Sydney’s oldest suburb just got a breath of fresh air. Hidden in plain sight, a stunning new distillery, bar and dining room has been unveiled in The Rocks, with Hickson House Distilling Co. set to open to the public on December 7. With a curated menu, rustic design and house-distilled spirits, the new venue captures the old-world spirit of Harbour City in all its glory.
Located in a heritage warehouse just metres from the former ship-docking section of Sydney Harbour, Hickson House is a mish-mash of textural elements and design influences. The distillery’s stills and barrels sit alongside a lofty bar and dining space, while above, overlooks an intimate mezzanine cocktail lounge, aptly named the High & Dry Bar.
But the real talking point is the soaring back bar. With over 600 bottles sourced from across the globe, the expansive collection offers guests a rare opportunity to indulge in hard-to-find whiskies, unknown pleasures and Australian-made icons. Among them, you’ll find Hickson House’s very own whisky and bespoke single spirits including the Australian Dry, London Dry and Harbour Strength gin range.
Described as ‘uniquely Australian yet firmly planted in tradition’, the gin’s features a raft of Aussie-focused ingredients, many of which were grown exclusively for the distillery. According to Tim Stones, head distiller at Hickson House, each element of the process was designed to capture traditional Australian distillation, right down to the use of copper pot stills, custom-made by local craftsmen in Griffith, New South Wales.
“Our only distilling rule was that everything had to be in balance and harmony, contributing to aroma, flavour or mouthfeel,” Stones said. “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.”
Naturally, the Hickson House venue will dish out some seriously sought-after cocktails, alongside a locally sourced, botanically inspired food menu that features flour-dusted squid with finger lime and pepperberry, slow-roast roast lamb porchetta with juniper jus and mint gremolata.
But the road to Hickson House hasn’t been easy. The new distillery bar comes after four years of planning by Barrelhouse Group, the award-winning team behind The Duke of Clarence and The Barber Shop. Taking the lesson they learned over years in business, co-directors Mikey Enright and Julian Train have emerged from lockdown with something completely out of the blue. And it hits the nail right on the head.
“Hickson House has been our most rewarding and ambitious project to date,” Train said. “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.”
Hickson House Bar & Kitchen officially opens on December 7 and will operate seven days a week. Once launched, the Hickson House Distillery is offering up one-hour tour and tasting experiences from Thursday to Sunday.