New bar twisting classic cocktails

Merivale’s latest bar, Little Felix, has opened in the ivy precinct and Group Bars Manager Sam Egerton told Bars and Clubs the team wanted to create a cocktail list that would be recognisable and approachable to customers.

Where Felix is light and bright, Little Felix has taken on a darker, moodier interior with a beautiful dark green running through it, a “comfortable, engaging and inviting feel,” Egerton said.

In terms of the cocktail list Egerton said there are eight cocktails that have taken their cues from classic cocktails from the 20s and 30s, which he and the bar team tinkered with, with a particular focus and principle in mind.

“The reality is in the industry as it is right now, you can have any offering and be challenged or not challenged, so with Little Felix we really wanted to provide something which was approachable, delicious and tasted like it was supposed to,” Egerton told Bars and Clubs.

“To find ways to make the drinks more current we thought along the principle – if you want great food and drink combinations you should look to drink something from the same place as the product you are eating. So if you’re having some cheese from Brittany, then drink some cider.

“With that thought in mind we’ve used some French provincial ingredients in those classic cocktails and then used some historical information around Australian fringe heritage to rename the drinks.

“We’ve got one drink and the blueprint we took for that was the Sidecar and we’ve worked on repurposing that. The Sidecar traditionally is equal parts Cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and then it has a sugar rim, and that’s how we served it when we opened Felix.

“But we looked at that and then put a more Cognac-forward recipe, so it’s leading with Cognac a little bit of Cointreau, slightly less citrus and then we use a liqueur called Le Birlou, which is an apple and chestnut liqueur. That’s served in a coupette with no sugar rim, so it’s on the drier side and then it’s finished with three drops of Armagnac, which I really think represents our thought process around delicious drinks made simply, but with some intentional elements to improve it.

“Also for instance with the French 75, which we call the Paris Meridian, it takes the same structure but we use Farigoule de Forcalquier, a thyme liqueur which is made in Provence and then use Chandon Blanc de Blanc. So in essence really not trying to miss with either the DNA of these drinks that have been around for over 100 years.”

The bar has also added some theatre with its wines served by the glass being poured from magnums at the table and housed in a custom-built fridge next to the bar.

Little Felix is now open and is the first of four new bars and eateries to open in the ivy laneways this year and because it has a new licence it is able to trade until 2am.

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