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Campari, Vespas and the Black Pearl

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Campari, Vespas and the Black Pearl (one of Melbourne's best bars) was my chic Friday night affair on Brunswick Street. My work colleague and I were collected by two Italian models and taken to the Black Pearl on Brunswick Street on the back of red vespas for a cocktail masterclass to promote Campari and aperitivo hour. The tradition of aperitivo hour (5-7pm) is huge in Europe and is about people coming together in community for low alcohol drinks and snacks to prepare for dinner. Campari are setting out to revive this tradition in Australia...

 

Check out the Campari Vespa... This was not a bromance but the dude allowed me to cling on to his torso as we rode along Brunswick St. Some of the ladies in the office might have desired to trade places... 

 

On arrival at The Black Pearl we were greeted and hosted by one of Campari's international bartender legends for the cocktail masterclass. The Black Pearl is one of the best bars in Melbourne, but also the world (on world ratings lists). The fit out is uber cool with classic couches and great bar music - but the difference is in the number of highly trained sophisticated bar staff here. If they don't know about it, it's not worth knowing...

 

I loved this cocktail "The Aperol Spritz" with Aperol, the Italian sensation Prosecco and soda... This cocktail featured Aperol, Italy's favourite light aperitivo... Refreshing, orange hit, simple, fun, summer...

 

Our Campari bartender host was skillful on the garnish prep... He leaned towards not using the white of the lemon in the cocktail. Depends on your appetite for bitterness...

 

Here I am the consumate cocktail bon vivant enjoying my "The Aperol Spritz."

 

Campari featured in the cocktail "The Campari Highball" with Campari, freshly squeezed orange juice, soda and ice. The bartender proferred a tip to use more, not less ice. After all, ice keeps ice cool. Therefore you don't get dilution of the cocktail if you have decent amount of ice. People that make cocktails with one cube of ice are fairly shooting themselves in the foot with dilution problems...

 

Here is "The Campari Highball" - again it was refreshing and I love that bitter Campari taste, balanced by the sweet orange citrus rush and hit of lemon... Garnishing the rim of cocktails with the fruit is also a winner.

 

Our masterclass included some antipasta which complemented the cocktails...

 

The Black Pearl in the summer twilight ready for a big night... Chic and sophisticated with its lounges and funky lighting - but even greater sophistication in its bar action. An opinion - Melbourne is becoming grungier in its dining habits but drinking habits are returning to a greater sophistication... Agree?

The final cocktail was "The Classic Cin Cin" with Cinzano Bianco and dry ginger ale with a cucumber slice and fresh lemon. Adult taste. Featuring Cinzano, the authentic and informal Italian Aperitivo since 1757.

 

The final cocktail... 

My impression is that Melbourne is ready to embrace aperitivo hour in its tradition. In fact I'm a believer in simple cocktails that are expertly made (as we enjoyed here with the Campari bartender) rather than a myriad of ingredients... The Black Pearl was the perfect setting for aperitivo hour with Campari.

My work colleague and I enjoyed a cleansing ale before departure. Black Pearl has a plethora of boutique offerings, whether cocktails, beer or wine. I plan to return for this well crafted drinks list and the legendary sausage roll bar snack. And I may venure upstairs to The Attic. Cin cin... 

 

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David Hagger is a bald headed man with a penchant for finery, convivial dining, and festive culture. He honestly believes Melbourne is an impressive global city.

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Guest Monday, 24 November 2014