After the brilliant Melbourne Food & Wine Festival rolls around again in February/March, I’m going to be both fat and broke (but very, very happy). Looking at the just-released 2015 line-up there seems to be a lot of dough, more than a fair share of boats and more tipples than ever (aside from the titular wine, naturally). I’m overwhelmed! But hopefully my list of the 30 best events – in no particular order – will help my fellow barflys decide what to sip come festival season.
1. Chandon in the Conservatory
Somebody says “free-flowing champagne” and I’m sold. Brunch helps too.
The Conservatory at Crown – Details
2. Whisky’s Floral Flavour Wheel
Whisky & flowers have something in common. Who knew?
Whisky & Alement – Details
3. Eat, Drink, Tea
High tea with tea-infused cocktails sound like my kind of fancy afternoon.
Collins Quarter – Details
4. Gin Garden Party
Three of the best things in life are right there in the title.
The Stables of Como – Details
5. Race to the Roof
An interactive adventure to take with your best drinking buds.
Campari House – Details
6. Dare to Pair
Beyond wine and cheese matching, this one also pairs whiskey and even perfume!
Left Bank – Details
7. Gin Masterclass
Create your own gin in ode to local and international inspirations.
Bass & Flinders Distillery – Details
8. Celebrate French Cheese & Wine
It all begins with French 75 cocktails upon arrival. Oui, oui!
Milk the Cow – Details
9. Absinthe: The New Golden Age
Is absinthe the next big thing (again)?
Bar Ampere – Details
10. Expect the Unexpected
An offbeat 5 course cocktail dinner degustation.
Eau de Vie – Details
11. Gin Lane
An ironic celebration of West Winds gin by The Gin Palace in a Melbourne alleyway
Rainbow Alley – Details
12. Get Wired
$15 coffee cocktails. Done & done.
Tom Thumb – Details
13. Acqua Panna Perfect Match
Wine matched with on-trend eats and finger-on-the-pulse food stars as hosted by Matt Skinner.
Melbourne Town Hall – Details
14. The Best Fondue Party Ever
Break out your skivvies for retro screwdriver drinks and oh-so-much melty hot cheese.
Duke of Wellington – Details
15. New World Whisky Open Day
Tours and tastings for the whisky aficionados.
New World Whisky Distillery – Details
16. Barcelona @ Bomba (Vermut)
A little taste of Spanish life through Vermouth cocktails, cava and tapas.
Bomba – Details
17. Fiesta De Cinco Rondas
Tromba tequila features in spiked late0night food and drinks; anything but boring old margaritas
Smith & Daughters – Details
18. Liquor Ice Cream Degustation
Think Pisco sours, Zabaione and pina coladas in ice cream form!
Helados Jauja – Details
19. Crawl ‘n’ Bite – Bars
A good old fashioned bar crawl through Melbourne’s leading venues.
Around town – Details
20. Barrel Bottle Plate
A 5 course degustation dinner where cocktails are the star.
The Noble Experiment – Details
21. The Drunken Dinner
Each dish at this dinner features alcohol as an ingredient; from beer, wine to sake and more.
David’s – Details
22. High Spirits
The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards ceremony with a cocktail party and limited edition spirits.
Location TBC – Details
23. Distillery Barrel Room Dinner
Unveiling a four-year matured aged cognac from French oak barrels.
Bass & Flinders Distillery – Details
24. How to Drink (Insider’s Guide)
Not that we need any encouragement…but this is a nice excuse to get out of town.
The Dispensary Enoteca – Details
25. Wine & Books
This one appeals to the word nerd side of me.
Library at the Dock – Details
26. Crisp Cocktail and Fresh Cuisine
Fresh seafood to eat and interact with alongside “clean” Belvedere vodka cocktails
Park Hyatt – Details
27. Yarra Play Day
A progressive event at three Yarra River-side venues via catered ferry.
The Boatbuilders Yard, Riverland Bar & Pilgrim – Details
28. Cheeky Cider Blending Workshop
Make your own cider blend and learn trade secrets with Cheeky Rascal.
Red Hill Epicurean – Details
29. #Bucketwine Bonanza
Try super new, super small batch wines with Chalmers Italian-style winemakers.
Cohen Cellars Wine Bar – Details
30. Pigs Do Fly
A feast of pork and various ciders down at The Bellarine.
Flying Brick Cider House – Details
Images by Daniel Mahon