Ginuary 31st: Whizz-Bang Finale.

Upfront disclaimer: this post is backdated a week. No, I haven’t been in a coma. I’ve been interstate for a wedding and I made the last-minute packing-crazed decision to leave my laptop at home. Regret! Never mind; here we are now.

Tom Collins

  • 50ml Old Tom gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 20ml sugar syrup


Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a citrus slice and a cherry (or, if you are 1806, an incredible strip of lemon).


Ginuary 31st: Tom Collins.

When I knew I would be in Melbourne for the last day of Ginuary, I knew I had to celebrate the finale at 1806. It’s a beautiful cocktail bar in the city; I first visited there with friends a couple of years ago and I accredit its beautiful menu with first piquing my interest in the history of cocktails. When Nick at 1806 suggested he make me a Tom Collins, I couldn’t say no.

Back before I’d even committed to Ginuary, I decided that the Tom Collins would be my drink for the summer of 11/12. It’s a perfect drink for a hot summer day, and when I read up on the history of the Tom Collins, I was completely charmed by the “Have you seen Tom Collins?” exposure hoax of 1874. What larks. Anyway, then Ginuary came along and dashed my summer plans, so it was wonderful to join up with Tom again… carrying smoothly through to the rest of summer, perhaps?

Photos of the Tom Collins prep, plus the rest of my night at 1806, behind the cut. Go on.

1806 on Urbanspoon



The bar is on Exhibition St, towards the top of the city.

A shelf of gin.

1806 has full table service, but as a solo customer, I chose to sit at the bar. Hilariously enough, I found that I’d sat myself directly in front of the gin shelf.

still didn't manage to steal one

A menu, a history.

The menu is beautiful, with each cocktail listed chronologically by (sometimes estimated) year of creation. There is also a story to accompany each cocktail – some only a line, some a paragraph or two. The Tom Collins gets a whole page.

Old Tom Collins.

1806 puts up a good argument that the name of the cocktail gives away the kind of gin to be used in it.

Gomme on the right.

The guys at 1806 make gomme syrup using gum arabic. I tried a bit of the gomme on its own and not only does it have a different flavour to sugar syrup, but it has a different texture, too. It’s a lot more like agave syrup, if I am to compare it to anything.

Pouring out.

There’s no ice yet, because even the ice at 1806 is exciting.

Ice ice baby.

The ice at 1806 is frozen in big tubs and then broken up and hand carved, avoiding the impurities. You know how when you pop your ice cubes out, there are always opaque bits here and there in it? It’s never perfectly clear. That’s because with every bit of water you freeze, the impurities come together to form these opaque bits. You can’t really get around it when you freeze little bits of water in ice cube trays – but when you freeze big slabs of ice, it makes it a lot easier to chip around the impurities and come away with chunks of ice that are crystal-clear.

They really are quite beautiful to look at, especially when they’re at the bottom of a cocktail glass.

and he's GORGEOUS

I sure have seen Tom Collins.

I took my time enjoying my Tom Collins at the bar, and watching Nick and his friend behind the bar (I’ve forgotten his name and I feel terrible about this) wielding their weapons and putting together drink after drink for the punters.

The gins of 1806.

Soon enough, my glass was empty and it was time to drink again.

I had to be cheesy and try a Last Word.


Get it? Because Ginuary is ending.

In most recipes you’ll find for the Last Word, equal parts of gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice are shaken and strained. Nick bucked this trend and stirred the ingredients instead, for very good reasons that I’ve since forgotten. He noted that stirring instead of shaking would likely produce a different drink, so I’ll have to try this again with the more commonly-advised method of shaking, but then I’ll finish all the bottles of alcohol by stirring this cocktail because it was so delicious that I got a bit emotional. Perhaps that was just because I’d had a few drinks already, but I prefer to think that it was because the drink was TOO good.

Chandeliers adorn the venue.

And finally, because I’d had a few and it’s become a bit of an 1806 tradition for me, I finished the night with a Clover Club. At 1806 the bartenders add a small amount of vermouth to the recipe. Of course, despite watching this like a hawk and interrogating the barman on his methods, I promptly forgot everything.

Write things down, people.

photos getting progressively worse

My cocktail boyfriend.

And there we have it.

The end of Ginuary for 2011.

Last drinks.

Thank you to the gents of 1806 for your hospitality on the evening. Thanks to you readers for supporting my overenthusiastic intake of the best spirit. Thank you to my bank account for persevering despite trying times. Speaking of persevering, thank you to my doctor for not confiscating my alcohol after a recent blood test came back showing abnormal liver results, and thanks to my liver for staying strong.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve gotten quite comfortable here, so I won’t be going anywhere – but the frequency of posting during months that aren’t Ginuary will most definitely be reduced. I’m exhausted!

And on that note, it’s time for bed. Goodnight, Ginuary.