Sydney’s newest distillery bar opens its doors today, with Hickson House Distillery finally welcoming guests for drinks, tours and eats in the heart of The Rocks.
It’s nearly two years since the business partners behind Barrelhouse Group, Julian Train and Mikey Enright first looked at Hickson House as a possible location for the distillery. Two lockdowns, a pandemic and much hard work later it’s fair to say that the stunning venue has been worth the wait.
The distillery’s stills and barrels can be seen from the spacious bar area, which has a soaring back bar and over 600 bottles from all around the world. There is a strong focus on Australian-made spirits, including hard-to-find whiskies, and of course the distillery’s own Hickson Rd. Gin.
Speaking at the launch event last week, Mikey said: “Me and Julian were speaking about opening a distillery about five or six years ago, we set out a very loose way of doing it, and then Julian got onto his computer and really started to make it happen. Before that, it was just another pipe dream of mine.
“To be stood here today and to look it, and for it to be so epic, we just can’t believe how we have done it and it’s quite emotional to think about how this has actually come about.”
Julian added: “Hickson House has been our most rewarding and ambitious project to date. Weaving the needs of a full production distillery and significant bar space into what is a unique heritage warehouse has been a challenge that we have embraced wholeheartedly.
“We hope our valued guests love the finished product as much as we do.”
As well as serving up cocktails, and menus with food and spirit matching Hickson House will also offer distilling experiences with new Assistant Distiller, and former ALIA Publican of the Year, Steve McDermott leading tours four days a week.
Head Distiller at the venue is Tim Stones, Tim is previously Manly Spirits Distiller and Global Brand Ambassador for Beefeater Gin, where he learnt the craft of distilling under Master Distiller, Desmond Payne.
Tim said: “Our only distilling rule was that everything had to be in balance and harmony, contributing to aroma, flavour or mouthfeel. Nothing went in that didn’t enhance the final product. 12 months of meticulously testing and re-testing has resulted in a harmonious blend of the best Australian flavours, within a ‘traditional’ gin flavour profile.”
The Hickson Rd. Gins define the venue’s signature cocktails, including a whole page of Martinis.
The cocktails are matched to a locally sourced, botanically inspired menu that includes flour-dusted squid with finger lime and pepperberry, slow-roast roast lamb porchetta with juniper jus and mint gremolata to share, and whisky chocolate lamington for dessert.
Mikey added: “Barrelhouse Group is focused on creating memorable experiences for everyone who attends our venues and we saw a great opportunity to take that to the next level with our own spirits. We naturally started with Hickson Rd. Gins, which I’m really happy with, so we’re already working on our whiskies.”
Hickson House Distillery is a truly stunning space and is very much worth a visit. It’s open at 6 Hickson Road, 4pm-12am Tuesday-Wednesday; 12pm-12am Thursday-Saturday; 12pm-10pm Sunday, with one-hour tour & tasting experiences happening Thursday-Sunday at 12pm, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm.