Escapist Elixirs: Sydney Cocktail Recipes

Behind The Bar At Lobo Plantation & Watsons Bay Hotel

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You never forget your first “vacation” beverage, do you? I have fond memories of mine: being a poolside first grader in Hawaii was pretty great. But learning I could taste vacation by charging virgin piña coladas to the room? Infinitely better. My dad was less than pleased to unearth my coconut craving upon checkout, but making the connection between far-flung flavors and an off-duty state of mind, was, in the end, a worthwhile discovery.

Sydney offers a worldly libation lineup from zodiac-inspired sips to refreshing bitters-and-beers. But the pair of poisons below stand out in their ability to make #takemeback a reality — back to the fashionably undone recline of Watsons Bay Hotel, and back to the stealthy ‘below deck’ delight of the Lobo lair. Until we’re able to visit the fair Harbour City again, stealing a sip of her ‘je nes se quoi in a glass’ is the next best thing.

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The Recipes


Not only is this cool cocktail a longtime Lobo bestseller, it’s a subtle, spicy-sweet throwback. Though the real deal requires theatrics (attempt to blowtorch a cinnamon quill at your own risk!) and a top secret house vermouth recipe, a few modifications yield a drink that’s (nearly) as good as the original. 

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The Old Grogram

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ounces spiced rum
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake it up. Strain into a rocks glass filled with cubed ice. Garnish with a lemon peel twisted around a flamed cinnamon quill.

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Our passionfruit fixation reached a fever pitch during the course of our Aussie exploration. No matter how it was served – atop Greek yogurt, pillows of Pavlova or even spicy salads – we couldn’t get enough of the tropical-tart fruit. Perhaps nowhere was it more of a star than in this easy-drinking cocktail, perfect for a day at the beach club.

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Passionfruit Collins

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ripe passionfruits, one scooped, one cut in half for garnish
  • 2 1/2 ounces Gordon’s London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 lime
  • Club soda

Add the pulp from one of the passionfruits (including the seeds), the gin, simple syrup and juice of one lime to a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. (Note: we like our drinks tart! If you’d prefer a sweeter version, only juice half of the lime). Shake vigorously or mix well.

Fill a Collins or highball glass with ice. Pour mixture over ice and top off with club soda. Garnish with one half of the remaining passionfruit.

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Contributing Photography: Helen Brooks

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© Behind the Bar at Lobo Plantation and Watsons Bay Hotel | Sydney Cocktail Recipes