Maybe Cocktail Festival kicks off

Last night, international bartender Martina Bonci from Gucci’s own bar in Florence, Gucci Giardino 25, kicked off the Maybe Cocktail Festival program with a guest shift at El Primo Sanchez.

Martina’s menu was made up of four cocktails showcasing Glennfiddich whisky, including the Biancaneve Moderna made with Glenfiddich 12 Years, apple, ginger, citrus and tabasco, and the Poolevardier using Glenfiddich 14 Years, fig, pear, sweet vermouth and Campari.

Martina’s Poolboy Paloma incorporated Glenfiddich 12 Years, cherry and vanilla, lemon and Fever-Tree Pink Grapefruit Soda, and finally, the Golden Age comprised Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Years, sweet vermouth, mango and white pepper.

For the rest of the week, the 2024 Maybe Cocktail Festival program will see some of the most acclaimed bars and bartenders from around the world take up residency at iconic Sydney venues, with most of the events free to attend.

After a successful launch in 2023, Maybe Cocktail Festival Director and Director of Public Hospitality Stefano Catino says this year’s festival has increased the number of events to satisfy demand.

“Last year we held 16 events and they were all packed so this year we’ve curated extra events and flown out even more international bars and bartenders,” he said.

“Nineteen of the 21 events are free to attend, which is very important to us. The cost of living is high and it’s very expensive for Australians to travel overseas so this festival will give people the opportunity to drink cocktails from an amazing bar in Rome or try a Tommy’s Margarita from the gentleman who created it, without the cost of a plane ticket.”

The festival program draws more than 30 international bartenders from cities like Rome, San Francisco, Mexico City, Edinburgh, New York City, Florence and Hong Kong.

Visiting bartenders will partake in guest shifts at one of 11 Sydney bar destinations, each presenting three to four cocktails priced between $20 and $25. The host locations are Dean & Nancy on 22, Sammy Junior, El Primo Sanchez, Lady Hampshire, Busby’s, Oxford House Pool Bar, Ricos Tacos, Alpha, Beta, Kasbah at The Strand, and finally, Maybe Sammy, which launched its latest cocktail menu just last week.

Once a year, the iconic Sydney cocktail bar unveils a new collection of signature cocktails, and this year’s iteration of the menu, The Grand Maybe Sammy Hotel, leans into the elements of a high-end hotel bar, which have long influenced the Maybe Sammy aesthetic.

The new menu unfolds, quite literally, on a Monopoly-style game board which is segmented into Lobby, Dining Room, Bedroom and Spa cocktail themes, to be enjoyed alongside the signature Mini Bar cocktails such as the Lychee Martini, Eucalyptus Gimlet and Maybe Margarita.

Each of the Maybe Sammy bartenders have contributed at least one cocktail to the new menu, which Catino believes is the most playful menu yet.

“We only release one new menu a year, so we want the new collection of cocktails to be technically better and even more playful than the last and The Grand Maybe Sammy Hotel is spectacular. This menu has glamour and innovation, and it will be a lot of fun for our bartenders to present and guests to enjoy,” he said.

Playing on the experience of drinking champagne in a limousine en route to a high-end hotel, the Airport Chauffer is a tequila-style Spritz cocktail which is pale pink in colour and poured at your table from a miniature Maybe Sammy branded champagne bottle.

Featuring Espolòn Blanco Tequila, Taittinger Brut Reserve NV, Americano Cocchi, Grape and Fever-Tree Soda Water, the Airport Chauffeur is even spritzed with a leather scent.

One of the most colourful cocktails on the menu is Poolside, a blue carbonated drink made with Papa Salt Gin, Martini Ambrato, Palo Santo, and coconut and basil soda, topped with a miniature edible pool ring, and illuminated for those who order the drink after 8pm.

The full cocktail menu showcases a broad range of spirits and flavour profiles, also encompassing lower ABV options such as Check-In, a refreshing cocktail comprising Hendrink’s Gin, Cocchi Americano, fig, hibiscus and Fever-Tree Soda Water.

For the full Maybe Cocktail Festival program, visit

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