488 George Street
Level 4, Hilton Sydney
2000 Sydney, Australia
tel: +61 2 9265 6070
Mon - Sat: 5pm till late
"Excuse me madam, would you like a lesson in perfecting cocktails with that martini?"
The Hilton's Zeta Bar, apart from being one of the most stylish and grown-up drinks venues in town, also teaches the dark art of mixing cocktails at its own Belvedere Bar School. You'll find out about the right tools, which ingredients go best together and why, plus a bit of history too. 2 hours: cost $95.
For non-students, Zeta's 007 type ambiance and slick modern lines elevates it to top of the bar class. Mind you, there are 4 tricky escalators to negotiate your way there from the George St entrance. But the destination is well worth it. There are lashings of velvet furnishings and drapes, plush leather ottomans, immaculately coiffed staff and a cocktail list longer than War and Peace.
A recently featured mix was the Smoked bacon & maple syrup Manhattan, apparently inspired after a NYC old-fashioned staple. "We stir a large measure of smoky bacon infused bourbon with maple syrup and a dash of cherry syrup and sweet and dry vermouth. Served straight up with a cheery garnish and a side of crisp bacon."
If that's a little too porky for your taste, choose another poison, adjourn to the outdoor terrace (heated in winter, but Sydney doesn't really 'do' winter) and step into your own Bond movie set. "And … action!"