly savoury, and one of the best savoury cocktails tasted this year. Freshly-shucked oysters and seafood would make fine accompaniments.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
The Spice Route

The Spice Route ($20) takes Hendricks Gin and mixes it with rose syrup, cold pressed cucumber juice and a house-made black pepper tincture made by macerating toasted black peppers in high proof alcohol. The result is a Hendricks’ style drink with the signature rose and cucumber coming thorough. A hint of spice from the pepper tincture balances the flavour without overpowering the drink. If you allow the drink to sit briefly in the Hendricks tea cup, the flavours develops further.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Right at Rushcutters

A take on the Ramos Gin Fizz, Right at Ruchcutters is a combination of Ford’s Gin, almond milk, orgeat, egg white, lemon myrtle, kaffir lime leaf and Green Chartreuse. Delicious with a nutty and almond flavour, the drink finishes with a mild bite from the Chartreuse.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Africano Affogato

The Stillery’s take on the ubiquitous Espresso Martini is well worth choosing. Served Affogato style, No 3 London Gin is mixed with dark cacao, Mr Black coffee liqueur, topped with Africano foam and sprinkled with wattle seeds.

Should you feel peckish, Stillery’s food menu includes a selection from the ham bar, dry meat boards, chargrilled section and tapas bar by Executive Chef Julien Pouteau.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Charred Fremantle Octopus

Tender Charred Fremantle Octopus ($16) shares a plate with pork belly and spicy olive salsa.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Grilled Bone Marrow

Grilled Bone Marrow ($14) with truffle salt and toasted bread is delightfully rich and unctuous, and a dish you’d be tempted not to share.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Berkshire Pulled Pork Slider

Berkshire Pulled Pork Sliders ($22) are a popular choice with apple and fennel coleslaw, cider dressing and a side of sweet potato chips.

Stillery, InterContinental Double Bay
Roasted Blueberries Tart with Mascarpone and Carrot Sorbet

For something that hits the sweet spot, the Roasted Blueberries Tart with Mascarpone has one of the best pastries this side of France accompanied by a refreshing carrot sorbet.

With its elegant, relaxed and welcoming vibe, along with a stellar bar team ensuring one’s taste in gin and cocktails are met, Stillery Bar succeeds in bringing the small bar concept to a larger venue within a luxury hotel. Whether you’re a local, a hotel guest or a gin enthusiast, the experience will be one that you will want to share with friends and repeat.

Photography © by Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

Stillery Bar is featured in our Top 10 Hot Restaurants & Bars in Double Bay.

Level 1, InterContinental Sydney Double Bay
33 Cross Street
Double Bay, Sydney NSW 2028

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.