In Food + Drink

The Sydney Drinking Den Now Serving A Negroni Fountain

It’s hard to improve on a classic; especially in the cocktail world. But the team behind Gowings Bar – a semi-hidden drinking den tucked away in QT Sydney’s hotel – have done their darndest to add a bit of punch and life to their already impressive cocktail menu.

And the undisputed star of the show is their new Negroni Fountain.

Having sold over 6,000 Negronis since launch, QT Sydney’s “most-loved crimson drop” is now being served out of a 19th Century style vessel that serves four people and features Bulldog Gin, Cinzano 1757 Rosso Vermouth and Campari joined by a hint of Braulio Amaro and garnished with orange wheels.

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“It’s meant to be fun!” roars QT Sydney bars manager Aaron Shuttleworth – one of the mixology masters behind the Negroni Fountain and revamped cocktail list.

“I worked in the States for four years and large-format drinks are a big thing over there, especially in hotel bars so this is kind of the environment where that can work,” he says.

Putting the fun back into drinking

“We’re not a tiny little hidden cocktail bar – we’re a big centre of the CBD hotel bar. Getting drinks out quickly so that we can improve our guests’ experience, that’s what we are about.”

For a brand like QT, fun is at the very core of everything they do and Shuttleworth hopes their new look cocktail offering will really resonate with patrons and guests.

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“There was a big period where nothing changed a lot here. So it was looking at what had worked, what we could do better – and then bringing my experience from over the last 12 years or so and trying to put something forward that is about high-level quality but that also appeals to what your guests want.

“Which is always a big divider in this industry, there’s a lot of bartenders that make drinks for bartenders and they don’t fly out the door so much. They’re esoteric, they’re a bit weird.

“But again we’re catering to a really diverse clientele here – people that come from out of town for shows at the State Theatre, people who are staying for work interstate, people who are travelling overseas and then just our regular CBD clientele. So we have a lot of different hats to wear and it’s trying to find something from within that list that appeals to everyone at any given point.”

Creative cocktails

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The Negroni Fountain is a perfect example of this – something that is fun and shareable and adds a touch of theatre to sitting down with some friends and having a drink. There’s also the shareable Night Shift, which comes with absinthe, pineapple rum and spiced rum and is served in “monkey tiki bowls”.

“They’ve been selling like wildfire,” says Shuttleworth. “Just a nice kind of tiki play on things, to share between two people.

“Coming back to that idea of fun – we’re not taking ourselves too seriously, I mean a couple of the cocktails – like Dirty Dick’s Fruity Disco utilises Midori, one of the most naff ingredients out there. We are just trying not take ourselves too seriously, I guess.”

(All images: QT Sydney / supplied)

Published 03 October, 2019