With two successful bars already under their belts, Barrelhouse Group directors Mikey Enright and Julian Train were ready for their next project – a distillery. But not just any distillery. They wanted it to have a “fully-fledged” bar and dining room that would be reminiscent of a New York loft apartment with views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
They hunted down the perfect location in Sydney’s The Rocks, complete with Harbour Bridge backdrop. “It’s an epic building. It looks essentially like a warehouse and felt like it was a gift to us,” Mikey says. Over the next two years (facing plenty of COVID curveballs) they got busy bringing their vision to life.
In December 2021 they launched with a core range of Hickson Rd gins that are uniquely Australian yet firmly planted in tradition. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We just want to make some really good-quality spirits,” explains Mikey.
They’ve certainly come out of the gate strong, with Hickson Rd Australian Dry Gin winning best Aussie gin in the Bartender awards in 2022.
They source distillery ingredients locally, such as the native old man saltbush found in the Hickson Rd London Dry Gin. Head distiller Tim Stones “worked for over 12 months to develop the perfect profile, with the guiding principle that every ingredient must be in harmony with the other flavours,” Mikey says.
They run intimate tours at their distillery, where you’ll see how their gins and whisky are created, and may even score an exclusive tasting of an up-and-coming product.
The Hickson House bar and dining room are what Mikey believes keep people coming back time and time again. “We were really committed to having a bar that wasn’t just an add-on,” he explains. “Most distilleries only stock their own branded products and we just did not want to do that.”
They do of course have their own gins available – try the popular Tiny Dancer cocktail, made with Hickson Rd Australian Dry Gin, lemon juice, eucalyptus honey and a pinch of Murray River salt. But the variety of beer, wines and spirits beyond that is impressive. It’s no surprise that the bar was an award-winner within the first year of operations.
Similar effort has gone into the dishes served in the Hickson House dining room. “Our talented chef has worked closely with our head distiller Tim Stones to incorporate the botanicals we use in the gin with the flavours of the food,” Mikey says. “You must try out porchetta with native herbs, roasted apple and juniper jus. For dessert, we recommend our mouth-watering tonka bean crème brûlée.”
Products featured are available from 06/03/23 to 11/04/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.