Ginuary 22nd: Negroni.

Whoops, this came around sooner than expected. This is proof of how I haven’t got Ginuary planned out for every single day. I wasn’t sure where I’d be today – I’ve ended up in Kingscliff on the northern coast at my dad’s holiday unit, but I could have been at home, or I could have been at Big Day Out at the Gold Coast. I wasn’t sure at what point during the day I’d get to have my daily gin, so of course at 9pm I started to panic.


  • 30ml gin
  • 30ml Campari
  • 30ml sweet vermouth


Stir all three with ice in a rocks glass, garnish with an orange slice.


Ginuary 22nd: Negroni.

I already told you about the negroni, back when I had the butchered Aperol version. I wasn’t intending on having a(nother) negroni (version) this month, but when I walked into the bar I had finally decided to have my daily gin and the barman shook his head sadly at me, I went into panic mode.


“It’s too quiet, we’re losing money… you know.”

That response upset me. With that in mind, consider this Ginuary post a plug in equal parts for the Negroni and Babalou at Kingscliff.


Darling sister.

I spent the day with my little sister, who lives interstate, so I always appreciate the chance to spend time with her. I thought an “on location” daily gin at Big Day Out would be interesting, but I also wanted to vomit just at the idea of going there. I’ve never been to a BDO before and it was my intention to continue along that trajectory. In the end we were only there for an hour or so at the most, so… no gin.

Dramatic entrance.

Back in Kingscliff, we were booked in for dinner at the surf club. I didn’t bother asking if they had a cocktail menu, because… Kingscliff Surf Club (sorry, I mean Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club). What a snob. I’m sorry. While we were at dinner, I googled “kingscliff cocktail bar”, just for shits and giggles. I’ll admit that I was shocked and surprised when the results came back positive. It also meant that I had to go there immediately.


Picture frame advertises "Broker's Bramble" cocktail.

As I walked into the bar, the bartender shook his head at me apologetically, informing me that the bar was closed. I’ve already told you this part of the story. What followed was my pleading.

“I need to have a drink with gin in it. Please. I’m doing this thing, Ginuary, I’m trying gin a different way every day and I haven’t had one today and you’re my last hope!”

Thank goodness for you, charming Italian bartender. See! He was Italian! So when he then suggested he could whip me up a Negroni, I couldn’t say no. Besides, after the Aperol negroni the other night, I was ready to step up my game.

Beneath that surly exterior is a heart of gold.

He asked about Ginuary, so I told him my story. Later when I was sitting down enjoying my negroni (ENJOYING IT A LOT), he asked how it was – and I told him my earlier Campari fears. I was told about the classic aperitif, the Campari and soda, but he also told me that he prefers his Campari with tonic. Extra bitter zing.

i need dis

Veuve Clicquot Rose love seat by Karim Rashid.

My sister and I sat in this awesome chair in the middle of the bar for most of our time in there, taking it all in.


I imagine that bucket would be pretty rad filled with ice and a bottle of Veuve.

Who knew this charming venue existed in Kingscliff!? It’s above the Kingscliff Beach Hotel, AKA grungy pub, but please don’t be put off if you’re looking for a treat. Babalou is decked out.

I think Bay City Rollers had the best cover?

SO many choices.

Right at the top of the stairs when you first get inside is this incredible wall of records.

Babalou is four venues in one: our vinyl record library for enjoying analogue sound from our extensive library; bustling Main Room and Balcony and our Bathing Box Booths for the more private dining experience.

With our commitment to minimising our carbon footprint all four facets of the venue are separated by nothing but open space, allowing the circulation of fresh ocean breezes to move unhindered.


I would love to get back here for a meal – I’ll definitely be booking in so I don’t run the risk of being disappointed by a closed kitchen. The lunch/dinner menu looks fairly standard for what you’d find at a quiet coastal town, but the dessert menu looks delicious, and an Italian bartender who serves up a mean negroni definitely adds weight to my rating.

Plus, look at this place.

I really want to eat at that round table!

The venue’s eclectic design brings together the unusual and unexpected, from unique pieces of vintage and contemporary designer furniture to industrial fans and polished original timber floorboards. Vintage sofas, wingbacks and high gloss white Peacock chairs from the 1960s and 1970s are here to be enjoyed.

Gimme those armchairs.

Oh yeah, and the negroni! DELICIOUS. Big fan. I take back everything I said.

I have to say, I think I prefer it on the rocks (as opposed to straight up in a cocktail glass). It’s a drink to be sipped, and a bit of dilution isn’t a bad thing for this three-alcohol combo.

I’m so glad I revisited the negroni and I’m happy to say that I loved every second of this. (The same can’t be said for my sister, but give her a few years to develop that palate and realise that gin is the best.)

You and me, buddy.

I was also absolutely taken with Babalou. I’ll definitely be back the next time I’m back in Kingscliff, no matter what time of day it is – though I do hope it’ll be evening and I’ll get to take a proper adventure through the (short but sweet) cocktail menu… and that dessert menu.


Babalou, Kingscliff.

 Babalou on Urbanspoon